Home / Immigration / Change of Nonimmigrant Status
Updated March 7, 2022
The following information is for students, scholars, and employees who are currently in the US and want to change from one non-immigrant status to a student status (e.g., F-1 status or J-1 status) in order to be able to study, research, or work at Tufts. Note: the information offered below is intended to be general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Because change of status procedures can be quite complex, the International Center strongly recommends consulting with a qualified immigration attorney about options and requirements for changing non-immigrant status. The International Center is unable to prepare change of status applications on behalf of individual students, staff, or dependents.
If you are already in the US in a non-student or scholar status, but would like to change to student / scholar status, you may need to apply for a change of status. Common change of status scenarios include the following:
In most cases, the fastest way to obtain a new non-immigrant status is by departing the US, applying for a new visa, and returning to the US on the new visa. However, it may not always be possible or feasible to travel outside the US. In these situations, you may investigate whether it is possible to apply for a change of status from within the US.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic traveling internationally (to / from the US) and applying for US visas overseas may be subject to long delays or restrictions. Consult with an international student advisor about your individual situation if you are seeking to obtain a new non-immigrant status to become a student or scholar at Tufts.
In certain instances it may not be required to change to student or scholar status. Your current status may permit you to study or engage in research without needing to switch to a F-1 student or J-1 student or scholar visa. Because individual cases may be quite different, consult with the International Center and/or an immigration attorney about your options.
In particular, persons already in the US in a protected status (e.g., Temporary Protected Status, refugee / asylum status, etc.) or as a pending immigrant should always consult with an immigration attorney before taking steps to obtain F-1 or J-1 student status.
If travel outside the US is not possible or feasible, you may be eligible to apply for a change of non-immigrant status by submitting a Form I-539 application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Your I-539 application packet will include, at minimum: