Changing My Current Status

Changing to F-1 Student Status

Overview

If you hold a valid non-immigrant visa status and your intent is to become a full-time student at UCSD, you may apply to change your visa status to an F-1student status. Please ensure you are fully aware of any requirements and additional considerations related to a change to F-1 status: F-1 or J-1: Selection of Visa Classification

There are two ways to obtain F-1 student status:

Depart the USA and apply for an F-1 visa in your home country.

- OR -

Apply for a change of status to F-1 student status while remaining in the USA. NOTE: Generally, J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors who are subject to the two –year home country residence requirement and have not been granted a waiver of the requirement are prohibited from changing status within the U.S., except to A and G status. It may be necessary to return home and apply for the new visa type there.

Option #1: Applying for F-1 Visa Outside of USA

To apply for an F-1 visa outside of the USA, you must obtain a Form I-20 from UCSD. Please do the following to obtain an F-1 visa:
  • Meet with an International Student Advisor at the International Center. Call 858-534-3730 to set an appointment.
  • Submityour admission letter or academic history from TritonLink, bank statement, and I-20 Request Form to the International Center and allow 10 working days for processing. If the bank statement is in foreign currency,please provide conversion to US dollars (available at www.xe.com).
  • Obtain a Form I-20 from the International Center.
  • Pay US$200 SEVIS fee and schedule appointment with a US embassy or consulate outside of the USA.
  • Interview with consular officer at US embassy or consulate outside of the USA. NOTE: At the interview, you may be asked to provide proof that you are a bona fide non-immigrant, with strong ties to your home country and no intention ofimmigrating to the USA.
  • Receive F-1 visa and reenter the USA to enroll as a full-time student at UCSD.
  • After approval, please visit the International Center within 15 days of your I-20 start date so we can make copies of your passport, F-1 visa stamp, and updated I-94 card. At that time, you will be asked to schedule an orientation session with an international student advisor as well.

Option #2: Change of Status: Applying with USCIS and Remaining in the USA

To change your status to F-1 student status while remaining in the USA, you must submit an application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This process may take 3-4 months or longer, so please plan accordingly. NOTE: Students changing from B-2 or F-2 status to F-1 MUST receive approval before the first day of the admitted quarter. Failure to receive F-1approval may delay your admission or prevent your enrollment at UCSD.

Eligibility

Individuals requesting a change of status while remaining in the USA must satisfy the following criteria:

Your current I-94 status is valid. For all change of status applicants, there cannot be more than 30 days between when your current status ends and when the Form I-20 begins. Your current I-94 status allows a change of status while remaining in the USA.

If you have ever been in J Exchange Visitor status, and are subject to the two year home residency requirement, you are eligible to apply for a change of status in the USA only if you have fulfilled the requirement or have obtained a waiver and can provide a copy of the waiver.  Your primary purpose for changing status in the USA must be to become a full-time student at UCSD.

Required Documentation

Please submit the following documents plus one copy of the entire package to the International Center. Allow 10 working days forprocessing your request.

  • Personal letter (typed) explaining why you want to change your status. Include information about why you entered the USA in your current status, why and how your intentions changed once in the USA, and any other relevant information. Since F-1 is a nonimmigrant status, it is advisable that you include information relating to your plans to return home after completing your studies, including any ties to your home country.
  • I-20 Request form Make sure you include your permanent address in your home country.
  • Proof of admission to UCSD or, if current UCSD student, copy of your unofficial transcript or academic history from TritonLink.
  • I-539 form (available at www.uscis.gov).
  • Check for US$370 made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security".
  • Copy of I-94 card or I-797 Receipt showing current status (front and back).
  • Copy of passport bio page(s) that includes picture and expiration date.
  • Copy of visa page in passport.
  • Copy of bank statement or financial sponsorship letter in English from student and/or financial sponsor. Include conversion to US dollars from home currency (available at www.xe.com).  USCIS requires that bank statements show sufficient funds to cover expenses on the I-20 and the funds must show that balance over a three month period (e.g., provide bank statements for the last 3 months). Please see the budget estimates for both undergraduate and graduate students (as well as dependents) on ISPO’s Prospective Students page.

Changing to F-2 Dependent Status

Overview

Please ensure you are fully aware of any requirements and additional considerations related to a change to F-2 status: F-1 or J-1: Selection of Visa Classification.

Option #1: Applying for F-1 Visa Outside of USA

To apply for an F-2 visa outside of the USA, you must obtain a Form I-20 from UCSD. Please do the following to obtain an F-2 visa:

  • Obtain a dependent I-20.
  • The primary F-1 status holder must request a dependent I-20 for you through the International Center. They must complete an I-20 Request Form and include all documents required (these are listed on the request form). Please allow 10 business days for processing.
  • Obtain a Form I-20 from the International Center.
  • Pay US$200 SEVIS fee and schedule appointment with a US embassy or consulate outside of the USA.
  • Interview with consular officer at US embassy or consulate outside of the USA. NOTE: At the interview, you may be asked to provide proof that you are a bona fide non-immigrant, with strong ties to your home country and no intention of immigrating to the USA.
  • Receive F-2 visa and enter the USA.
  • After approval, please visit the International Center within 15 days of your I-20 start date so we can make copies of your passport, F-2 visa stamp, and updated I-94 card. Dependents should attend an orientation program at the International Center as well.

