International Student Services

Welcome to FXUA

The International Student Services (ISS) Office warmly welcomes you to Fairfax University of America. FXUA hosts students from over 100 countries across the globe. Like you, all of these individuals have a dream to study in the United States. As a result, many services are offered to our international students to assist in the transition from their home countries to life in the United States. On this website you will find information about US Immigration regulations as they relate to international students. You will also find FXUA policies and procedures, as well as additional helpful information for international students.

International Student Services (ISS) Resources

ISS Applications

iss-application

FAQ

Contact ISS

If you have any questions, please contact our international student advisor at:

703-272-7964 ext. 424

ISS Applications

Existing Applications

Check the status of existing application and/or to make changes
Check Application Status

New Applications

To start a new application, click on the links below. Once on the login page, you MUST log in with “FXUA Student Portal username and password”.

  • I-20 Shipping Method

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • STEM OPT Extension
  • OPT Employment Reporting/ Update
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Request Authorization for Reduced Course load (RCL)
  • Travel Authorization Request
  • F-1 Transfer Out Request
  • I-20 Re-print Request Form
  • Program Extension Request Form
  • Leave of Absence Request

FAQS

My passport is about to expire. What should I do?

It is important to keep a passport that is valid for at least 6 months. If your passport will expire within the next 6 months, contact your embassy to renew it immediately.

How do I maintain my F-1 Visa?

Please visit maintaining your F1 Visa Status page for details.

What is a status letter ?

A status letter states a student’s current status and program of study at FXUA. The letter may be issued by the Registrar Department.

How do I transfer to another school?

Current and Initial students must inform the ISS Office of their intent to transfer at least 15 days before the new semester start date at FXUA, either by email or in-person. If a student intends to transfer once classes are in session, the student’s SEVIS record will be ‘Terminated’ before the transfer is issued. In this case, the student will need to verify with the other institution that they will still accept the terminated record. Please note that FXUA does not grant any active transfers when school is officially in sessionIt is the student’s responsibility to make sure they are enrolled in classes.

My friend wants to transfer into FXUA from another U.S. school. What should I tell him/her?

Please direct your friend to FXUA’s Transfer Student page.

NOTE: F-1 students who transfer from one school to another in the United States must complete the transfer process within 15 days of the start date on the I-20. They must have their F-1 record released to the new school within 60 days of completing a degree or Optional Practical Training. F-1 students who have not maintained their status at the previous school are not eligible for an immigration transfer.

How do I extend my stay in FXUA?

Students who are unable to complete their program by the end date indicated on the I-20 must have a compelling academic or medical reason to apply for an extension of stay. Please submit the Program Extension Form to begin the extension of stay process at least 30 days before your I-20 expires.

What is the SEVIS fee?

SEVIS fee will be collected by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from those individuals seeking an F-1 Visa. The purpose of this fee is to cover the costs for the continued operation of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This fee will apply to the following individuals:

  • Those who will travel to the U.S. for initial attendance as an F or J nonimmigrant (even if the individual is visa-exempt, e.g. Canadians)
  • Those already in the United States that will apply for a change of status to F or J classification
  • Current J-1 non-immigrants who will apply for a J-1 change of category on or after 9/1/2004

You can find more information on SEVIS at the following site: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.html

How do I apply for a driver’s license?

In most cases to obtain a driver’s license in Virginia you will need the following documents:

  • A valid Form I-20 from FXUA
  • A valid Passport
  • I-94 Record
  • Student status letter from the Registrar’s Office
  • Bank statement and/or an official transcript from FXUA

To receive a student status letter, please make a request with the Registrar’s Office.
For more information on obtaining a Virginia Driver License, please visit www.dmvnow.com.
Please click here to access the Permit Practice Test Database.

I want to go back to my country during the break. What should I do?

Complete the travel authorization request via the ISS portal by clicking here.

What documents to I need to re-enter the U.S.?

Hand-carry the following documents (do not check them with your luggage):

  1. Your valid passport
  2. Travel endorsed I-20
  3. I-901 SEVIS fee receipt (you can print out your payment history from https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901)
  4. Evidence of financial resources
  5. Evidence of your student status (such as tuition receipts, transcript, or an acceptance letter)

You may not be asked for all of these documents, but it is advised that you have them with you. It is a good idea to have your documents in a folder or some other organizer to present at the port of entry.

What should I pay attention to upon re-entry to the U.S.?

