Change of Status Students
Change-of-status student deadlines
Change-of-Status applications are processed only for one semester at a time based on specific eligibility criteria.
The OISS&SA must receive your application on or before:
- Fall Semester : July 1
- Spring Semester: November 11 (Workshop sessions start in September)
- Summer Semester: April 1 (Workshop sessions start in February)
Apply to HCC: Change of Status
About Change of Status
This application is for applicants who are in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa (for example B1/B2, H1) and wish to change their status to F-1. You must remain in the U.S until your application is adjudicated and, once approved, you will be subject to travel restrictions that do not apply for the regular F-1 students. You must be admitted into a full-time program of study at Houston Community College (HCC) and obtain the SEVIS Form I-20 from the Office of International Services & Programs (ISP).
An individual is only eligible to change status to F-1 if all of the following items apply:
- The applicant's current non-immigrant status is valid at the time USCIS receives the change of status to F-1 application.
- The applicant (a) has been in their current visa status for at least three months before filing a change of status to F-1 with USCIS, or (b) can provide USCIS proof of no preconceived intent to study at the time of last entry to U.S.
- The applicant’s most recent entry to the U.S. was not under the Visa Waiver Program for business (WB status) or tourism (WT status).
Note: If an applicant is currently in J-1/J-2 status and subject to 212e or the two-year home residency requirement, the applicant is not eligible to apply for a change of status in the U.S. unless they have obtained a waiver of this requirement.
Step 1: Online Application, W and P Numbers
If you already have an HCC student ID, go to Step 3 to register for a Change of Status Workshop. If this does not apply to you, begin at Step 1 below.
- Click on online application for Admissions (In the case of an error message, choose a different browser)
- Go to “Start New Application"
- Select “F-1 International” application (the third option from the top) and click Next
- Enter your Names as they appear on your passport, Date of Birth, and your Email
- Set your Password (take a screenshot of the page and record your password)
- From “New Account Created” page, click “Continue” to go to F1 Application steps.
- Choose “Yes” to confirm that you are applying as F-1 student
- Choose COS Student from “I am applying as”
- Select the Admit term/semester you want to start studying at HCC
- Complete all 9 steps of the application and submit
- You will receive your Conditional Approval Letter and an email with the next steps with your HCC student ID and your Assigned Number (starting with P)
Do not submit multiple applications! You need only one HCC student ID and we can work with you if you have to make changes. Multiple student IDs will slow your application process. Remember: You will keep the same User ID throughout your HCC career.
Step 2: Sign in to your HCC Account
- Navigate to the Student System Sign-In webpage:
- Visit www.hccs.edu
- Click the "MyEagle Student Sign-In" link found in the top left corner of the screen
- Select "Student Sign-In"
- You are now on the Student System Sign-In page. You will need to re-visit this page often, so it is a good idea to save it as a favorite in your internet browser.
- Log in with your HCC Student ID number (W00000000) and your password previously created
If you need additional assistance with accessing your account, please visit http://www.hccs.edu/resources-for/current-students/student-system-help/
Step 3: Register for a Change of Status (COS) Virtual Workshop
Change of Status (COS) applicants should schedule an appointment for one of the COS workshop sessions. The session covers all aspects of the COS process. Eligible applicants should prepare all documents listed in Step 4. Instructions about the documents will be provided during the virtual workshop. The initial Change of Status SEVIS Form I-20 will be processed within 10 business days.
What You Need Before scheduling your session:
- Your HCC ID
- The DATE listed on your I-94 as “admit until date” OR your expected visa/status termination date (for work visas this will be the last day of their employment + 60-day grace period; for some dependents – the date of reaching the age limit.)
- You can print out your I-94 at the following link: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home. If you have a previous status change, you will use the I-94 on your latest COS approval notice.
- Visa type- on your I-94/ latest COS approval notice/ passport stamp
- If you have applied for/ or are in a process of applying for an extension or update of your current status, please indicate so in order to be able to continue with the registration. A receipt of the application for an extension should be added to the I-94 section of the Uploadable Checklist that will be assigned to participant accounts after they attend the virtual workshop. Your nonimmigrant status should be unexpired at the time of filing the initial COS to F-1 application, and you should be otherwise eligible for COS.
How to Schedule & Register via WebEx (Workshops for Spring 2023 applicants will start in September 2022)
- Click on Change of Status Workshop Request. Go to "Click here to display sessions" button, click and choose a date.
- You will receive an email with a WebEx Registration link. Register for the virual workshop following the email instructions.
