USCIS Changing to a F or M student status for a nonimmigrant 2022

Filed in usa uni by on November 29, 2022 0 Comments

Changing to a F or M student status for a nonimmigrant

Is it permissible to enroll in school while in a nonimmigrant status other than student status?

It depends. Some statuses permit enrollment in school, but others do not. For instance, 8 C.F.R. 214.2(b)(7) expressly prohibits enrolling in a course of study in the United States while in B-1 or B-2 status. However, there is no such restriction for people with E status; hence, individuals with E status are permitted to enroll in school so long as it does not interfere with their capacity to keep E status.

Changing to a F or M student status for a nonimmigrant

Changing to a F or M student status for a nonimmigrant

The acquisition of F-1 (academic student) or M-1 (vocational student) status is required for nonimmigrants who are prohibited from enrolling in school. Enrolling in a course of study while in a status that prohibits such activity is a violation of status. Individuals who have violated their nonimmigrant status by enrolling in an academic program are ineligible to extend or modify their status to F-1 or M-1.

Changing to a F or M student status for a non-immigrant 2022

If you are in the United States with valid nonimmigrant status for a reason other than school and want to change your nonimmigrant status (PDF) to a student status while staying in the United States, you must meet the requirements below and submit an application to USCIS to change your status.

In general, you can change your nonimmigrant status while you are still in the U.S. if:

  • You were allowed to come to the United States legally as a nonimmigrant;
  • Your nonimmigrant status remains valid;
  • You haven’t broken any of the rules for your status; and
  • You haven’t broken any laws or done anything else that would stop you from getting a change of status.

Until you receive notice of approval from USCIS, do not assume the requested status has been approved. Before USCIS may approve your application ofChanging to a F or M student status for a nonimmigrant , you must take the following steps:

Not all nonimmigrant classifications are allowed to change to student status. Read the Form I-539 instructions carefully to ensure that your category is eligible.

What if My Current Status Doesn’t Allow Me to Enroll in Classes?

If you are asking Changing to a F or M student status for a nonimmigrant and your current nonimmigrant status does not let you to enroll in classes, do not enroll in classes or begin your studies until USCIS approves your request. Contact the designated school official (DSO) at your new school if USCIS has not adjudicated your change of status 15 days prior to the program start date on your Form I-20. If USCIS denies your request to change your status prior to the start date of classes, you may be required to postpone your enrollment and wait until the next term to resume your studies in F or M status.

Please note that if you are requesting a status change to M, you must maintain a valid nonimmigrant status while your Form I-539 application is pending.

We advise all students and prospective students to coordinate the timing of their change of status application and course enrollment with their DSO.

NOTE: If you are an M-1 student in the United States, you cannot alter your status to F.

What if My Change of Status Application to F-1 Nonimmigrant Student is Still Pending Within 30 Days of My F-1 Program Start Date?

Due to processing times, you may be required to request that your DSO defer the F-1 program start date to the subsequent academic term or semester if USCIS did not make a determination on your Form I-539 change of status application prior to your initially scheduled F-1 program start date. If your COS application is approved, your F-1 status will become effective as of the approval date.

You are not required to gain status until 30 days before your program start date (“bridge the gap”), provided that your nonimmigrant status is valid at the time you file your change of status to F-1 application and that you are otherwise qualified for a change of status.

What if My Change of Status Application to F-1 Nonimmigrant Student is Approved More than 30 Days Before My F-1 Program Start Date?

If your application is approved more than 30 days before the start date of your program, you must guarantee that you do not break your F-1 status. A violation would include participating in employment, including on-campus employment and practical training, more than 30 days prior to the program start date specified on your Form I-20.

What if my Change of Status Application to M-1 Nonimmigrant Student is Still Pending within 30 Days of My M-1 Program Start Date?

If your current nonimmigrant status will expire more than 30 days before your M-1 program start date and you wish to remain in the United States until your start date, you must find a way to obtain status all the way up to the date that is 30 days before your program start date (“bridge the gap”). For most people, you will need to file a separate Form I-539 to request to extend your current status or change to another nonimmigrant status, in addition to your other Form I-539 application to change to student status.

If you do not file this separate request before your status expires, USCIS will deny your Form I-539 request to change to M-1 status. Please continue to check the USCIS processing times while your Form I-539 change of status request is pending to determine if you need to file a request to extend or change your nonimmigrant status.

  • Note that because of processing times, you may have to request that your DSO defer the M-1 program start date to the following term or semester because USCIS did not make a decision on your Form I-539 change of status application before your originally intendedM-1 program start date. In that instance, you will need to obtain status all the way up to the date which is 30 days before your new program start date. If you had already filed an I-539 to bridge the original gap, you may need to file another I-539 to bridge the new gap.

Because extending or changing nonimmigrant status to bridge the gap and changing to M-1 status are two distinct benefits, you must pay a separate filing fee for each request. See the User Fee Statute, 31 U.S.C. § 9701.

Leaving the United States to Become an F-1 or M-1 Student

You may consider consular processing if you are concerned about maintaining your nonimmigrant status to within 30 days of your M-1 program start date (which may be deferred as described above) or are otherwise not eligible to change status to F-1 or M-1 status in the United States. You will need to do the following:

  • Apply to and receive acceptance from a SEVP-certified school.
  • Receive a new initial Form I-20 from your designated school official (DSO).
  • Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee.
  • Apply at a U.S. consulate or embassy for an F-1 or M-1 visa to travel to the United States in order to seek admission as a student.
  • If you are from a country where no visa is required, such as Canada, you may proceed directly to a U.S. port of entry or a U.S. pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station and apply for admission to the United States as an F-1 or M-1 student.
  • Once admitted by an immigration officer in F-1 or M-1 status, you may begin your studies.

For more information about Changing to a F or M student status for a nonimmigrant, please visit the Department of State Travel page. For information about SEVP, please visit the ICE Student and Exchange Visitor Program page or the DHS Study in the States page.

 

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