When being admitted to the United States, IMPORTANT: Be sure you spell your name the same way it appears on your passport and I-20. Inform the Customs and Border Patrol Officer at the port of entry as soon as possible that you are an initial or returning F-1 student.

I am a new student. What do I need to do when I arrive in the United States for the first time?

You must report to the FXUA Admissions Department upon your initial entry (the first time you arrive to start school) so that you can check-in and enroll in courses. If you fail to report to FXUA you will jeopardize your F-1 status and risk immigration problems. It is extremely important for new students to attend the New Student Orientation. If, for any reason you are not able to attend the New Student Orientation, you must report to FXUA before the first day of classes. Maintain contact with the International Student Services Office (ISSO) at FXUA throughout your stay to ensure that your I-20 is updated and that you are in good status.

I have a new U.S. sponsor. Where do I report this information?

If there are any changes in your financial status or sponsorship information (changing your sponsor, receiving financial aid or a scholarship), you must report to the ISSO immediately within 10 days of this change.

My visa is expiring. What should I do?

The visa located in your passport allows you to enter the United States. It does not determine your length of stay here; your I-20 and the I-94 record indicate the length of your stay. A student visa can only be obtained at a U.S. Embassy or consulate outside of the United States. If your visa expires and you maintain your F-1 status, there is no need to travel outside of the U.S. for the sole purpose of renewing your visa.

I would like to bring a family member as a dependent to the U.S. What do I need to do?

To bring a family member with you, Please click here.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) for F-1 Students

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as employment which is an integral part of the established curriculum including: internship, cooperative education, or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with FXUA. Source: [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)]. CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program and you must have a job offer at the time of the application. CPT employment may not delay completion of the academic program.

  • 3 and 6-credit CPT applications are due by the ‘First Day’ of class. If you completed and submitted your application by the first day of class, the ISSO will continue with the review process and inform you once it has been completed.
  • 1-credit CPT applications are due by the beginning of the ‘4th Week’ of the semester. If you completed and submitted your application by the beginning of the fourth week, the ISSO will continue with the review process and inform you once it has been completed.

CPT is processed and authorized semester by semester. If applications are submitted and incomplete, your CPT application may be denied. Contact your academic department regarding your department’s specific guidelines for CPT applications.

Students must be degree candidates who have been in lawful status for at least one academic year to be eligible for CPT. Each degree program has different requirements that affect eligibility. It is advisable to speak with your Academic Advisor, and Registrar about the options outlined below before meeting with the International Student Services Office.

To be eligible for CPT, you must:

  • Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year (two full consecutive semesters – Fall and Spring).

    – If you are a graduate student and the program requires immediate participation, this requirement is waived.

  • Be in lawful F-1 status
  • Have a job offer
  • Demonstrate that the proposed internship is a requirement for your degree program
  • Not be enrolled in an intensive English language training program
  • The CPT qualified course must be listed in the school’s catalog with the number of credits, course description, and the name of the faculty member teaching the course.
  • Please Note: FXUA currently does not offer any programs in which CPT involvement requires immediate participation.

USCIS regulations do not place an absolute limit on the amount of CPT you may utilize. However, if you engage in one year or more of full-time CPT you will lose your eligibility to engage in Optional Practical Training (OPT).

You may only engage in CPT after your SEVIS record has been updated by an ISS Official and a new SEVIS I-20 has been issued, indicating the approved internship. The endorsement will indicate the precise details of the authorized training, including the name and location of the employer, the specific dates of the training period, and whether it is a full- or part-time position.

You must apply for CPT at least 10 business days prior to the semester start date. If you are interested in applying for CPT, please send an email to to initiate the process. Required documents include:

Official Employer Offer Letter on company letterhead, detailing the following:

  • Student’s name and address
  • Start and end dates of the internship
  • Job title – must say ‘intern’ in the job title
  • How many hours the student will work each week – not to exceed 20 hours/week (Spring and Fall) and 40 hours/week (Summer)
  • A description of duties in sufficient detail to clearly show them as appropriate to meeting the requirements of your academic course
  • Paid or Unpaid – indicate amount per hour, and/or provided benefits
  • Supervisor Information – Name, Job Title, Contact Information
  • Location of the CPT (physical address)

Once receive the completed application and required documents, the International Student Services Office (ISSO) will:

  • Review your application for eligibility
  • If you are eligible, update your SEVIS record
  • Print and give you a new Form I-20 indicating the approved internship. (Note: Keep your I-20 in a secure place. If you have a paid internship, your employer will need to see this authorization (I-20) to put you on the payroll)

Full-Time Curricular Practical Training (CPT) – CPT that exceeds 20 hours per week constitutes full-time CPT. Students who engage in full-time CPT for 12 months or more prior to graduation will not be eligible for OPT.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is defined as a period during which an F-1 student may have the option of training in the United States during their program or after it ends. Practical training can provide valuable work experience by sharpening and adding to the skills students are learning in school.

