Changing Status from F-2 Dependent to F-1 Student

An F-2 dependent may study part-time in any certified program at an SEVP –certified school, either degree- or non-degree-based, as long as the study does not amount to what regulations define as full time for an F-1 student (which is 12-credits for undergraduates and 9-credits for graduates).

If an F-2 dependent wants to enroll as a full-time student, he/she must change his/her status from F-2 to F-1. First of all, F-2 dependent must be accepted by an SEVP –certified school as a full-time student. Then he/she will receive his/her new F-1 I-20. Upon receiving the I-20, double check on the personal information. Make sure everything is accurate and correct. IMPORTANT: please make sure that in the Issue Reason section of the Form I-20, the DSO should give change of status. It should be something like: Initial Attendance: Change of Status Requested.

If you have received your I-20 and everything is correct, be ready to apply to change status from F-2 to F-1 as soon as possible, for it takes some times. You can apply to change your status to F-1 without leaving United States as long as your F-2 status is valid. File an application with USCIS to change your F-2 to F-1 status by collecting and completing the needed materials and following these steps:

  1. Check your eligibility to file Form I-539 Online

Filing online helps you to

* Get your application into USCIS processing queue faster than mail delivery; and
* Communicate with USCIS directly, without sending or receiving paper mail.

You may apply online to extend or change your nonimmigrant status if you meet the following conditions.

If you are applying:

  • As a single applicant;
  • Without co-applicants; and
  • You will not require legal or accredited representation at any point in your request.
  1. Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee. Please follow its instruction.
  2. File a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/forms/i-539.pdf with USCIS. Read the instructions carefully to ensure that your category is eligible.

  1. Required materials (to be accurate, follow the USCIS official instructions).

* G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance
* A one-page cover letter requesting the change of status from your current status to F-1. This letter should include a brief explanation as why you wish to change to F-1 status. You should also provide a checklist of the documentation you are including in your application. This is super better for mailing application
* USCIS Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, including application fee.
* Evidence of financial support (i.e., bank statement, assistantship letter, etc.). If you have been offered an assistantship from the department and therefore will need to start your on-campus job under F-1 employment authorization, you may want to request USCIS to expedite your change of status application. There is no guarantee that your application will be expedited, but there is no harm in asking. Please note that after your change of status to F-1 is approved, the earliest date you may start working on campus is 30 days before the first day of classes of your first term as F-1 student.
* Copy of the admission letter from Kentucky State University.
* Copy of your entire F-1 I-20 (sign in “Student Attestation” section on page 1 of the form before making a copy). Do NOT send your original I-20. USCIS does not require the original and will not return it.
* Copy of the receipt indicating payment of the SEVIS fee. Please note that the SEVIS fee is separate from the application fee; both fees must be paid if you are applying for the change of status within the U.S. This may not be necessary if applying online.
* Copies of all of the immigration documents (e.g. DS-2019, F-2 I-20, I-797, paper or print-out of electronic Form I-94 https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home, valid passport, visa stamp, EAD card, etc.) showing that you are currently in lawful non-immigrant status.
* Copy of the waiver of the 212(e) Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement (if you were previously in J status and subject to the requirement), if applicable.

We recommend that you make a copy of this application for your own record.

If apply by mail:

It may take USCIS several months to adjudicate an I-539 request, and therefore you should use a return address that will be valid for many months. We do not recommend trying to change your I-539 mailing address once your application has been submitted to USCIS.

If you know that you will be moving soon, we recommend using a friend or relative’s address in the U.S. If you select this strategy, make sure to include the name of your friend or relative on the line of the I-539 form that says “In care of.” Be sure to verify that their name is on their mail box.

The address that you use on your I-539 will dictate to which USCIS Service Center you should mail your application. I understand you residing in Michigan, so you should mail your application to one of the following:

For U.S. Postal Service (including US Postal Service Express mail):

USCIS
P.O. Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266

The U.S. Postal Service is the only service that delivers to a P.O. Box address. We recommend that you use a trackable mailing method so that you have delivery confirmation of your application. If you send your application with a method that requires a signature upon delivery, use the express mail and courier deliveries address below.

For express mail and courier deliveries (e.g., UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc):

USCIS 
ATTN: I-539 
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business 
Suite 400 
Lewisville, TX 75067

Good luck!