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Changing Status to an F-1 visa:

If you will lose your dependent status prior to your graduation date, you will need to change your status to an acceptable student visa prior to losing your current status. Changing status to an F-1 visa can be accomplished by leaving the United States and applying for an F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you decide on this option, please read more about applying for an F-1 student visa for additional information on obtaining your visa.

If travel outside the U.S. is not feasible for you, it is also possible to apply for a change of status while you remain in the country. The ISSS staff can assist you in the filing of the change of status or you can use an immigration attorney.  Here is the process:

  • You must submit financial documents demonstrating your ability to cover the cost of attendance (tuition, fees, living expenses, etc.);
  • ISSS will create your I-20 form after confirming your enrollment at JMU;
  • You will pay the SEVIS Fee;
  • You will complete the Change of Status application (Form I-539) and pay the required filing fee;
  • All of these documents will be submitted to USCIS; you may continue to study while the application is pending, but you may NOT be employed on campus until the F-1 is approved.

A & G visa holders, NOTE: If you are in A or G status and the principal visa holder will be leaving the country prior to your graduation, you will need to file a Form I-566 with the embassy or international organization in which your parent or spouse is employed. That organization will complete this document and notify the U.S. State Department that you are eligible for a change of status. This document will be needed prior to submission of the change of status paperwork.