Change Visa Status

Your immigration status must align with the purpose of your stay in the U.S. Students or scholars at Bradley University may be eligible to change status. If the purpose of a visit to the U.S. has changed, a change of status may be necessary. Changing your visa status can be a complicated process. The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) can advise you on F or J status maintenance and help you understand the change of status process. OISSS cannot assist you with your change of status application to the U.S. government. In some cases, OISSS will recommend that you seek the assistance of a licensed immigration attorney/lawyer.

A change of status can be done in one of two ways:

  1. Apply outside of the U.S.—Return to your home country and apply for a new visa at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. This option is generally much quicker.
  2. Apply within the U.S.—Apply for a change of status from within the U.S. This process can take several months. Current USCIS case processing times can be found on the USCIS website.
    1. In order to complete a change of status within the U.S., you will need to complete the Form I-539 and provide the necessary supporting initial documentation as shown on the I-539 evidence checklist.
    2. Applicants applying from F-2 status may not study full-time until the change of status has been approved.
    3. Applicants applying from B-2 status may not begin classes until the change of status has been approved.
    4. When applying for a change of status within the U.S., individuals must prove that they are currently "in status" (not in violation of their current status) and that they are eligible for the requested status.

Documentation Required

In order to change to F-1 or J-1 visa status, you must first receive an I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility from OISSS. To receive this document, email copies of the following documents to OISSS and indicate whether you will apply for a change of status from within the U.S. or by returning to your home country:

  • Copy of your passport photo page
  • Proof of financial support
    • For F-1 status: must cover expenses for one year or the remainder of your program (whichever is less)
    • For J-1 status: must cover expenses for the remainder of your program

Once the approved documentation has been received, OISSS will email you when your I-20 or DS-2019 is ready.