Option #2: Change of Status: Applying with USCIS and Remaining in the USA

To change your status to F-2 student status while remaining in the USA, you must submit an application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This process may take 3-4 months or longer, so please plan accordingly. 

Eligibility

Individuals requesting a change of status while remaining in the USA must satisfy the following criteria:

Your current I-94 status is valid. For all change of status applicants, there cannot be more than 30 days between when your current status ends and when the Form I-20 begins. Your current I-94 status allows a change of status while remaining in the USA.

If you have ever been in J Exchange Visitor status, and are subject to the two year home residency requirement, you are eligible to apply for a change of status in the USA only if you have fulfilled the requirement or have obtained a waiver and can provide a copy of the waiver. 

Required Documentation

Please submit the following documents plus one copy of the entire package to the International Center. Allow 10 working days for processing your request.

  • Personal letter (typed) explaining why you want to change your status. Include information about why you entered the USA in your current status, why and how your intentions changed once in the USA, and any other relevant information. Since F-2 is a nonimmigrant status, it is advisable that you include information relating to your plans to return home after completing your studies, including any ties to your home      country.
  • I-20 Request form Make sure you include your permanent address in your home country.
  • I-539 form (available at www.uscis.gov).
  • Check for US$370 made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security".
  • Copy of I-94 card or I-797 Receipt AND primary F-1’s showing current status (front and back).
  • Copy of passport bio page(s) AND primary F-1’s passport bio page(s) that includes picture and expiration date.
  • Copy of visa page AND primary F-1’s visa page in passport.
  • Copy of any previously issued I-20s
  • Copy of proof of family relationship to the F-1 (for example, marriage certificate). Must be translated to English.
  • Copy of evidence that the primary F-1 is maintaining status (for example, a copy of his or her transcript or enrollment verification via TritonLink)
  • Copy of bank statement or financial sponsorship letter in English from student and/or financial sponsor. Include conversion to US dollars from home currency (available at www.xe.com). USCIS requires that bank statements show sufficient funds to cover expenses on the I-20 and the funds must show that balance over a three month period (e.g., provide bank statements for the last 3 months). Please see the budget estimates for both undergraduate and graduate students (as well as dependents) on ISPO’s Prospective Students page.

NOTE: Include Form I-134 Affidavit of Financial Support (available at www.uscis.gov) if financial sponsor is parent, relative, or family friend in the US. In addition, if financial sponsor is an immediate family member, please include legal documentation showing the relationship such as birth certificate (parents) or marriage certificate (spouse) with English translation. Not required if you or your academic department or home government entity are financially sponsoring your stay in the USA.

Changing to J-1 Student Status

Overview

If you hold a valid non-immigrant visa status and your intent is to become a full-time student at UCSD, you may apply to change your visa status to a J-1 student status. Please ensure you are fully aware of any requirements and additional considerations related to a change to J-1 status: F-1 or J-1: Selection of Visa Classification

Depart the USA and apply for a J-1 visa in your home country.

- OR -

Apply for a change of status to J-1 student status while remaining in the USA.

Option #1: Applying for J-1 Visa Outside of USA 

To apply for a J-1 visa outside of the USA, you must obtain a DS-2019 from UCSD. Please do the following to obtain a J-1 visa:

  • Meet with an International Student Advisor at the International Center. Call 858-534-3730 to set an appointment.
  • Submit your admission letter or academic history from TritonLink, bank statement, and DS-2019 Request Form to the International Center and allow 10 working days for processing. If the bank statement is in foreign currency, please provide conversion to US dollars (available at www.xe.com).
  • Obtain a DS-2019 from the International Center.
  • Pay US$200 SEVIS fee and schedule appointment with a US embassy or consulate outside of the USA.
  • Interview with consular officer at US embassy or consulate outside of the USA. NOTE: At the interview, you may be asked to provide proof that you are a bona fide non-immigrant, with strong ties to your home country and no intention of immigrating to the USA.
  • Receive J-1 visa and reenter the USA to enroll as a full-time student at UCSD.
  • After approval, please visit the International Center within 15 days of your DS-2019 start date so we can make copies of your passport, J-1 visa stamp, and updated I-94 card. At that time, you will be asked to schedule an orientation session with an international student advisor as well.

Option #2: Change of Status: Applying with USCIS and Remaining in the USA

To change your status to J-1 student status while remaining in the USA, you must submit an application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This process may take 3-4 months or longer, so please plan accordingly. NOTE: Students changing from B-2 or F-2 status to J-1 MUST receive approval before the first day of the admitted quarter. Failure to receive J-1 approval may delay your admission or prevent your enrollment at UCSD.

