Cherry Blossoms

Current International Students

Changing to F-1 Status

If you are in the USA on a different visa type, it may be possible to change your status to F-1 while staying in the USA. In general, students will follow the steps below:

  1. Apply to be an international student: complete the Foothill International Student paper application and submit all required documents. Include a copy of your current visa and write on the application “I want to change my status to F-1.”
  2. Upon admission, Foothill will issue you a “Change of Status” I-20, plus a letter you must submit to USCIS with your Change of Status Application.
  3. Pay the SEVIS Fee (I-901 Fee) of $200 online at
  4. Download and complete an I-539 Form (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status). The form and instructions are available online at
  5. Mail your completed I-539, filing fee of $370, your I-20, and all other required documents to the address listed on the website.
    1. Send your package via a tracking service such as Federal Express.
    2. Your package must be received and entered in the USCIS system prior to the start date on your I-20.
  6. Keep any notices you receive from USCIS. Send us a copy of your receipt notice showing your Case Number as soon as possible.
  7. After you receive your Approval Notice, meet with the Foothill College International Student Immigration Advisor. Contact us to make an appointment.

We highly recommend you consult with an immigration attorney about changing your status to F-1.

  • Certain visa types cannot change status in the USA (Visa Waiver Program, others)
  • Certain visa types cannot enroll in classes until you have been approved for F-1 status (B-1, B-2, others)
  • Detailed information about changing your status (and restrictions on certain visa types) is on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website:
  • Foothill cannot guarantee that any Change of Status application will be successful

Tuition Notice: Upon approval of F-1 visa status, your residency status changes to non-immigrant and you will be charged the higher non-resident tuition fee per unit, even if you were previously considered a resident. You will also be charged a quarterly fee for mandatory international student health insurance upon approval of F-1 visa status.

DISCLAIMER: This information is not a substitute for advice from an immigration attorney or USCIS.




View Our eBrochure

ph default text

Questions?We're Here to Help!

International Student Programs Office


Administration Building 1900 Room 1933