Change to F1/J1 Status

Changing your Immigration Status

When you are admitted to Cornell, you may already be in the US in another visa status, such as H1B. To attend a degree program, you will need to change to F1 or J1 student status. There are two ways to change your visa status.

1. Travel out of the US to change status

One way is to travel out of the US, apply at a US consulate for the new type of visa stamp and then re-enter the US in the new visa classification. NOTE: Since Canadians do not need visa stamps, a Canadian would simply have to make a new entry in to the US with the new immigration documents.

2. Apply for a change of status within the US

The second way to change visa status is to send an applcation to a USCIS (US citizenship and immigration services) service center while remaining within the US. If you change your visa status this way, the next time you travel out of the US, you would still need to go to a US consulate, apply for and obtain the visa stamp appropriate to your new visa classification. Additionally, you can NOT apply while remaining in the US if either:

  1. you are (or were) a J visa holder who is subject to the two year home residence requirement, or
  2. your last entry into the US was through the visa waiver program (ESTA).

If you are subject to this two year rule or you came in to the US using the visa waiver (ESTA), you must travel out of the US to change your status or get a waiver of the two year home residence requirement. Come to the ISSO to discuss the details with an advisor.

Specific status changes

Below is a list of the different status changes you might be seeking. Click on each item to get more information and application procedures.

Requesting I-20 or DS-2019 to change status