- Once you register, you will receive an email from webex confirming your registration. 15 minutes prior to event (not earlier), you will be able to join the workshop on-line to check the status of your audio/video settings.
(If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria for the current sessions, you may consider applying for an extension of your current status or leaving the country and applying as a NEW student.)
Step 4: Prepare Application Documents and Attend the Virtual COS Workshop
Prepare ALL the documents that are required for issuing your SEVIS Form I-20 to the information session.
All documents must be saved as PDF files with short names (less than 30 characters). The file name should not contain any invalid characters such as (*:"<>?). Bad quality or upside-down documents will be rejected. Please combine different document types in 1 PDF file. For example, if you have statements from different banks, save them as one file. To scan and convert a file to PDF format, you can also use free PDF scanner apps (Genius Scan - PDF Scanner, Fast Scanner: Free PDF Scan for Android, Tiny Scanner- PDF scanner, etc.) Upon uploading, the System will add automatically 3 or 4-digit code and your HCC ID number to the name of
- Complete and sign the SEVIS Form I-20 Application Note: Type the information online and then print and sign it.
- Complete and sign Legal Waiver and Release Form
- Copy of passport biometric page (at least 6 months from the filing date, or include a receipt for extension or renewal)*
- Copy of visa (or Change of Status approval notice I-797)*
- I-94 Departure Record (both sides of the card or print out your I-94 at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home)*
- Financial Documentation (UCSIS Expects COS applicants to provide evidence for financial support covering the full amount shown on the Form I-20: $22,980 for the primary holder and $4,400 for each dependent.)
- $75 Application Fee (save the receipt as .PDF document)
- Arrange the documents in order of the COS Checklist - Documents for OISS&SA
* Provide this document for all dependents (spouse/ children under 21) who are changing status with you, as well as marriage and birth certificates. This is also required for the primary visa holder if your current status is based on her/his visa. All supporting documents should be in English or translated into English.
Pay the non-refundable application fee of $75.
How to pay the fee:
Online payments (preferred): You can pay the fee online using a credit card, check routing number or funds transfer from your local bank. For online payments, refer to the International Payment Tutorial (Flywire) for instructions. Please note that you must have completed Step 1 and Step 2 before you can make a payment online.
Note: The payment term and entrance term may vary when paying the fee online. This is not a problem as the payment can be tracked by date.
Tutorial: How to Add Signature to PDF Document
Step 5: Upload Documents to your Student Checklist
A Checklist will be added to your HCC account two (2) business days after you attend the virtual workshop.
- Log in to your account on the HCC Student System
- In Student Homepage, click on Checklists
- Click on the F-1 Student Checklist to upload the required documents (If you do not see an F-1 Student Checklist 2 business days after you attended the workshop, please send an email to email@example.com with your HCC student ID, "COS," and the semester you're applying for, written in the subject line. Only students who attended the COS Virtual Workshop will be assigned COS Checklists.
* Monitor your Student Checklist for additional documents that may be required.
Step 6: Check the Status of your Application
Login to your HCC Student Sign-In and view your F-1 Student Checklist list. If the only item in your To-Do list is “I-20 In Process”, your application is under review by your assigned Designated School Official (DSO). If you see any other items in your To-Do list, you must upload the required documents so that your application can be reviewed.
Once you have uploaded all of your documents, it takes about 10 business days for processing of the SEVIS Form I-20. This time will vary depending on when the application is submitted and how many applicants there are at that time.
Step 7: Receive your SEVIS Form I-20
Once the office receives all of your documents, it takes about 10 business days for processing of the SEVIS Form I-20 for applicant who meet the all requirements. This time will vary depending on when the application is submitted and how many applicants there are at that time. Applications are processed in the order they are received.
We are sending the I-20 form electronically to the primary email listed on your HCC account.
Print out the I-20 for yourself (F-1) and for your dependents (F-2), if any. The I-20 should be signed in ink as students are not allowed electronic signatures.
Step 8: : Pay $350 SEVIS I-901 fee
Failure to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee will result in denial of your change of status to F-1 application.
If your Form I-20 does not show I-901 fee payment, it will not be deferred to the next available semester and your application will be denied.
I-901 fee applies only for the F-1 applicant. The dependent applicants (F-2) do not pay this fee.
