Visa change status to F1 visa
There are numerous visa types, which are undertaken by people all over the world to work/study/reside in the U.S. Some of these visas are H1b visa, L1 visa, F1 visa, etc. People using a particular visa to stay in the U.S, often look forward to a change of status to an F1 visa. Before we delve further into the intricacies involved in the change of status, let us apprise you with a brief description of different visas.
What is an H1B visa?
An H1B visa allows skilled professionals in the field of science, engineering, mathematics, accounting, architecture, etc to work in the U.S. It is a temporary non-immigrant visa that allows students with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a professional course to work in the U.S for three years. This time duration can be extended to six years. This visa is granted only if an employer is willing to sponsor the employee.
What is an L1 visa?
The L1 visa is not as complex as obtaining an H1B visa. An L1 visa doesn’t require any educational obligation as is the case in an H1B visa. The L1 visa is further divided into two types- L1A visa and L1 B visa. L1 A visa is for senior members of a company like managers, executives, etc. L1B visa, on the other hand, is for employees having specialized knowledge. L1A visa holders are allowed a stay of three years which can be extended to seven years. L1B visa allows an extended stay of up to 5 years.
What is an F1 visa?
An F1 visa is a visa for the non-immigrants who wish to pursue education in the U.S. F1 visa provides an opportunity to the students enrolled in a university in the U.S to opt for CPT or OPT according to the program opted.
Documents required for change of status from H1B/L1 to F1 visa.
- Acceptance letter from university applied to.
- Form I-539
- I-901 fee receipt
- G-1145 (optional)
- Financial documents to back your stay in the US.
- Passport with applicable visa status
- Form I-94
- Passport size photographs
- Employment Authorisation Document
- H1B to F1 change of status I-20 form
- Verification letter from employer
- A letter stating the reason for the change of visa status
- Salary payslips
How to change status from H1B/L1 visa to F1 visa?
While working on an H1B visa or L1 visa, if you wish to pursue education and seek to change visa status follow the below-mentioned steps. These steps can be followed while you are working in the U.S. You can also wait for your H1B visa/L1 visa status to expire, return to your country and apply again for an F1 visa. For documents required to procure an F1 visa click on the (link…..’ F1 Visa-All you need to know)
- The first step is to get enrolled in an accredited university and obtain an I-20 form. Since you will be changing status; you need to inform the university while filling out the forms.
- Fill form I-539 online from and pay the required fee of $370 for application and $85 for biometric and sample verifications.
- Pay the I-901 fee online and keep the receipt with you.
- Fill form G-1145 in case you want e-acknowledgment of your application.
- Keep the following documents ready-
- Financial documents
- Passport with H1B visa stamp
- H1B to F1 change of status I-20 form.
- Verification letter from employer as proof to show that you are currently employed.
- Statement of purpose reflecting the reason for the change from job to education.
- Salary payslips
- Passport size photograph
- Mail all the documents and the receipts mentioned in the above steps to USCIS.
- After 2-3 weeks, USCIS posts form I-797 for further communication.
- Also, remember to keep a copy of all the documents with you for future purposes.
Time taken for a change of status
Getting approval for a change of status is a time-consuming process. USCIS takes approximately 3 to 9 months or a maximum of up to a year to change your visa status. In such cases, you can start attending your classes for the course, with the condition that your H1B visa is active. If your H1B visa expires and your request for an F1 visa is rejected, you need to leave the United States and head back to your country.
OPT after the change of visa status
While pursuing education in the U.S on an F1 visa, the students are allowed one OPT at every level of education. For example, a student pursuing a bachelor’s can opt for OPT, then again while pursuing a master’s the student can opt for OPT and so on. In short, one OPT is valid at every higher educational course taken up by the student.
Once you have changed your status from an H1B visa to an F1 visa, you can opt for OPT. But, to be fair OPT stands for optional practical training. It means a training course which provides training to the student in the relevant field. Since you already have job experience, it is up to you whether you wish to pursue OPT after a successful change of status.
CPT after the change of visa status
Depending on the program you pursue curricular practical training (CPT) may or may not be authorized. If the program allows CPT and you find an internship or job related to the degree, you can work under CPT, but not until your change of status is approved for an F1 visa.
Hope this article clears all your doubts regarding the change of visa status.
- Salary payslips