Change of Status Students

Application deadlines

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:

  1. The applicant's current non-immigrant status is valid at the time USCIS receives the change of status to F-1 application.
  2. The applicant’s most recent entry to the U.S. was not under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) or ESTA  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.

Recommened: 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.

 

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.

  1. Click on online application for Admissions  (In the case of an error message, choose a different browser)
  2. Go to “Start New Application"
  3. Select “F-1 International” application (the third option from the top) and click Next
  4. Enter your Names as they appear on your passport, Date of Birth, and your Email
  5. Set your Password (take a screenshot of the page and record your password)
  6. From “New Account Created” page, click “Continue” to go to F1 Application steps.
  7. Choose “Yes” to confirm that you are applying as F-1 student 
  8. Choose COS Student from “I am applying as”
  9. Select the Admit term/semester you want to start studying at HCC
  10. Complete all 9 steps of the application and submit
  11. 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.

Tutorial - How to Complete the International Online Application

 

Step 2: Sign in to your HCC Account

  • Navigate to the Student System Sign-In webpage:
  1. Visit www.hccs.edu
  2. Click the "MyEagle Student Sign-In" link found in the top left corner of the screen
  3. Select "Student Sign-In"
  4. 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.
  5. 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 & Attend the 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.  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:

  1. Your HCC ID
  2. 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.
  3. Visa type- on your I-94/ latest COS approval notice/ passport stamp
  4. 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 and Attend the workshop via WebEx  

  1. Click on  Change of Status Workshop Request. Go to "Click here to display sessions" button, click and choose a date.
  2. You will receive an email with a WebEx Registration link. Register for the virual workshop following the email instructions.
  3. Once you register, you will receive an email from webex confirming your registration.
  4. Fifteen (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. Our workshops are set up for Central Standard Time (CST) Time Zone.

 

(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: Required Documents for Change of Status Form I-20

Below is the list of the documents that are required for issuing of your Change of Status Form I-20

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

  1. Complete and sign the  SEVIS Form I-20 Application‌  Note: Electronic signature is accepted.
  2. Complete and sign Legal Waiver and Release Form
  3. Copy of passport biometric page (at least 6 months from the filing date, or include a receipt for extension or renewal)* 
  4. Copy of latest visa (or Change of Status approval notice I-797)*
  5. I-94 Departure Record: print out your I-94 at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home > click on Get most recent I-94 or provide the I-94 on the Change of Status approval notice I-797 . If your non-immigrant status has expired, please include receipt of the application for an extension/ or update of your status*/**
  6. 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.)
  7. $75 Application Fee (save the receipt as .PDF document)

 

* Provide this document for all dependents (spouse/ children under 21) who are in the U.S. and are changing status with you; provide also 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. When children "age out" at the age of 21, they are no longer in lawful status under their parent's visa. 

**You should be in lawful non-immigrant status at the time of filing the initial COS to F-1/F-2 application. Examples of documents showing that you are currently in lawful non-immigrant status can include Form I-94, DS-2019 for J1/2, Form I-20 for F-2 status, Form I-797: receipt of the application for an extension/ or update of status.

How to pay the non-refundable $75 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.

TutorialHow 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.

  1. In Student Homepage, click on Checklists
  2. 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 oiss.international@hccs.edu 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.

 

Use the "+" sign on the Checklist item to add additional supporting documents. Don't forget to add documents marked with "*" on Step 4 for all your dependents (spouse/ children under 21) who are in the U.S. and are changing status with you; provide also 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. When children "age out" at the age of 21, they are no longer in lawful status under their parent's visa.  Examples of documents showing that applicants are currently in lawful non-immigrant status can include Form I-94, DS-2019 for J1/2, Form I-20 for F-2 status, Form I-797: receipt of the application for an extension/ or update of status.

Follow the instructions on the   Tutorial - F1 Students Checklist_Prepare and Upload Documents

Monitor your Student Checklist for additional documents that may be required.

