Persons in the US under a visa type other than F-1 may change their visa once they are admitted to UAA. This process is done within the US and usually takes three months to complete. 

The F-1 student visa is designed specifically for persons wishing to get a degree in the US. Changing to an F-1 visa provides certain educational and work benefits not offered under other visas.

While most visas are easily changed to an F-1, the B-2 tourist visa and the F-2 dependent visa have special requirements that need to be met before a student can begin classes.

Starting the process


While Waiting for the Change of Status

The Change of Status process takes approximately three months. Current time estimates may be found on the USCIS Service Center Website.

During this time period, most students can take classes at UAA while their application is pending. Those on F-2 visas and B-2 visas cannot begin taking their classes until the change of status has been fully approved by the USCIS.


Important Considerations

  • While students can attend classes while waiting for their change of status, they cannot work on campus until their status has been changed to an F-1 student.
  • Persons on an H-1B visa should apply in advance to make sure there is no gap between your employment end date and your beginning date as a F-1 student.
  • Leaving the country while your change of status application is pending will cancel your application and your case will be denied.
  • You can decide to leave the US and obtain a visa from your home country instead of going through a change of status in the US.

Important Information for B-2 Visa Holders

Persons that have entered the US on a B-2 visa can only change to an F-1 visa if the United States if:

  • the person has declared their intent to study at a university upon entering the country, or
  • the person can show that their decision to study at a US university was made after being in the US

All other B-2 visa holders must return to their home country to obtain an F-1 visa.