FXUA offers recommendation for Post-Completion OPT, which may be available to a student after he/she completes their program of study.

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), the student must:

  • Have been in F-1 status for a minimum of one academic year:
    • At FXUA, one academic year means enrollment for consecutive Fall and Spring semesters. Summers are not included
  • Hold a valid F-1 status at the time of the OPT application
  • Intend on working in a position that is directly related to the students’ major field of study
  • Complete their program of study within the next 90 days
    • The application for OPT cannot be submitted more than 90 days before the program completion date, and no later than 60 days after the completion date of their program.

If you have had any violations of your F-1 status, you may be ineligible to apply for OPT. Violations include, but are not limited to: failure to maintain full-time enrollment while you are in the United States (unless you were authorized for a reduced course load); unauthorized withdrawal from classes during your program of study; failure to extend your I-20; participating in unauthorized employment.

Applying for OPT

To apply for OPT, you must complete and submit the application online here.

Once the student has completed/submitted the online application, a new OPT Recommendation I-20 will be issued to the student. The student must submit ‘copies’ of the following documentation to USCIS:

  • A completed (typed) I-765 form
  • An Official Transcript from the FXUA Registrar Office
  • 2 photographs (passport size)
  • $410.00 application fee, made payable to ‘Department of Homeland Security’ (NOTE: please write exactly as shown)
  • Copy of all previous I-20s (all I-20’s must be endorsed by both a DSO, and the student)
  • Copy of your I-94 arrival/departure record
  • Copy of your unexpired passport
  • Copy of your visa pages and any US stamping in your passport
  • Previous EAD card, if applicable

When applying for OPT, the student should select an OPT start date. This date may be in a window of up to 60 days after the completion of your academic program. This 60-day period is consistent with a student’s grace period during which the F-1 status remains valid.

Mailing the OPT Application to USCIS

It is the students’ sole responsibility to make sure that their OPT Application is mailed to USCIS within 30 calendar days of a DSO issuing the OPT Recommendation I-20. For directions on where to mail the application please go to USCIS Phoenix and Dallas Lockbox facilities.

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

You must submit the EAD card by visiting this page.

Reporting Procedures

Once a student has been approved OPT, it is his/her responsibility to properly report employment or non-employment to the International Student Services Office and the Career Center with FXUA.
* Once a student receives work authorization documentation (EAD), the student will need to upload the EAD Card within 10 calendar days here.

It is the student’s responsibility to report the following to the ISSO:

  • Any updates made to your employment, name, address, email, and/or phone number within 10 calendar days (this includes moving out of the United States)
  • Any changes in the student’s immigration status (Ex. H1B, Asylum, etc….)
  • Employment information to ISSO every 6 months (Applicable to STEM OPT Students)

The following will need to be reported to the ISSO and the Career Center within 90 calendar days from the start date listed on the student’s EAD Card.

* Failure to report the aforementioned information may result in ‘Termination’ of a student’s F-1 status.

Beginning Your Employment

Students may NOT begin working before they receive their EAD Card from USCIS. Working before you are authorized to do so constitutes illegal employment and will jeopardize your legal status in the United States

Travelling Outside the United States While on OPT

Traveling Before Your OPT is Granted

Students who have submitted their application for OPT must NOT travel outside of the United States while they are waiting for their EAD Card. Failure to remain within the U.S. while waiting for your EAD Card may result in loss of the students’ F-1 status and cancellation of the OPT application.

Traveling After Your OPT is Granted

Students who have been granted OPT and have their EAD Card may travel outside of the United States. However, the following documents will be needed to re-enter the United States:

  • I-20 form that is signed by the ISS Office for travel (Please see the FXUA Travel Policy)
  • EAD Card
  • A letter from the employer indicating that the student has a job, or a job offer, in the field of study and will return to the company to be employed
  • A valid passport
  • A valid F-1 Visa

After OPT

Upon completion of your OPT, you are granted a 60-day grace period as indicated on your EAD Card. You may not work during this time. You must notify the ISS Office if you plan to leave the U.S. or if you plan to transfer to another program after your OPT. Notification can be made by emailing  or visiting the ISS Office.