 

Step 6: Check the Status of your Form I-20

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. 

If you have not received any communication from our office within 10 business days, please email your DSO and oiss.international@hccs.edu to check the status of your application.

 

Step 7: Receive your Change of Status Form I-20

Once the office receives all required documents, it takes about 10 business days for processing of the SEVIS Form I-20 for applicant who meet the requirements. 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. 

When you receive the I-20, we recommend you proofread the following information on the form:

On page 1:

Names

Date of Birth

Form Issue Reason: CHANGE OF STATUS

DSO signature

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

This fee is paid online at http://www.fmjfee.com/.

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

File Online

Filing online helps you to: Get your application into our processing queue faster than mail delivery; Ensure you are using the correct version of the form; and Communicate with USCIS directly, without sending or receiving paper mail.

You may apply online to extend or change your nonimmigrant status if you are applying as a single applicant, without co-applicants/dependents; and you will not require legal or accredited representation at any point in your request.

Create or use an existent account: https://myaccount.uscis.gov/ >My account>File a Form>I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

or you can go directly to and start from there: https://www.uscis.gov/i539online

 Prepare and Upload:

  • Copy of passport (at least 6 months from the filing date, or include a receipt for extension or renewal)
  • Copy of Visa
  • Copy of Form I-94 https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home> click on Get most recent I-94; or your Notice of Action I-797A if you have changed status in the U.S.
  • Financial Documents
  • Personal letter: Click to view a Sample Personal Letter for Change of Status
  • Other supporting documents….
  • Form I-20 for Change of Status signed by DSO and student (all pages)
  • Pay $ 455 ($370 filing fee +$85 biometric fee) at the end of the application

 

After the fee is paid, your form will be submitted and you will have access to your receipt and case number.

Use your USCIS online account to:

Receive your biometrics appointment notice;

Receive status updates about your case;

Respond to any correspondence in which we ask you to submit evidence; and

Update your contact information if it changes.

 

File by Mail

You may apply by mail if you are applying: As a single applicant with co-applicants/dependents; and/or you require legal or accredited representation at any point in your request.

To download paper I-539 application/primary applicant, go to:

https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/forms/i-539.pdf

To download I-539A dependent/co-applicant application, go to

 https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/forms/i-539a-pc.pdf

USCIS: Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

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

Click on the COS Mailing List for instruction on documents that need be included in your application packet and mailing address(es).

Assemble all documents according to the COS Mailing Checklist. Use paper clips; do not use staples to attach documents together.
Payment: USCIS requires each applicant and co-applicant (dependent) to pay an additional $85 biometrics fee, and attend an appointment that will be scheduled at a USCIS Applicant Support Center (ACS) where biometrics such as fingerprints will be collected. Form I-539A is to be used for multiple individuals such as family members.

For latest filing fees instructions, go to https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-fees



 

Step 10: Submit a Copy of the USCIS Receipt

After you have filed your application with USCIS, you will receive a Form I-797 Notice of Action (receipt) in the mail and electronically (if you applied online).

You must email a copy of this receipt to your assigned DSO and oiss.international@hccs.edu . Always include your HCC ID in the subject line of the email.

 

The receipt number is printed in the upper left corner of the USCIS Form I-797 “Notice of Action” receipt.

 

You can check your Case Status here.

You can report Address Change here.

You can check processing times for Form I-539 here.

 

Step 11: Attend Biometric Services Appointment

Every applicant (F-1) and co-applicant (F-2) will receive a biometric services appointment notice, regardless of age, containing their individual receipt number. Biometric services appointments will be scheduled at the Application Support Center (ASC) closest to the primary applicant’s address. Co-applicants who wish to be scheduled at a different ASC location should file a separate Form I-539. If you fail to attend your biometric services appointment, USCIS may deny your application.

 

 

Step 12: Monitor your Case Status for Request for Evidence (RFE), Approval or Denial Notices

When applicant’s status changes to “Approved”, “Denied”, or in case of Request for Evidence (RFE) the student should inform our office immediately at oiss.international@hccs.edu .

