How Do I Change My Visa To An F-1 Visa?

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To get a new visa, you must either leave the USA and apply for a visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy, or you can apply to change your status within the USA . You must apply to change your status BEFORE the date on your I-94 expires. If you entered the United States using a Visa Waiver, you are not eligible for a change of status. You must return to your country before the expiration of the visa waiver.

Step 1Make an appointment with Macey Faiella, Admissions Coordinator, to discuss your plans and application. Phone: 413.586.7569 x117 Email:
Step 2Fill out and submit the Intensive English Application to ILI, along with a copy of your current visa stamp, the first page of your passport, proof of financial support, and the correct deposit.
Step 3After you receive the I-20 from ILI, you need to fill out the I-539 application and send it to the UCIS processing center along with several other documents and a $290 processing fee. You can find the application and instructions here:
Step 4It is important that you keep COPIES of everything you send. After you have made the copies, mail your documents using FedEx, DHL, or certified mail so you have proof of what you mailed. Mail your documents to:
USCIS Vermont Service Center
ATTN: I-539
75 Lower Weldon Street
St. Albans, VT 05479
Step 5Homeland Security will send you a receipt. A few weeks later, they may send you a BLUE LETTER (I-797) requesting more information. Please make an appointment with an advisor if you receive a BLUE LETTER.
Step 6Homeland Security will notify you of their decision. After your change of status is approved, bring your I-20 and new I-94 to Macey Faiella, Admissions Coordinator. We need to make a copy of your documents for our files. If you are denied, you must meet with Macey right away.

Once you are approved to F-1 Status, please remember that:

  1. You now must register for and complete the Intensive English Program.
  2. Please note that YOU WILL NOT HAVE A NEW VISA. You will have F-1 student VISA STATUS, which means you can stay in the U.S. as long as you are maintaining lawful F-1 status by following all F-1 regulations. However, the next time you choose to leave the U.S., you must still go back to your home country and apply for the F-1 visa in order to re-enter the U.S.