Change of Status

Change of Status

The following information is for applicants who are seeking a change of status to attend Phoenix College. Visit the Change My Non-Immigrant Status section on the USCIS website for complete Change of Status information.

The Change of Status process should be followed if you intend to pursue full-time studies in the United States. If you are currently in the United States as a temporary worker, diplomat, exchange student, a visitor or any other non-immigrant classification and need to change to F-1 student status, follow the procedures indicated below.  You will also be required to submit the new student documentation.


In general, non-immigrants who are maintaining lawful status may apply for change of status to F-1.


Non-immigrant J-1 visa holders which are subject to the Section 212 (e) two-year home residency requirement are ineligible to apply for a change of status. Those in WT or WB (visa waiver) are also ineligible.  F-2, B-1 and B-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for a change of status and cannot enroll in classes until the change of status has been approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Change your status by one of the following methods:

Change by travel

You may change your status, by departing the United States, going to the American Embassy, apply for a visa, and then re-enter the USA in F-1 status. See What to Expect in Your Visa Interview.

Change by application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Department (USCIS)

You may also attempt to change your status by submitting a change of status application packet to the USCIS. This option requires that you assemble the documents on the application packet check list below.

Application Packet Check list:

  1. Form G-1145 - This form should be on the top of your application for USCIS to notify you by email and/or text message that they have or have not accepted your application.
  2. A completed Form I-539.
  3. Photocopies of both sides of your current I-94 card and photocopies of the I-94 cards of any dependents who are changing with you.
  4. Your new original Form I-20 from Phoenix College signed at the bottom of page 1.
  5. Copies of financial documents.
  6. Photocopy of your valid passport identification page - do not send your passport to USCIS.
  7. A bank check, money order, or personal check payable to the Department of Homeland Security with "USCIS I-539" noted in the memo line for the required $410 fee (check website for current fees).
  8. Proof of SEVIS fee payment. This fee can be paid online by completing Form I-901.
  9. A letter explaining why you are requesting the change of status. This is extremely important: Your letter should clearly explain your current status, your plans for study at PC, and your long-term plans as well. Keep in mind that F-1 status is a NON-IMMIGRANT classification. This means that you must indicate, and in certain cases may be required to document, that you continue to maintain ties to your home country--whether in the form of a residence, an expected job offer, or continuing family ties. It is not unusual for the USCIS to request documentation regarding your ties to your home country, and you should be prepared to provide such documentation.
  • Once completed, mail your application packet to the USCIS.
  • Please note that you are responsible or your lawyer is responsible, for this process, NOT the International Education Program staff.
  • It is highly recommended that you keep a photocopy your application packet.
  • Make sure you send your application packet by certified mail with a return receipt requested or by courier service to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility.