Changing your Immigration Status

Download this information as a handout here.

Once you have entered the U.S. in a particularly visa status, such as F1, your plans may change and you may decide to change your visa status. There are two ways to change your visa status.

  • One way is to travel out of the U.S. apply at a U.S. consulate for a new type of visa stamp and then re-enter the U.S. in the new visa classification. [NOTE: Since Canadians do not need visa stamps, a Canadian would simply have to pay the SEVIS fee as explained on the handout attached to your I-20 and then make a new entry in to the U.S. with the new immigration documents. You must receive a new I-94 card with the new status recorded on it.]

  • The second way is to send an applcation to a U.S.C.I.S. service center while remaining within the U.S. If you change your visa status this way, the next time you travel out of the U.S., you would still need to go to a U.S. consulate, apply for and obtain the visa stamp appropriate to your new visa classification. Additionally, you can NOT apply while remaining in the U.S. if either:

    1) you are a J-1 visa holder who is subject to the two year home residence requirement or

    2) you came in to the U.S. using the visa waiver program.

  • If you are subject to this two year rule or you came in to the U.S. using the visa waiver, you must travel out of the U.S. to change your status or get a waiver of the requirement. Come to ISS to discuss this with an advisor.

Below is a list of the different status changes you might be seeking. Click on each item to get more information and application procedures.

  • F1 to F2
  • F2 to F1
  • H1 to F1
  • B2 to F1
  • to J1 student
  • Continuing student (currently in H4, J2, L2, or J1 status requesting I-20 to change of status to F-1

Change of Degree Program or Level

If you are changing degree levels within Howard University, the graduate school or the professional school who admitted you will produce a new I-20 for you once you have been admitted and have provided financial support statements to them.