International Students and Scholars
328 O'Dowd Hall
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(map)
(248) 370-3358
Fax: (248) 370-3351
isso@oakland.edu

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Change of Immigration Status

Federal regulations permit individuals holding a non-immigrant visa in the U.S. to change status to another non-immigrant category while in the U.S. by submitting a change of status (COS) application.  Please call the ISSO  as soon as you know you must obtain F-1 status in order to discuss your options in person. The change of status can be especially challenging, and it may be best to travel, apply for an F-1 visa abroad, and reenter the U.S. in F-1 status. USCIS approval usually takes 4-5 months and 3 one hour appointments with international adviser. We do not process any change of status paper work or answering change of status questions during our walk-in hours.  Plan your travel and F-1 visa appointment accordingly. You can enter the U.S. with your I-20 and F-1 visa no earlier than 30 days before the I-20 start date.

Why 3 COS appointments:

First Appointment
Your international adviser will:
  • Explain all the options for your change of status
  • Review the forms you need to submit for COS
  • Identify current immigration status and timeline
  • Review your immigration paper work, OU tuition and living expenses, COS process fee

Please bring the following documents with you:

Second Appointment
Your international adviser will:
  • Verify financial support, whoever will be funding your living (including tuition, living expenses, school supplies and health insurance) in the USA when you will become F- student must show 4 months of bank statement in the amount of one academic year. Exact numbers will be shared at your first appointment.Each person who will be supporting you has to provide a bank statement for 4 consecutive months and affidavit of support I-134 form
  • Verify OU student status (OU admission letter if not provided at first appointment)
  • Explain process on how to pay SEVIS fee
  • Generate I-20 (you can only pay the SEVIS fee after you receive your I-20)
Required Forms
The following forms will be required for your second appointment:
Third Appointment
Your international adviser will:
  • Review all supporting documentation, must bring 2 copies of everything 
  • Finalize the COS packet
  • Provide mailing envelope for the student to mail the COS packet

You must bring the following documents:

  • Forms listed above: I-539, G-1145 and I-134
  • Copy of the receipt indicating payment of the SEVIS fee
  • Check or Money Order for I-539 Form addressed to Department of Homeland Security 
  • Original Marriage certificate and authorized English translation 
  • Detailed letter requesting and explaining the need to change status
  • Copy of your entire F-1 I-20 (sign in “Student Attestation” section on page 1 of the form before making a copy). Do NOT send your original I-20. USCIS does not require the original and will not return it.
  • Copies of all of your immigration documents and your spouses (e.g. DS-2019, F-2 I-20, I-797, paper or print-out of electronic Form I-94, valid passport, visa stamp, EAD card, etc.) showing that you are currently in lawful non-immigrant status 
  • Employment offer letter of your spouse
In order for the adviser to finalize and complete your COS packet you have to have 2 identical COS paperwork at your third appointment. One copy of all the documents will be mailed to USCIS and one copy of everything will be saved in the student's file at the ISSO. 
Once the COS packet has been mailed, you will have to communicate with your immigration adviser about approvals, denials, request for evidence, etc.  Please do not move or travel outside of the USA while your change of status is pending. If your COS is approved, the California Service Center will return a new Form I-94 indicating your new status to the address indicated on your Form I-539 application. If your I-20 is NOT approved by your I-20 program start date you must notify your international adviser within 20 days to modify your program start date in SEVIS. 

If you plan to be a graduate/teaching assistant, you cannot begin working until your change of status is approved. For B-1 visa holders, ISSO will issue a COS I-20 and advise you on your next step.