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BizMatters, Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 1132
Experience:  JD -NYS Bar
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Can I change from a B1/B2 visa to F1 without leaving the U

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Can I change from a B1/B2 visa to F1 without leaving the US?



Let me explain the visa process a little: The visa is issued to give you permission to seek entry into the U.S. When you enter using the visa, the ICE issues an I-94, which is stamped or notated with your status which should match the visa type,and the number of days stay in the U.S. That I-94 is what determines your status and when that status expires. It is not the visa expiry. In fact a person can be legally in the us with an expired visa, as long as the I-94 is not expired. The reverse is also true, if the I-94 is expired, you have to leave even if the B1 visa is still valid, else you would be in an overstay status, and exposed to risk of penalties or bars to re-entering the U.S.


You can change status to any other status while in the U.S. provided your change of status, in this case to F-1 Visa, was submitted prior to the expiry of your B1 I-94.


If you apply for change of status to F-1, and get the new I-94's, you will not have to depart the country. On your next trip out of the U.S. you can get the F1 Visa/stamp on re-entering the U.S.


There is a possibility that you will not get the I-94's. This is because you can not legally enter the U.S. on a B-1/2 visa with the intention of attending school. If the USCIS in adjudicating your application, determines you violated the intention of the visa, then they are likely to not issue the I-94, and you will have to depart to your home country to get the visa and re-enter in status.



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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I didn't have time to apply for a F1 visa before coming here because originally, I wasn't going to attend the school which gave me an offer. Coming to school here was a pretty sudden decision(2 days before entering the U.S.). But when I entered the U.S., I did have the intention of attending school here, although it wasn't definite yet because I wanted to check out the school before making my final decision.

Could I argue that: I enter the U.S. for a visit originally, and THEN got an offer from a school while I'm here and deided to study here? Will that be okay? How can I make the INS believe in me?

My I-94 doesn't expire until Feb 07,2010, though.



thank you for getting back to me.


When you apply for the F-1 change of status, you will not have an interview and will not be telling them anything other than the documents you send them and the forms you fill out.


This only becomes an issue when and if the USCIS does not provide the I-94 and you have to depart the country. For this reason, I recommend that you use a third party to complete your change of status. I can recommend some from which you can choose if you like.


If you do have to leave the country and end up talking to someone in an interview, then you need to be truthfull and show documents. You do not have to tell them you intended to go to school while on the B1, but that you were just checking out the school. (they will have already assumed intention).



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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
My school is trying to change my status to F1 for me. Does my school count as a "3rd party" you were talking about? If not, please recommend some. (But I'm in California)

But it seems like my school has violated the law already by enrolling someone still on B1. (Right?)

A friend of mine suggest that I ask the school to change my status to "part-time student" for now (while I'm still on B1), but still continue taking full-time classes (although I'm not sure if the school is willing to do this). And after I get my F1, I can switch back to "full time student" on the record. What do you think of this approach?

Yes, the school counts as a third party.


The school has not violated the law. The violation is your "intention to enter the u.s. for purposes of attending school". The school has put you in the position of having that exposure. The risk is actually low that this will be an issue. BUT you need to be aware of it.


I do not like the approach because you need to be full time enrolled, and you are asking the school to do something marginal. It would be a lie, right?

BizMatters and 2 other Immigration Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for your answer. It surely has cleared up a lot of my doubts.

A separate issue here: My bf is British and would like to stay with me in California during my studies here. (My studies will take 3 years at least) Are there any easier ways that he could stay here? (Other than marriage)I guess you cannot get a "spouse visa" by being a bf of a foreign student here....

How hard/easy is it to get a work permit here? He's a linguist (speaking English, German, Chinese, French, Japanese); he can teach languages and is a professional translator/interpreter. He's thinking of doing court interpreting in CA. But he wasn't educated here and doesn't have qualificiations or certificates from here.

Do you have to be employeed by a company to get a work permit? Can you get a work permit just by working part-time or self-employed here?



Right now the best that your boyfriend can do is to come to the U.S. on visa waiver several times a year, or get a B1 visa, and come here back and forth for two or three trips a year. A visitor visa can allow him to remain here for up to six months,which can be extended while in country as long as his total stay does not exceed 1 year.


If he has a BS degree or higher or equivalent, he may be able to get accepted by an employer who will sponsor him in a work visa of some type. Depending on his degree he may be eligible for H-1B or O visa (masters or PHD)


He can also explore cultural exchange programs.


The H-1B may be oversubscribed, but if he works for a research organizatgion that is non-profit, he can still get an HN-1B visa.


He has to have a job offer to get a work visa.


With language skills he may be eligible for the seasonal work visas, but those are oversubscribed right now as well.


His best bet for an employment based visa is to try to find an employer now, and have the employer sponsor him this next April when the H-1B program will be opened up again.


Of course he can marry you in the Uk or your own country, and then you can bring him her as a family member of a student.

BizMatters and 2 other Immigration Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi, the director responsible for visa issues in my school said that she will tell the CIS that she has a "late admittance" and see if she could get an F1 for me. Do you think her approach will work?

I checked on the Department of State website and it says, "If you are going to the U.S. primarily for tourism, but want to take a short course of study of less than 18 hours per week, you may be able to do so on a visitor visa."

Although I am enrolled as a fulltime student, the total class hours I have right now is only 16 hours per week. In this case, will my B2 visa be okay?

Also, my I-94 does not expire until Feb, 2010; you said I could change my status to F1 before my I-94 expires. What is the likelihood of me successfully changing to F1 from here?

Even if I have to go back to my own country, do I have to drop my classes now and wait for the next semester? Or can I continue my classes after obtaining F1 (I don't know how long it takes for F1 to be issued, but assuming it's within a couple of weeks)?

Will it be okay for me to just live with my B2 now, and then go back to my own country and get an F1 during the winter break, and then come back here with the F1?