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Changing Status to F-1 in the U.S.

If you are already in the US in another nonimmigrant status, you may be allowed to apply for a change of status to F-1. A nonimmigrant must be maintaining valid nonimmigrant status in order to apply for a change of status. Prospective students who are already in the US and wish to change their status to F-1 need to first consult with the Center for Global Health at MUSC, as the change of status process can be lengthy and complex. Please note that not all nonimmigrants in the US will be eligible to apply for a change of status to F-1.

After you have been accepted into an MUSC program, you must go through the F-1 sponsorship application process with CGH. Once this process is complete, CGH will issue a form I-20. You will then need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. You can pay the SEVIS fee by credit card online by going to Print a receipt of payment after you have completed your I-901 payment on You will need to submit proof of payment of the I-901 SEVIS fee along with your I-539 application. Visit I-901 SEVIS Fee Frequently Asked Questions for answers to frequently asked questions regarding the SEVIS fee.

After you have paid the SEVIS I-901 fee, you will need to file form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Form I-539 and instructions can be found at: I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

Some nonimmigrants may be able to begin their studies while their applications for change of status are pending with USCIS. However, those nonimmigrants currently in B-1, B-2, F-2 or M-2 status cannot begin their studies prior to approval of their change of status.