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Change of Status

Change of Status to F-1

Obtaining F-1 Status  

Issuance of an I-20 does not give you F-1 status in the United States. There are two ways to obtain F-1 status:

  1. Apply for change of status to F-1 inside the U.S. through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  2. Apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. Department of State consulate or embassy outside the US and use the F-1 visa to enter the U.S. to get F-1 status. 

Eligibility to Change Status within the U.S.

  • Valid non-immigrant status
  • Acceptance to MCC and have a Change of Status I-20
  • Contact an immigration lawyer if your current status will expire before before MCC’s quarter starts. 

Statuses Not Eligible to Change Status to F-1 within the U.S.

  • Holders of C, D, K and M visas
  • Visitors with WT or WB status (Visa Waiver Program)
  • J-1 & J-2 non-immigrants with a 2-year home residency requirement
  • Non-immigrants who overstayed or violated their status  

Important Points

  • Applications for a change of status must be received by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the applicant’s current status ends.  
  • B-1/B-2 visitors who arrived into the U.S. after 4/12/2002 are not permitted to enroll or attend classes until their F-1 status has been approved.
  • F-2 visa recipients, dependents of an F-1, may not enroll in a program until the F-1 status is approved. 
  • Students will not be eligible for off-campus employment authorization until F-1 status has been approved and enrollment requirements are met.  


  1. Apply for admission to MCC as a prospective F-1 student: change of status.
  2. If you are accepted, International Student Services (ISS) will issue you an Initial Attendance – Change of Status Requested I-20 and an acceptance letter.
  3. You are encouraged to schedule an appointment with an immigration lawyer to discuss the change of status application process. You may search for an immigration lawyer in the American Immigration Lawyers Association database at 
  4. Stay in contact with the ISS office while your change of status is pending.   
    • Notify the ISS office of any changes in your home address, phone number, or e-mail address.   
    • Provide the ISS office with a copy of your USCIS I-539 receipt notice (Form I-797) as soon as you receive it.
    • Prior to the beginning of each academic quarter, you will need to notify the ISS office of whether or not you wish to defer your attendance to the next quarter. If you do not notify us of your wish to defer to the next quarter, we may need to cancel your SEVIS record. If your Financial Affidavit or bank letter are more than six months old, you will need to provide updated documents, so that ISS may update your SEVIS record.