There are two different ways an individual can change immigration status. An application for a change of status can be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) while you remain in the U.S. or you can travel back home or outside the U.S. to apply for a new visa at a U.S. Consulate.
A change of status application usually takes between 2 and 4 months to be processed by USCIS. After you are approved for the change of status, the next time you travel out of the U.S., you will have to go to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy to apply for the F-2 visa stamp in order to re-enter the U.S. in F-2 status.
ELIGIBILITY FOR A CHANGE OF STATUS:
To be eligible for a change of status to F-2, you must be the spouse or child (under the age of 21) of an F-1 student at Drew University and have received a dependent Form I-20 from the ISSS office at Drew. You must also have a valid non-immigrant status at the time that you apply to USCIS.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CHANGE OF STATUS APPLICATION:
- Fee (currently $290): check or money order made payable to USCIS; write your I-94 number, name (if not already printed on your check), and the type of application you are requesting on the face of your check or money order.
- A letter from you requesting the change of status and explaining your circumstances and future plans for when you return to your home country.
- Copy of Form I-20 for a dependent
- Completed Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (this form may be submitted by mail to USCIS or electronically through the ELIS system).
Photocopies of your immigration documents:
- Biodata page of passport
- Current F-1 visa stamp
- I-94 Record
- Current Form I-20
- EAD card (If you are currently on OPT)
- Copy of marriage certificate (USCIS guidance on translation of documents to English)
You should have a photocopy of your entire application and supporting documents for your records before sending them to the USCIS.
When you receive a response from USCIS, please report the outcome to International Student and Scholar Services. Send or bring a photocopy of your Form I-20, I-797 Approval Notice and your new I-94 card to ISSS in Brothers College, Room 119.
APPLICATION SHOULD BE MAILED TO:
Mail your completed application to the Dallas Lockbox. You should use a reliable express mail/courier service. For express courier deliveries (Fed Ex or UPS) use the following address:
USCIS ATTN: I-539
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067
For regular U.S. Mail (certified) use the following address:
P.O. Box 660166 Dallas, TX 75266
STATUS WHILE APPLICATION IS PENDING:
As long as the application for a change from F-1 to F-2 is filed while you are maintaining status, you are allowed to remain in the U.S. while the application is pending with USCIS.