Eligibility

Individuals requesting a change of status while remaining in the USA must satisfy the following criteria:

Your current I-94 status is valid. For all change of status applicants, there cannot be more than 30 days between when your current status ends and when the DS-2019 begins. Your current I-94 status allows a change of status while remaining in the USA.

Required Documentation

Please submit the following documents plus one copy of the entire package to the International Center. Allow 10 working days for processing your request.

  • Personal letter (typed) explaining why you want to change your status. Include information about why you entered the USA in your current status, why and how your intentions changed once in the USA, and any other relevant information. Since J-1 is a nonimmigrant status, it is advisable that you include information relating to your plans to return home after completing your studies, including any ties to your home country.
  • DS-2019 Request Form Make sure you include your permanent address in your home country.
  • Proof of admission to UCSD or, if current UCSD student, copy of your unofficial transcript or academic history from TritonLink.
  • I-539 form (available at www.uscis.gov).
  • Check for US$370 made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security".
  • Copy of I-94 card or I-797 Receipt showing current status (front and back).
  • Copy of passport bio page(s) that includes picture and expiration date.
  • Copy of visa page in passport.
  • Copy of financial sponsorship letter in English from student and/or financial sponsor. Include conversion to US dollars if it is in home currency  (available at www.xe.com). USCIS requires that sponsorship show      sufficient funds to cover expenses for the entire duration of your program of study on the DS-2019. Please see the budget estimates for both undergraduate and graduate students (as well as dependents) on ISPO’s Prospective Students page.

Changing to J-2 Dependent Status

Overview

 Please ensure you are fully aware of any requirements and additional considerations related to a change to J-2 status: F-1 or J-1: Selection of Visa Classification

Option #1: Applying for J-2 Visa Outside of USA

To apply for a J-2 visa outside of the USA, you must obtain a DS-2019 from UCSD. Please do the following to obtain a J-2 visa:

  • Obtain a dependent DS-2019.
  • The primary J-1 status holder must request a dependent DS-2019 for you through the International Center. They must complete a DS-2019 Request Form and include all documents required (these are listed on the request form). Please allow 10 business days for processing.
  • Obtain the DS-2019 from the International Center.
  • Pay US$200 SEVIS fee and schedule appointment with a US embassy or consulate outside of the USA.
  • Interview with consular officer at US embassy or consulate outside of the USA. NOTE: At the interview, you may be asked to provide proof that you are a bona fide non-immigrant, with strong ties to your home country and no intention of immigrating to the USA.
  • Receive J-2 visa and enter the USA.
  • After approval, please visit the International Center within 15 days of your DS-2019 start date so we can make copies of your passport, J-2 visa stamp, and updated I-94 card. Dependents should attend an orientation program at the International Center as well.

Option #2: Change of Status: Applying with USCIS and Remaining in the USA

NOTE: Generally, J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors who are subject to the two –year home country residence requirement and have not been granted a waiver of the requirement are prohibited from changing status within the U.S., except to A and G status. It may be necessary to return home and apply for the new visa type there.

To change your status to J-2 student status while remaining in the USA, you must submit an application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This process may take 3-4 months or longer, so please plan accordingly.

Eligibility

Individuals requesting a change of status while remaining in the USA must satisfy the following criteria:

Your current I-94 status is valid. For all change of status applicants, there cannot be more than 30 days between when your current status ends and when the DS-2019 begins. Your current I-94 status allows a change of status while remaining in the USA.

If you have ever been in J Exchange Visitor status, and are subject to the two year home residency requirement, you are eligible to apply for a change of status in the USA only if you have fulfilled the requirement or have obtained a waiver and can provide a copy of the waiver. 

Required Documentation

Please submit the following documents plus one copy of the entire package to the International Center. Allow 10 working days for processing your request.

  • Personal letter (typed) explaining why you want to change your status. Include information about why you entered the USA in your current status, why and how your intentions changed once in the USA, and any other relevant information. Since J-2 is a nonimmigrant status, it is advisable that you include information relating to your plans to return home after completing your studies, including any ties to your home      country.
  • DS-2019 Request Form Make sure you include your permanent address in your home country.
  • I-539 form (available at www.uscis.gov).
  • Check for US$370 made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security".
  • Copy of I-94 card or I-797 Receipt AND primary J-1’s showing current status (front and back).
  • Copy of passport bio page(s) AND primary J-1’s passport bio page(s) that includes picture and expiration date.
  • Copy of visa page AND primary J-1’s visa page in passport.
  • Copy of any previously issued DS-2019s
  • Copy of proof of family relationship to the J-1 (for example, marriage certificate). Must be translated to English.
  • Copy of evidence that the primary J-1 is maintaining status (for example, a copy of his or her transcript or enrollment verification via TritonLink)
  • Copy of financial sponsorship letter in English from student and/or financial sponsor. Include conversion to US dollars if it is in home currency (available at www.xe.com). USCIS requires that sponsorship show sufficient funds to cover expenses for the entire duration of the J-1’s program of study as well as dependent expenses on the DS-2019. Please see the budget estimates for both undergraduate and graduate students (as well as dependents) on ISPO’s Prospective Students page.