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Change of Status to F-1 or J-1

Just got accepted to NYU? Congratulations! If you are presently in the United States in a nonimmigrant status (such as H-4, A-1, or L-2 status), you may be able to study in your current status. Find out if you can study at NYU under your current status.

You may, however, want or need to change to F-1 or J-1 student status in order to pursue your degree at NYU. If you do decide you want to change your status, follow these steps.


Step 1

Decide how you will change to F-1 or J-1 student status. There are two ways to obtain F-1 or J-1 student status:

Travel outside of the U.S., get an F-1 or J-1 visa, and re-enter using the new visa. This option would allow you to immediately have F-1 or J-1 status when you re-enter the U.S. It also gives you the visa you will need for any future entry to the U.S.

Submit a change of status application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the U.S. and do not travel outside of the U.S. again until your change of status application has been approved. This option can take around three months to be approved.

Each way has its own advantages and disadvantages; depending on your situation, we may recommend one way over the other as the better option. Please speak to us regarding your individual situation if you’re unsure which option is better for you.


To change your status by traveling outside of the U.S. follow the steps listed to get an F-1 or J-1 visa.


To change your status by remaining in the U.S. follow these steps:

Step 1: Receive your admission letter from NYU.

To be eligible for NYU sponsorship of F-1 or J-1 student status, you need to be accepted to a full-time academic program at NYU and have an official admission notice from NYU along with an NYU University ID number. If you are not yet admitted to NYU and have questions about how to apply, please visit NYU Admissions.


Step 2: Activate your NYU NetID and NYU Email.

  • If you don’t already know your NetID, learn your NYU NetID.
  • If you already know your NetID, go to start.nyu.edu to activate it.
  • Enter your NetID and click the “Start!” button.

Step 3: Decide if you will apply for F-1 or J-1 status.

In order to study at NYU, you will need to obtain a student status for the U.S. NYU sponsors international students for either F-1 or J-1 student status. Read about your options below and decide which status works best for you.

F-1 status is the most common type of status used to study in the United States. F-1 status is for full-time academic and language students who are pursuing a degree or certificate. If you decide on F-1 status, you will need to apply for an I-20.

If you plan to bring your spouse with you, he or she will need to obtain a F-2 dependent I-20 from NYU. F-2 dependents may not work in the U.S. and may not enroll in school.

In order to be a J-1 student at NYU, at least half of your funding must come from a source other than personal or family funds. If you decide on J-1 status, you will need to apply for a DS-2019.

If you plan to bring your spouse with you, he or she will need to get a J-2 dependent DS-2019 from NYU. Please note that J-2 dependents may apply for work permission and may study in the U.S.


Step 4: Complete your I-20 or DS-2019 Application

The I-20/DS-2019 Application is interactive and fillable online.

  • Complete it online, print it, sign it, then scan it.

Application Checklist:

  • A signed copy of your completed I-20/DS-2019 Application
  • A copy of your NYU admission letter (an electronic version is fine)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport
  • Financial documents that prove you can pay for the estimated expenses at NYU. To see the amount of money you will need to show for one year of your academic program visit this estimated expenses page. You must be able to pay for your tuition, fees, health insurance, and living expenses while at NYU.
  • You need to show proof that you can pay for the first year’s expenses.
    If your academic program is for less than a year, then provide proof that you can pay for all expenses for the duration of your program.
  • The kinds of financial documentation we accept at the OGS include:
    • Personal funds: a bank statement dated within the last six months.
    • A personal loan: a pre-approval letter confirming amount for which the loan is approved. A loan application is not sufficient.
    • An individual sponsor: the OGS Affidavit of Support plus a bank statement and/or letter from employer confirming annual salary and sponsor's position. (The sponsor's annual salary should be at least 3 times the amount of money they are providing to the student).
    • If you will be staying somewhere where you will receive free room and board: you need to provide a letter from who you are staying with indicating the amount of support they will provide for you and the duration of time you will stay with them. The value of room and board is estimated to be $10,000 per year.
    • An organizational sponsor: a copy of an award letter from a sponsoring organization specifying the amount of the award, its duration, and the terms of renewal, or
      NYU funding: a copy of an NYU award letter for an NYU scholarship, assistantship, or fellowship.
  • For F-1 transfer students, your completed F-1 Transfer Form.
Click here to get your application

Click this link to get your application.