Maintaining Your Student Visa Status

It is the student’s responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations which apply to an F1 Visa. At Fairfax University of America (FXUA), we feel responsible for each student’s performance, behavior, and compliance with all school and immigration rules and regulations. Therefore, we want to remind you of your responsibilities as a student visa holder.

Maintain full-time enrollment

As an F1 Visa-holder, you must maintain full-time enrollment and you must make normal progress toward your degree or certificate.

Please note that the definition of “full-time” may differ from school to school; full-time by immigration regulations may be more restrictive than your school’s definition of full-time. As a result, you should refer to the guide below and consult with your academic advisor as well as the International Student Advisor to determine whether or not you are a full-time student.

The rate of normal academic progress is the rate at which the average full-time student in your school or department advances toward a particular degree or certificate completion. Working to finish an “incomplete” course or project does not fall within the definition of making normal academic progress. If you find yourself in this situation, please come to the ISS Office to discuss your options.

Attend your classes

FXUA’s attendance policy requires full-time F1 students to attend at least 75% of all classes in each semester throughout the entire academic year.

Degree program attendance records are checked monthly and warning letters are sent to the students who have failed to maintain at least 75% attendance in each class. Continued attendance failures will result in temporary academic suspension or dismissal. Students that stop attending for more than a full month will be directly reported to USCIS in accordance with USCIS reporting requirements. The “incomplete” (I) letter grade will not be assigned to the classes in which the student failed to maintain 75% attendance. Receiving an incomplete grade is not a legitimate reason for a student to gain an academic extension.  Please see our grading policy for further detail.

Student attendance records in the intensive English as a Second Language program are also evaluated monthly and students are sent warning letters if they fail to attend at least 75% of their classes in a given month. Those who are sent a third warning letter will also receive a Cancellation of Continued Enrollment Notice. Students may be considered “Out of Status” and will be required to see the International Student Advisor to discuss their status. Students who do not report to the school for this meeting will be reported to USCIS for failure to maintain proper attendance. If you are considered “Out of Status” you may not be allowed to:

  • Extend your period of study
  • Take an authorized vacation
  • Transfer to another school

Authorized and annual vacation policies

Academic F1 students are only allowed to take vacation during official school breaks, semester breaks, and during summer terms. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Medical and sick leave

If you are seriously ill and are required to spend some recovery time under a doctor’s or clinic’s supervision, and therefore will not be able to attend classes, you are required to inform the International Student Advisor. You will be required to fill out the Leave of Absence Form and submit the necessary supporting documentation.

Permission to work in the United States

Students should not accept employment of any kind, either on- or off-campus, without written permission from the International Student Advisor and, if necessary, USCIS.  Below are more important facts about employment.

  • F1 students cannot work without prior approval from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • F1 students may accept practical training employment or off-campus part-time employment after having maintained F1 Visa status for at least one academic year (this requires approval from the academic advisor and the DSO).
  • F1 students are allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week on campus as a full-time student.
  • Students must apply for USCIS approval for off-campus employment and Optional Practical Training (OPT) after the academic program has been completed. A DSO must verify eligibility requirements.
  • F1 students may accept on-campus or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) when authorized by the academic advisor and the DSO.

Working without proper authorization is considered by the USCIS as the most serious violation of its regulations. If you refer to your I-20 form or I-94 card, you will see the statement, “Warning: a non-immigrant who accepts unauthorized employment is subject to deportation.” You must consult with an appointed ISS official before you accept any offer of employment or begin working. We will advise you as to whether or not it is possible for you to work and we will assist you with the appropriate procedures.  It is illegal to begin working while waiting for authorization.  Students in F1 status who are authorized to work are permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the academic semesters. Click here for FXUA’s guide to Optional Practical Training (OPT).

F1 student transfer policy

If you plan to transfer from FXUA to another school, different rules may apply depending on your program of study. In general, an F1 student may transfer out only after they: a) have attended one full semester; b) have proved a cumulative attendance of at least 75% of all classes during his/her period of study; and c) have resolved all financial obligations with the school. Students must inform FXUA in writing of their intent to transfer to another school at least 15 days before the new semester start date.

