Changing Visa Status FAQ

There is no way to know for sure what the outcome of your application will be. Your ISSS advisor will give you as much information as possible when you first meet, including a discussion of whether your application may have a good chance of success or a poor chance of success. Factors that influence your case include:

  • Your current status
  • Your immigration history in the U.S.
  • Quality and appropriateness of your application materials
  • Your ability to prove non-immigrant intent
  • Your ability to prove financial support in the U.S.
  • The level and nature of your studies in the U.S.

Our advice is based on immigration regulations and current trends seen in previous change of status applications. However, even these trends provide no guarantee that an application will be approved or denied, and you should prepare for both outcomes. Have a plan ready in case your request is denied.

Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite a change of status request. If you need your status changed quickly, do not choose this method of obtaining F-1 status. It is much faster to leave the U.S. and apply for a student visa at a consulate abroad.
No. Because of the complicated nature of immigration advising, ISSS does not assist students changing to F-1 from A, G, or NATO status. There may also be other statuses or case situations that we are unable to help with. We try to serve as many students as possible, but in some cases ISSS may not have the expertise or ability to assist certain non-immigrants in changing their status. When we are unable to provide specific guidance, we will offer advice on selecting an immigration attorney.
Yes. Because of the length of time required by USCIS to process applications (anywhere from 3-6 months), ISSS will not process in-country Change of Status I-20s if it less than two months before the first day of classes for the next term.  ISSS will process I-20s for any students wishing to travel home to change their status out-of-country.
Yes. Approximately 2-4 weeks after we mail your application to USCIS, you will receive a receipt notice informing you that they have received your application. This notice will contain your case number, which you can use to look up your case status online on the USCIS Website.  On the same page, you can also register to receive e-mail updates so that you are alerted when USCIS makes a decision about your case.
When USCIS is missing information needed to process your case, they will send you a letter called a Request for Evidence (RFE). These request that you return certain documentation for your case by a certain date, usually within 30 days. Although the information requested varies for each individual case, common requests are new bank statements, evidence that the student intends to return to his or her home country after graduation from Georgia State, or documents showing the student has maintained status since arriving in the U.S. If you receive a Request for Evidence, ISSS will contact you and discuss what documents you need to gather.

Receiving an RFE does not mean that your case will be denied. Normally, this indicates that USCIS intends to approve your change of status request but needs more information to make a final decision. However, we try to avoid receiving RFEs by including all necessary information in the original application.

To protect American national security, everyone who wishes to study in the U.S. must be identified as non-threatening to American interests. This happens automatically for many students, but students from certain countries and in certain fields of study are subject to closer scrutiny. For example, doctoral students in physics, chemistry, and biology are frequently subject to security clearances. Before these students are issued a visa, their background must be checked by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a process that can delay visa issuance for one to six months. If you believe your background may cause you to be subject to a long security clearance check, be sure to apply as early as possible for your visa.