How to change to student status while in the USA?

If you entered the USA on a tourist visa B1/B2 or on the Work & Travel program with a J1 visa, you can stay in the country for a limited time: up to 6 months on B1/B2 and up to 4 months on J1.

If you decide to stay in the USA to study, you need to change your status to student.

How to obtain student visa status in the USA?

The first step is to choose a language school or university and apply to the educational institution. After that, the institution will issue you a document called an I-20.

Then fill out Form I-539, attach the necessary documents, pay all fees, and send the document package to the US immigration service.

You can arrange the documents yourself or contact us.

Step-by-step instructions for changing status

  1. To obtain an I-20, you must pay a non-refundable school registration fee of $250.
  2. Also, schools take a deposit of approximately $600 - $1640.
  3. As soon as you receive the I-20, you must pay the SEVIS fees of $350. Keep the receipt of payment.
  4. Next, you need a document package, which includes:
    • SEVIS receipt.
    • Bank statement calculated at $2000 per month of study, from your account or a sponsor's account (in this case, a sponsor's consent letter is required).
    • I-20.
    • Form I-94.
    • Any proof of your nonimmigrant intentions, such as a return plane ticket.
    • And most importantly — an essay where you explain in detail why it is critically important for you to learn English and why you are staying to study it.

Change of status: final stage

Next, you pay the change of status fee of $420 to USCIS.

Within 72 hours you will receive a confirmation letter of your case acceptance if the submission was made online. If the documents were sent by regular mail, waiting might take longer.

In the case of a J1 visa, attach DS-2019, a description of your activities, address, employer, and salary. Submit all documents before the DS-2019 expiration.

Who Are We?

We hack education in America:

  • Affordable language schools and colleges in the US.
  • Ways to avoid paying full tuition.
  • Visa extension and getting work permits.

We are former students in the USA, sharing our experience of successful study and life in America.

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