What is a “Change of Status”?

A change of status is an authorization from USCIS to be in the United States for a new reason to engage in a new activity for new period of time. This authorization comes in the form of a new I-94.


THIS IS NOT A VISA. Even if you do a change of status application with USCIS and it is approved, you still need to get the appropriate VISA for your status!

In general, unless there are circumstances which would make travel dangerous and unwise, OISS strongly advises international students and exchange visitors wanting to change their status to obtain the appropriate Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20) and to travel back to their home country to apply and obtain their F-1 – getting the appropriate visa is always preferable to doing a change of status application in the United States.

Having said this, any non-U.S. citizen thinking of changing status within the U.S. should schedule an appointment with the Director, OISS to discuss their particular circumstances.

    • You must be maintaining status at the time of the initial Change of Status application.
    • You cannot have filed or have a pending application for lawful permanent residence in the United States.
    • If you are a B visitor, you must have proof that this study was recreational (i.e. study in an English language program, a pottery class at the local community college, etc).
    • You have a permanent residence abroad.
    • You have plans to return to your home country after completing your education in the United States.
    • You hold C,D,K,M-1,N,S,WT, or WB status.
    • You hold a J visa with a two-year home residency requirement (unless you have a waiver from the State Department).
    • You hold A or G status and do not have a State Department’s recommendation.
    • You hold B status and you entered the United States with the intent to go to school.
    • Form I-539
    • Form G-1145
    • Application to Change to F-1 Student Status (not available on-line)
    • Evidence of proof of current status
    • Check or Money Order payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or Credit Card payment for $420 USD.
    • I-94 Electronic Printout
    • Proof of Funding for the intended program of study
    • SEVIS Fee Receipt
    • Initial Attendance Form I-20 from Champlain College
    • Champlain College acceptance and financial aid award letters
    • Letter of Support from Champlain’s P/DSO
    • F-2/B-1/B-2 visa holders must have their change of status applications approved before the first day of classes.
    • F-2/B-1/B-2 may not study or work until after their change of status applications have been approved.

    You may decide to file an I-539 online instead of doing a paper application. Please go to this link for more details.

Change of Status Process

Make an appointment with Champlain’s P/DSO

  • Contact Champlain’s P/DSO to determine your eligibility.
  • If you are eligible, you will be given an Application to Change to F-1 Student Status along with information on what documents to assemble.

Complete the International Admissions Process and Be Accepted to Champlain College

  • Apply as an international student at Champlain College.
  • Obtain acceptance and financial aid award letters from Champlain College.
  • Make sure that you are pre-registered for courses for the appropriate semester.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You will not be given an I-20 Form until after Step Four in this process.

Document Assembly

  • Complete the Application to Change to F-1 Student Status.
  • Complete Forms I-539 and G-1145 (as either part of an online or paper application).
  • Make scans or copies of:
    • Your passport photo page.
    • Your electronic Form I-94.
    • Financial documents to show that you have proof of funding for the intended program of study.
    • Evidence of your current status within the U.S. (i.e. time frame with places you have visited or business activities). Please note that you must be in current valid status at the time of filing for a Change of Status.
    • Champlain College acceptance and financial aid award letters.

Application Review with Champlain’s P/DSO

  • If all the documents are in order, Champlain’s P/DSO will issue you with an “Initial Attendance – Change of Status” Form I-20 and give you a cover letter which should accompany your application.
  • You will be directed to the USCIS website to apply, look at fees, and filing locations.

Pay the SEVIS fee and submit your application as instructed by USCIS.

  • Pay your SEVIS fee and a copy of the SEVIS fee receipt in your application.
  • Submit your application on-line or by mail to USCIS.
  • Wait for USCIS to respond.

Approval from USCIS/Check in with Champlain’s P/DSO

  • If you are approved by USCIS for a change of status, please see Champlain’s P/DSO. They will photocopy your passport, new I-94 printout, and Form I-20.
  • They will also verify that you are enrolled full-time (12 credits) and will register you in SEVIS.
  • There will be a note on your file that you still do not have an F-1 visa.
  • When you travel outside the United States, you will need to apply for and obtain your F-1 student visa in your home country BEFORE you can re-enter the United States.