Leaving the United States to Become an F-1 Student (Recommend)
If you are not eligible to change your status in the United States or if you are currently in the United States for a purpose other than attending school and would like to become a student, you may also apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. consulate abroad. You will need to do the following:
- Apply to and receive acceptance from MCC.
- Receive a new initial Form I-20 from your designated school official (DSO).
- Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee.
- Apply at a U.S. consulate or embassy for an F-1 visa to travel to the United States in order to seek admission as a student.
- If you are from a country where no visa is required, such as Canada, you may proceed directly to a U.S. port of entry or a U.S. pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station and apply for admission to the United States as an F-1 student.
- Once admitted by an immigration officer in F-1 status, you may begin your studies.
For more information about consular processing, please visit the Department of State Travel page. For information about SEVP, please visit the ICE Student and Exchange Visitor Program page or the DHS Study in the States page.
Changing B1/B2 to F-1 in the United States
If your current B1/B2 expires more than 30 days before your F-1 program start date and you wish to remain in the U.S., you must “bridge the gap”. You will need to file a separate Form I-539 to request to extend your B1/B2, in addition to your other Form I-539 application to change to F-1 student status. If you do not file this separate request prior to the expiration of your B1/B2, USCIS will deny your Form I-539 request to change to F-1. You can check the USCIS processing times while your Form I-539 change of status request is pending.
- Your F-1 program start date may be deferred to the following semester because USCIS did not make a decision on your Form I-539 change of status application before your originally intended F-1 program start date. In that instance, you will need to maintain B1/B2 status all the way up to the date which is 30 days before your new program start date. If you had already filed an I-539 to bridge the gap, you may need to file another I-539 to bridge the new gap.
You and your dependents will accrue unlawful presence the day after your current visa expires and this may subject you to a 3-year or 10-year bar on returning to the U.S. when you depart the United States. MCC recommends you seek legal counsel before filing this petition.
Because extending or changing non-immigrant status to bridge the gap and changing to F-1 status are two distinct benefits, you must pay a separate filing fee for each request.