Step 5: Send your complete application to newinternationalstudents@nyu.edu in one file as a PDF.

  • In the subject line, type “I-20 Application” or “DS-2019 Application” (whichever you are applying for) and include your full name and NYU University ID number.
  • Email files must not exceed 10MB and should not be scanned over 300 dpi.
  • Keep a photocopy of your I-20/DS-2019 Application and all attached documents for your records. Keep a set of original financial documents to bring to your visa interview.

Step 6: Receive your I-20/DS-2019.

Once we receive your application we will start working on your I-20 or DS-2019. We’ll email you if your application is missing anything so make sure to check your NYU email while you’re waiting for your document.

Approximately 2 weeks after submitting a complete application, you will receive your I-20 or DS-2019. Be sure to read all of the material we send you, as we will be sending you other important information you need to know!

You can also check the status of your application.


Step 7: Pay the SEVIS Fee.

Once you’ve received your I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to pay a SEVIS Fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In order to pay, complete the Form I-901 along with the payment via mail or the Internet (dependents in F-2 or J-2 status are not required to pay the fee).The SEVIS fee must be paid at least 3 business days prior to a visa interview or the filing of the change of status application in the U.S. Learn more about the SEVIS fee.


Step 8: Prepare and submit your change of status application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


Step 9: Apply for and receive an F-1 or J-1 Student Visa the next time you leave the U.S.

Please note that applying for a change of status in the U.S. leads only to a change in your immigration status. You will not obtain a new entry visa by this method. If you receive a change of status, you must still obtain a new visa the next time you travel outside of the United States, if you wish to re-enter as an F-1 or J-1 student. Remember, getting approval for a change to F-1 or J-1 status is not a guarantee that you will get an F-1 or J-1 visa when you apply at an embassy or consulate outside of the U.S.

Use your I-20 or DS-2019 issued by NYU to apply for your visa. Review these NAFSA tips on applying for a student visa, then apply for a student visa from a United States consulate in your country of citizenship or country of permanent residence. The application process includes a short interview in English, the application form DS-156 or I-60 and the application fee.


Step 10: Learn More About Arriving at NYU.

You can now begin your studies with your I-20 or DS-2019. If you plan to travel outside of the U.S. before you begin your program at NYU you can re-enter the U.S. with your new transfer I-20 from NYU

Read this Arrival Checklist to find out what you will need to do to successfully begin your program at NYU as an international student.


Important Restrictions

If you are currently in the U.S. in B-1 or B-1 status there is higher risk that your change of status to F-1 or J-1 application will not be approved. Please review this checklist carefully, paying special attention to the sample letter attached to the checklist.

If any of these things apply to you, you can only change your status by using the travel option; you cannot apply for a change of status within the U.S.:

  • You are currently in the U.S. under the "visa waiver" program
  • You are currently in the U.S. as a J-1 exchange visitor or a J-2 dependent and are subject to the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement (Section 212e of the Immigration and Nationality Act)
  • You are currently in the U.S., but are in violation of your current immigration status (e.g., because your I-94 expired or you have remained beyond your authorized period of stay in the U.S.)

You should contact the OGS in the following circumstances:

  • If you need to leave the U.S. after you submit your application to USCIS for a change of status
  • If USCIS contacts you with a request for more information concerning your application for a change of status
  • If USCIS does not respond to your application within 3 months
  • If your I-94 or other immigration documents have expired
  • If you are in H-1B status but are no longer working for your H-1B sponsor
  • If you believe you are out of status for any other reason
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