Step 9: File your COS Application Package to USCIS Online or By Mail
Click to view a Sample Form I-539 for Change of Status to F-1
Click to view a Sample Personal Letter for Change of Status
Use the COS Mailing List if you file by mail. If you file online, use this list as a reminder of the required supporting documents that need to be uploaded with the online application; in this case exclude the online forms and check or money order payments, as they are part of the online application.
|File Online||File by Mail|
|For online application go to:
To download paper I-539 application/primary applicant, go to:
To download I-539A dependent/co-applicant application, go to
You may apply online to extend or change your nonimmigrant status if you meet the following condition:
You are applying:
As a single applicant;
You may apply by mail if you are applying:
As a single applicant; and/or
Click on the COS Mailing List for instruction on documents that need be included in your application packet and mailing address(es).
For latest filing fees instructions, go to https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-fees
Step 10: Things to Do Before Receiving Approval Notice I-797
While Waiting for your Approval…
____Step 1: Submit proof of meningitis vaccine if you are younger than 22 at a campus or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
____Step 2: Review Testing and English proficiency on the following website: https://www.hccs.edu/support-services/international-students/foreign-credentials/ and take the appropriate test.
For more information, see HCC Testing services website at https://www.hccs.edu/resources-for/current-students/testing-services/.
____Step 3: Take Academic Preparedness Test TSI
____Step 4: Evaluate you foreign credentials (you may be eligible for TSI exemption or to transfer some of your courses)
____Step 5: Meet Virtually with your Academic Advisor
Due to Covid-19, our offices are currently closed and all Academic Advisor meetings will be conducted virtually. In order to request a virtual appointment with an academic advisor please visit the HCC Virtual Lobby: https://www.hccs.edu/applying-and-paying/virtual-lobby/
You will need to speak with an academic advisor to set up your HCC academic profile to enable you to register for classes. This will include meeting both English proficiency requirement and College Readiness Requirement (TSI Assessment). (B1/B2 are not allowed to attend classes prior to approval to F-1 status!!!)
Note: Failure to take all tests and be cleared for enrollment at the time of COS approval may result in termination of your newly approved F-1 status!
Step 11: Things to Do After Receiving Approval Notice I-797
After You Receive the Approval Notice I-797
____Step 1: Report by email to ISP main email email@example.com and your assigned DSO and attach the following documents:
Completed New Student Check-in Form
$50.00 orientation fee payable to HCC / provide receipt
Original and a copy of your Approval Notice I-797 (front and back)
Copy of your SEVIS Form I-20 Copy of your passport biographical page
Copy of visa Copy of I-94 printout. You can print your I-94 at www.cbp.gov/i94
____Step 2: Complete the Check-in process at the Office of International Services and follow the instructions provided by your DSO.
____Step 3: Attend mandatory international student ORIENTATION
____Step 4: Enroll in classes
Examples from Requests for Further Evidence (RFE) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
REQUEST FOR FURTHER EVIDENCE (RFE) from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
(Usually, the maximum period allowed for responding is 30 days from the date on the letter)
You may need to consult with an immigration lawyer. Please visit https://hlrs.org or call 713-237-9429 or 1-800-289-4577.
- Documentary Evidence of Current Finances
- Banks Outside of the United States
You are required to show that you have the financial means to pay for the course of study as indicated on your SEVIS Form I-20. In addition, you must substantiate that you will have the financial ability to pay for your course of study and living expenses for the entire period of study as indicated on your Form I-20.
Submit the last three (3) months of original bank statements (translated in English) that include all deposits and withdrawals to include explanations as evidence that you are able to provide immediate funds for your first year of study, as well as an ability to provide this support throughout the duration of your study.
If you submit documentation that includes foreign currency, calculate the value in U.S. Dollars and include evidence of the source for the currency conversion exchange rate.
You submitted foreign financial records for your personal bank account (XXX Bank). Indicate how you access the funds while in the United States. If the funds will be transferred to an account in the United States, including three (3) months of bank statements for those accounts that show all deposits and withdrawals for the account.
Note: Any financial records you submit need to include the full name of the account holder and the address of the bank.
- Documentary Evidence of Return Ticket
- Documentary Evidence of Residence Abroad
Submit evidence to establish that you have made arrangements to depart the United States upon completion of your temporary stay in the United States. Such evidence includes an airline ticket or other transportation ticket or evidence that you have the funds necessary to secure your departure from the United States.
Regulations require that an F-1 student establish that he/she has a residence in a foreign country, which he or she has no intention of abandoning, is a bona fide student qualified to pursue a full course of study and seeks to enter the United States temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing such a course of study. Submit documentation to establish that you have a foreign residence where you intend to reside upon expiration of your F-1 status. Such documentation includes current telephone bills, current utility bills, current mortgage statements, current rental agreements, current rent receipts, etc.
- Impact on Foreign Employment
- Initial Contact
Submit statement explaining any effect the extended stay may have on your foreign employment.
