If you are currently in the United States in a non-immigrant 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.
Follow these steps if you need to change to F-1 or J-1 student status in order to pursue your degree at NYU:
The information contained on this page is for general information purposes only. Due to frequent government updates, NYU OGS may make additions, deletions, or modifications to the contents on this page at any time without prior notice.
Please note, these directions are meant to help you in completing your application but should not be considered legal advice. The US Department of State ultimately provides the decision on your visa application, and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services ultimately provides the decision on your change of status application.
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 US 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 US.
Travel outside of the US, get an F-1 or J-1 visa, and reenter using the new visa. This option would allow you to immediately have F-1 or J-1 status when you reenter the US. It also gives you the visa you will need for any future entry to the US.
For some students, the risks of changing status while remaining in the US will outweigh any potential benefits; but for others, remaining in the US will be the better choice in seeking to change to F-1 status. See “Risks in Seeking to Change Status while Remaining in the US” below for more on this.
Submit a change of status application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the US, and do not travel outside of the US again until your change of status application has been approved. This option can take 12 months or more to be approved. Check the US government processing times. [You must select "I-539" for form type. For Field Office or Service Center, most of our students' applications go to the Vermont Service Center.]
In order for this option to work for you, you must not only be in status and eligible for F-1 status at the time you apply, you must also be able to maintain your current status for the time the application is pending and remain eligible for F-1 status at the time the application would be approved.
If a change of status application is not approved before the requested start date on the Form I-20, we will need to defer the start date to avoid your SEVIS record being cancelled. If the deferred start date is more than 30 days after the expiration of your current nonimmigrant status, you may have to separately apply to extend your current status before it expires; this is known as a "bridge" extension. Failure to do this can result in denial of your change of status request, and can also have further, more serious, and possibly permanent immigration consequences for you.
We recommend for you to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer with questions about procedures and how to maintain your current status (including the need to file a bridge extension) while your change of status application is pending. A helpful place to start is by contacting the NYU Immigrant Defense Initiative for an initial screening. The Immigrant Defense Initiative provides free consultations to members of the NYU community. Alternatively, you may choose to schedule a consultation with the private firms on a list we maintain at Global Services. You can contact us if you’d like us to send you our list.
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, 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.
Fill out the I-20/DS-2019 Application for Newly Admitted Students online. To access the application you will need to have your NYU ID number. This is the number you received from NYU that starts with "N" and is followed by 8 numbers, for example, N12345678. You will also need your NYUHome/email address password. Review the application checklist information to ensure you have all you need to successfully complete the online application.
In order to complete your application, you will need to have:
*You must be logged into your NYU email account in order to access the application. If you're logged into your NYU account and you still have problems, please:
Keep a photocopy of all documents for your records.
Approximately 2 weeks after submitting a complete application, you will receive your I-20 or DS-2019.
Once you’ve received your I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to pay a SEVIS fee. 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 US.
Please note that applying for a change of status in the US 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 reenter the U.S. as an F-1 or J-1 student. 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 US.
You can now begin your studies with your I-20 or DS-2019. If you plan to travel outside of the US before you begin your program at NYU you can re-enter the US with your new transfer I-20 from NYU.
Read this Arrival Checklist to find out what you will need to do to begin your program at NYU as an international student.
If you are currently in the US in B-1 or B-1 status there is higher risk that your change of status application may NOT be approved. Please review this Change of Status Application Checklist carefully, paying special attention to the sample letter attached.
If any of the following apply to you, you cannot apply for a change of status within the US:
Recently, US policy changed regarding failure to continually maintain legal immigration status. This change could have major consequences if your change of status request is denied and you failed to maintain your current legal status throughout the change process. Please consult with an OGS advisor and a qualified immigration attorney regarding the risks associated with changing status while remaining in the US.