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Currently in a status other than F-1

Students who do not plan to leave the U.S. before beginning studies at FVCC, and are currently in an immigration status other than F-1 are required to change status by application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In general, non-immigrants who are maintaining lawful status may apply for a change of status to F-1. You should review the detailed information in Procedure to Change to F-1 Student Status and consult Gerda Reeb ( for more information or if you have questions or concerns or to review your application before submitting it to USCIS.

Note that because your intention at the time of admission to the U.S. is an issue with a change of status application, a change of status from B-1 or B-2 visitor status may be very difficult unless the B-1/B-2 entry visa was issued with the notation “prospective student” on it. Most problematic is that an individual in B-1 or B-2 status is prohibited from enrolling in classes until the change of status to F-1 has been approved, and there is no way of knowing how long this will take. The same prohibition against beginning a course of study until the change of status has been approved by the immigration applies to individuals in F-2 status.

Currently in F-1 Status at Another Institution and transferring to FVCC

Students enrolled in another U.S. school under F-1 immigration status who are planning to enroll at FVCC must complete a process in which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is notified of this change. The transfer procedure begins with your current school “releasing” your SEVIS record to FVCC and qualifying for a FVCC I-20, and is NOT complete until you report to FVCC within 15 days of the program start date on your I-20. The first step is to get FVCC’s I-20 in a timely manner. Please refer to our F-1 transfer procedures for exact details.

Continuing Students in F-1 Status at FVCC

If you are completing one program at FVCC and are planning to pursue another degree or program at FVCC, DHS must be notified. FVCC needs to issue you a new I-20 for the new program within 60 days of your completion date on your current I-20 or within 60 days of completion of your program, whichever is earlier. Contact Gerda Reeb ( about qualifying for and obtaining a new I-20.

If You Will Be Accompanied By Dependents

If your dependents – spouse or unmarried children under 21 years of age – will accompany you to the U.S. or join you shortly after your arrival, you will need to provide FVCC with additional documentation showing your sufficient funding to meet your dependents’ expenses and copies of their passport ID pages. An I-20 will then be issued for each of your dependents which they will use to apply for the F-2 visa. You may request am I-20 for your dependents at any time during your stay at FVCC.

Exchange Visitor (J-1) Visa Alternative

Another visa classification for full-time study is the J-1 Exchange Visitor status. J-1 students come to the U.S. under a contract agreement that is formally known as the Exchange Visitor Program. Students who are personally financing their studies are not eligible for J-1 status. Funding for J-1 students usually is from a government or international organization. FVCC funding may also qualify under exceptional circumstances. Please refer to and read carefully the section on Immigration Status under student immigration definitions for a summary of some of the differences between F-1 and J-1 immigration status so that you can make an informed choice.

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Last modified: May 21, 2014