Immigration News: Tourist Visa to Student Visa


United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced a policy change that affects anyone visiting the United States who wishes to study in the United States under the F-1 student visa. It’s an exciting policy that will help international students stay in the United States with far less paperwork and hassle in their visa application process.

B-1/B-2 Status to F-1 Status

Many hopeful international students enter the United States as visitors from their home country under the B 1/B 2 visa category (tourist visas) with the plan to become a full-time student in an academic program at a university or other academic institution in the U.S., and this change to international student status just became a much easier process.

If you know anything about the process to change your visa status, you know it can be quite a tricky and cumbersome endeavor, one that often requires you to depart the United States to account for a gap in status or fie multiple extensions on your change of status (COS). Well, that’s no longer the case.

Applicants for Change of Status to F-1 Student No Longer Need to Submit Subsequent Applications for Gap Period

This announcement means you no longer have to file those additional extension applications if your current visa status’s expiration date occurs prior to your course of study as an international student in the U.S., so long as you file your application to change to F-1 visa status before your tourist or other visa status reaches its expiration date.

Incoming international students must remember that timelines when filing their application for a student visa is of the utmost importance, so they may be eligible to remain in the U.S. without having to depart the United States upon their previous visa’s expiration date to account for the gap period with time in another or their home country.

Important Information on F-1 Eligibility

This change in immigration filing and policy does not mean international students may be eligible to remain in the U.S. and attend their academic program if they fail to comply with the stipulations on the F-1 visa.

If United States Citizen and Immigration Services approves an application more than 30 days before the student’s academic program start date, the student must ensure they do not violate their F-1 status during that time with violations such as engaging in employment, including on-campus employment, more than 30 days before the program start date as listed on their Form I-20.

If you have questions about your visa status or need help filing an application or form, so you may engage in an academic program in the U.S., or if you are in any kind of visa application process, we’d love to advise you on that. Also, if you have a pathway to residency or pathway to work visa, give us a call. We’d love to help you complete the process.