A Change of Status is an application mailed to USCIS requesting a change of immigration status. Change of Status applications can take approximately six months or longer to be approved. Students should discuss with an International Student Advisor or immigration attorney about when to apply.

For more information, visit USCIS's Change My Nonimmigrant Status webpage.  


Students who were previously in J status and subject to the 212e home residency requirement are not eligible for a change of status from within the U.S. Students who have fulfilled the 212e home residency requirement are eligible for a change of status from within the U.S.

Applicants must have a valid immigration status at the time of filing a change of status application. ISSO recommends consulting with a qualified and competent immigration attorney regarding maintaining one's immigration status while the change of status application is pending.

Application Process

Request a Change of Status I-20 or DS-2019

Students applying for a Change of Status to F-1 or J-1 student status will need to request a new I-20 or DS-2019 from ISSO. Students are advised to meet with an International Student Advisor prior to requesting a new I-20 or DS-2019. To request the new I-20 or DS-2019, students can submit the Change of Status e-form in Cystart, found under the Student Services tab. Please allow ISSO 10 working days to issue the immigration document. 

Change of Status Application Review

ISSO does not advise on Change of Status applications. We highly recommend working with a reliable and reputable immigration attorney on any Change of Status application. Currently enrolled students at Iowa State University can first consult with Student Legal Services regarding the Change of Status application procedures. 

USCIS Application Forms

Find application forms, instructions, and additional resources on the USCIS I-539 webpage

Submit Application to USCIS

Online Submission: Many Change of Status applications can now be completed online. Please see the USCIS Check Your Eligibility to File Form I-539 Online webpage for more information.

Paper Application: If you are not able to file online, please see the USCIS I-539 webpage for the most recent version of the paper application form as well as the USCIS I-539 Filing Address webpage for information on where to mail the application. 

Change of Status Application Materials

The following list is as an example of likely documents you need to include, but it may not be exhaustive. ISSO recommends working with a qualified immigration attorney if you have any questions about filing your Change of Status application.

  • Personal check or money order for $370 made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • 3 months of financial documentation to cover tuition, fees, and living expenses
  • Copy of visa page and passport
  • I-94 record (located at www.cbp.gov/i94)
  • SEVIS fee payment receipt (if changing to F-1 or J-1)
  • Proof of eligibility to change status, such as:
    • Immigration document for requested status, such as I-20 or DS-2019
    • Admission letter
    • Marriage certificate or birth certificate
    • Translation of marriage certificate or birth certificate, if not in English
  • Proof of maintenance of current status, such as: 
    • Copies of all previously issued I-20s (F-1) or DS-2019s (J-1) for current status
    • Enrollment certificate
    • Transcripts
    • Copy of EAD and employment documentation
  • Copy of principal's immigration documents, if changing to dependent status, such as:
    • I-20, DS-2019, etc. 
    • Visa page and passport
    • I-94 record
    • EAD card and employment documentation, if applicable
  • Any supplementary documentation relevant to Change of Status request
  • Application forms for paper applications mailed to USCIS:
    • Completed Form I-539
    • Completed Form I-539A
    • Completed G-1145
    • Personal check or money order for $370 made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Pending Application

USCIS Processing Timeline

It can take USCIS six months or longer, depending on the USCIS service center location that is processing the application. Review the estimated processing times for each service center here.

Premium Processing

A request for premium processing with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guarantees adjudication of a USCIS application within a set time frame. USCIS has expanded premium processing to include Change of Status. Read in more detail on Premium Processing with USCIS Applications.

ISSO Process

Please provide ISSO a copy of the I-797 receipt notice and approval or denial notice, once received. You can upload these documents in Cystart's "Immigration Document Upload" e-form.

Disclaimer: This Frequently Asked Questions is intended for general information and guidance. As this information can quickly become outdated or may not apply to your situation, please consult with an International Student Advisor in the International Students and Scholars Office regarding your individual questions.