Submit a letter from your international student advisor setting forth the date the school was first contacted on your behalf and the date you filed your application for admission to the school.
- Applicants with Previous F-1 and F-2 Student Records
- Statement to Customs and Border Protection
Explain in detail the previous school filings. Provide a detailed statement explaining why you did not apply for a change of status to F-1 and F-2 while you were outside of the United States. Moreover, why you did not go to the U.S. Embassy to apply for F-1 and F-2 visas but entered the U.S. as tourists.
Provide a statement that answers the following questions: When you were admitted to the United States, did you disclose to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer that you were seeking to study? If not, provide an explanation of why you did not disclose that possibility.
- Reason for Most Recent Entry into the United States
Submit a detailed statement describing your activities in the United States prior to applying for a change of status to F-1. Include any traveling, visiting friends or relatives, and/or any other tourist activities. Submit documentation such as travel or accommodation receipts to add weight to the merits of your statement.
Note: Statements alone may be insufficient to establish eligibility and should be accompanied by any available supporting documentary evidence.
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, Application
A review of the official records reveals that an immigrant petition has been filed for you. However, as per the instruction of the Form I-539, the record does not show that you provided a description of the circumstances described and explained on a separate piece of paper. As per this instructions, provide a statement that describes the circumstances and your intent in detail on filing Form I-130. Submit a copy of the I-797, Notice of Action for I-130 Petition for Alien Resident listing you as the beneficiary.
- Purpose of Course of Study
- Evidence of Intent to Depart
Submit a detailed statement to explain how your proposed course of study will benefit your current career path and goals. Also, included a detailed statement to explain the effect of your proposed change of status on your foreign employment and residency.
Submit a statement in which you describe your intention concerning departure from the United States upon completion of your proposed study.
- Translation and Currency
- Affidavit of Support
If you submit documents that include foreign currency denominations, please calculate their value in U.S. dollars. Please include evidence of the source for the currency conversion exchange rates. If you submit a document in any language other than English, you must include a full English translation. The translator must certify that the translation is complete and accurate and that he or she is competent to translate from the foreign language to English. Official extracts are acceptable, but only if they contain all the information necessary to make a decision on the case. Only extracts prepared by an authorized official (the “keeper of the record”) are acceptable. A summary of a document prepared by a translator is unacceptable.
If you have a sponsor, your sponsor should submit a notarized statement or affidavit of support specifying the intended type and amount of financial contributions he or she will make on your behalf to cover your various costs (such as tuition and school expenses, room and board, living expenses, medical expenses, health insurance, etc.). Your sponsor should submit documentary evidence demonstrating that he or she is able to provide immediate funds to cover expenses associated with your first year of study. In addition, your sponsor should provide evidence of his or her ability to fund your tuition and living expenses for the duration of the course of study. Such supportive evidence may include but is not limited to, current employment records, tax records, business records, property records, etc.
- Ability to Read and Understand English Language
You are asking to study English as a Second Language (ESL) as indicated on the SEVIS Form I-20, and you indicate on Part 5 of the I-539 Application (Applicants Statement): “I can read and understand each and every question of the form, as well as my answer to each question.” If you can read and understand English, please explain why you are seeking ESL training.
- Example RFE for J-1 Student:
Government regulations require you to maintain a valid nonimmigrant status up to the filing date of your instant application.
Submit the following to establish that you have maintained your J nonimmigrant status up to the date of filing:
- Submit copies of your three most recent check stubs from your J-1 program employer.
- Submit a letter from your Responsible Officer and/or Program Sponsor detailing that you have been maintaining your J nonimmigrant status.
- Submit school records from all the colleges/post-secondary schools you have attended.
- Submit all Forms DS-2019 previously issued to you.
- If you are subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement of Section 212€ of the Immigration and Nationality Act, please submit evidence that you have been granted a waiver of that requirement.
Example RFE for B-2 Student:
Provide the following evidence to establish that you were in valid nonimmigrant status at the time your Form I-539 was filed:
Submit a detailed, chronological list of all activities in which you’ve engaged since being admitted to the United States. For example, if you were engaged in tourist activities, include all the towns and cities and tourist attractions, such as parks and museums that you have visited, to the best of your knowledge. You need not include any places you transited through or otherwise stopped in on your way to such destinations, provided you did not stay overnight, or stopover in any such place for a significant period of time. If you were visiting a friend or relative, provide the name and address of the person and the dates visited. Provide documentary evidence of such activities, which may include, but is not limited to receipts, bank statements, credit card statements, hotel invoices, rent receipts, and affidavits from those you have visited.