Check weekly the status of your application on the USCIS Case Status web page . Use the receipt (case) number printed in the upper left corner of the USCIS Form I-797 “Notice of Action” receipt. This receipt number is a unique 13-character identifier that consists of three letters followed by 10 numbers.

Creating a personalized account with USCIS at my.uscis.gov. allows you to receive your most recent case updates including up to the last five actions on your case, simplifies case management, and access to your electronically filed applications.

Request of Evidence (RFE)

  • If the USCIS needs further clarification from students regarding their application, a Request for Evidence (RFE) notice will be sent to them.  It is important to follow the instructions on the RFE carefully and by the noted deadline.  If an RFE is not filed correctly in a timely manner, it may result in denial of their Change of Status application.

It is very important to monitor your mail about messages from USCIS. Students with electronically filed applications will have immediate access to their RFEs while students who have applied by mail will have to wait to receive the paper RFE in their mailbox. In both cases, students should contact their assigned DSO and submit a copy of the RFE.

In case of delay of the RFE by mail, applicant should call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.

Status: Approved

Student should inform our office immediately at oiss.international@hccs.edu and submit all documents for Check-in following the instructions on International Check-in and Orientation . Sometimes there are delays in mailing of the official copy of I-797A "Notice of Action". However, the approval start date can vary, and in order to prevent  F-1 status termination, the student should start immediately working on securing timely enrollment at HCC. In  the meantime, we recommend student to call USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. Delayed or lost Form I-797A is not an excuse for not reporting and enrolling at HCC for the relevant semester. 

Status: Denied

You should be prepared to leave the country in order to prevent accruing unlawful presence. 

A Change of Status denial cannot be appealed. However, if you disagree with this decision, or if you have additional evidence that shows this decision is incorrect, you may submit a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider by completing a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion. A motion to reopen
must state the new facts to be considered and must be supported by affidavits or other new documentary evidence. A motion to reconsider must show that the decision was legally incorrect according to statute, regulation, and/or precedent decision.
The motion must be filed within 33 days from the date of the denial notice. You may need to consult with an immigration lawyer. Please visit https://hlrs.org  or call 713-237-9429  or 1-800-289-4577.

 


 

Examples of Request for 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)

 

  • 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 activitiesSubmit 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.  

 

Things to do Before and after the Approval Notice

While Waiting for your Approval…

You have to be ready for enrollment at HCC. 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 1: Submit proof of meningitis vaccine if you are younger than 22 at a campus or email to vaccine@hccs.edu

____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  This test is for students who have met the English proficiency requirements.

____Step 4: Evaluate you foreign credentials (you may be eligible for TSI exemption or to transfer some of your courses)

____Step 5: Meet with your Academic Advisor on campus or 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/

The academic advisor will review your tests scores and academic credentals (if any) and will 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). Students who have not met the  English proficiency requirement, will be placed in the appropriate level of Intensive English classes based on their Accuplacer scores. 

B1/B2 are not allowed to attend classes prior to approval to F-1 status.

Failure to take the required placement tests and be cleared for enrollment at the time of COS approval may result in termination of your newly approved F-1 status!

 

After You Receive the Approval Notice I-797A

Prepare copies of the following documents in .PDF format and email them to oiss.international@hccs.edu and your assigned DSO. Include your HCC ID and "Check-in" in the subject matter of the email 

  1. Completed International Student Check-In Form
  2. SEVIS Form I-20* 
  3. Copy of the COS Approval Notice  I-797A (front and back)*
  4. Receipt of online payment for the $50.00 orientation fee – you can pay this with a credit card online through the PeopleSoft / Student Account sign-in . For more information, see International Payment Tutorial (Flywire)International Payment Tutorial (Flywire)

*Provide this document for all dependents (spouse/ children) on F-2 visa

Your DSO will review all documents and will guide you through your  Next Steps at HCC. 

Click here to follow the New Arriving F-1 Student Steps

Failure to take the placement tests and be cleared for enrollment at the time of COS approval may result in termination of your newly approved F-1 status!

 

Additional Information

A change in status (COS) is not automatic

The decision will be made solely by the USCIS officer who will adjudicate the change of status application.  USCIS business practices and regulations may change without notice. 

The student is responsible for information provided in the COS application and decisions made by USCIS do not reflect the actions of the HCC International Services and Programs.

 

Travel outside the U.S. while Change of Status application is pending

Do not travel outside of the U.S. while your COS case is pending. If you leave the country, USCIS will consider your application abandoned. In case you must travel because of an emergency/unexpected circumstance while your COS case is still pending with USCIS, you should plan to withdraw your application from USCIS and notify our office via email as well.

 

Travel outside the U.S. after Change of Status application is approved and Reentering the U.S

If you obtain your F-1 status through a change of status process with USCIS, remember that you will only receive F-1 status, not an F-1 visa. 

This means that the first time you travel outside the U.S. while in F-1 status, you will have to apply for F-1 visa at a U.S. consulate/embassy in order to be able to return to the U.S.

You need to schedule an appointment at the U.S. Embassy/ Consulate abroad and submit all necessary document while you are outside of U.S. 

 

Obtaining an F-1 visa in a 3rd country

It can be much more difficult to obtain a visa stamp in a 3rd country, such as Canada or Mexico, if you are not a national of that country. 

If you intend to apply for a visa in a country other than your home country, you will need to check with the consulate/embassy to determine if this is an option.

If denied a visa, you must return to your home country to apply for a visa there. 

 

Family Members of Nonimmigrants

If your nonimmigrant status is based on the fact that you are a family member or dependent (unmarried children under 21 years of age) of an individual who has already been granted nonimmigrant status, then you must file your application while that individual maintains a valid nonimmigrant status. Family members and dependents are limited to the same period of authorized stay as the principal immigrant.

You may include your spouse and your unmarried children under 21 years of age as co-applicants in your application change of status, but only if you are all now in the U.S. and  in same status or they are all in derivative status.  The primary applicant  applies for a Change of status to F-1, while the co-applicants will be included in the primary applicant's I-20 and will each receive F-2 I-20 that should be submitted as supporting evidence with the I-539A application.

If you apply as part of a family, you may choose to:

Apply together, using paper Form I-539 https://www.uscis.gov/i-539 , and pay a single fee; or

Apply online https://my.uscis.gov/apply/application-to-extend-change-nonimmigrant-status/overview  as individuals, and pay a fee for each application.

 

How can I find authorized immigration service providers online?

The EOIR provides a listing of attorneys in your state who provide immigration services either for free or for little cost. They also provide a list of accredited representatives and recognized organizations. The American Bar Association also provides information on finding legal services in your state.

When choosing an attorney you should:

  • Make sure that the attorney is eligible to practice in – and is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of – any U.S. state, possession, territory or commonwealth, or the District of Columbia.
  • Make sure that the attorney is not under any court order restricting his or her practice of law.
  • Ask to see the attorney’s current licensing document, and verify through the state agency responsible for regulating attorneys that he or she is eligible to practice.
  • Check the List of Currently Disciplined Practitioners. This is where the Executive Office for Immigration Review lists people who have been expelled, disbarred or suspended from practicing law before USCIS. Attorneys who are on the list and who have a “No” in the last column on the right are not eligible to give you legal advice. Ask to see a copy of the reinstatement order from the EOIR.

WARNING: “Notarios,” notary publics, immigration consultants and businesses cannot give you immigration legal advice unless they are authorized service providers. In many other countries, the word “notario” means that the individual is a powerful attorney, but that is not true in the U.S. If you need help with immigration issues, be very careful before paying money to anyone who is neither an attorney nor a EOIR-accredited representative of a EOIR-recognized organization.