Please note that FXUA does not grant any transfer certificates while school is officially in session. That means you cannot legally transfer after the semester has started.

Transfer Process

  1. Inform the International Student Advisor at FXUA of your intention to transfer at least 15 days before the new semester start date.
  2. Current Students: Submit a completed Institutional Withdrawal Form to the ISS Office.
  3. Complete the Student Exit Survey (current students only).
  4. Obtain a transfer certificate form and acceptance letter from your new school.
  5. Bring the transfer certificate form and acceptance letter to FXUA and have a DSO sign it. After the DSO has signed the form, your data will be electronically released to your new school via the SEVIS system.
  6. Obtain a new SEVIS I-20 Form from your new school.
  7. Follow the instructions and recommendations of your new school’s DSO.

Note that students must complete the transfer process and attend the new school within five (5) months of the semester and/or degree completion in the previous school or the end of the Optional Practical Training (OPT) period. However, the transfer process must be initiated within the first 60 days of the program or OPT end date.

Changing your address

Whenever you change your address, you must provide your new address to FXUA within ten (10) days by completing the students update their information via the FXUA Portal. Our current students can report a change of their address to FXUA online by visiting the student portal. The DSO must report the updates to USCIS via SEVIS within 21 days.

Maintain your passport

Please remember that your passport must be kept valid at all times. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months. Please contact your embassy should you need assistance with renewing your passport, or visit the International Student Services Office.

More on International Student Regulations

It is the student’s responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations that apply to F1 students. If a student fails to follow these procedures, then he/she will be considered “Out of Status” and until the student has his/her F1 status reinstated, he/she may not be allowed to:

  1. Continue to stay and study in the USA;
  2. Extend their period of study;
  3. Travel outside of the USA;
  4. Pursue practical training.

International Students (F1 visa) are required to:

  1. Keep an  un-expired passport that is valid for at least six  (6) months at all times during their stay in the U.S.
  2. Attend the school that they are authorized to attend.
  3. Make  normal  progress  towards  completing  their  program  of study.
  4. Report any change of address to  FXUA  within 10 days of  the change.  If  applicable,  comply  with  Special  Registration Procedures for certain foreign nationals. (For more details please contact FXUA’s International Student Services (ISS) Office).
  5. Maintain full-time enrollment
    • If in an Academic Program: The full-time course load for graduate degree programs is 9 credits per semester and the full-time course load for undergraduate, diploma, and certificate programs is 12 credits per semester. However, during the Summer sessions, the full time course load is lower for graduate and undergraduate studies. The Summer session full course load for graduate degree programs is 3 credits and 6 credits for undergraduate programs. Any student full course load in the summer session.
  6. Obtain a new I-20 for a change in academic or program level of study.
  7. Abide by FXUA’s attendance policy, which requires that all full-time students attend at least 75% of all classes.
  8. Vacation:
    • If  in  an  Academic  Program:  All  degree-seeking  F-1  visa students are allowed to take vacation time off after studying at least one full semester and only during the official school recesses, semester breaks, and summer sessions. However, if the summer session is their first semester at FXUA or in the U.S.A., they must study during the summer session in accordance to the USCIS regulation.
  9. Accept no employment of any kind, either on-campus or off- campus, without written permission from FXUA’s ISS Office and, if necessary, the USCIS.
  10. School Transfer: If a student needs to make a school transfer, they are advised to do so in a timely fashion. It is recommended that students must inform FXUA of their intention to transfer at least 15 days before the start date of the new semester at FXUA.
  11. Obtain an F1 visa extension of stay as needed: If a student requires more time to complete their program than that which is authorized  on  the  FXUA  I-20,  they  must  request  a  program extension through FXUA’s ISS Office.
  12. F1 visa Grace Periods: Upon completion of the program requirements, and/or completion of optional practical training, F1 students must leave the U.S.A. within a 60 day grace period, or change to another immigration status within the time allowed, usually within the first 45 days of the grace period. A student who obtains permission from an International Student Advisor prior to withdrawing from FXUA will have 15 days to depart the US. However, a student who withdraws without prior approval or terminates the course of study has zero (0) days to leave the US. The student must depart the US immediately.
  13. Financial Support: If there are any changes in a student’s financial status and sponsorship information such as a change in sponsor or receipt of scholarship and/or other financial aid, the student must report this change to the International Student Advisor within 10 days of this change.
  14. Complete a timely reinstatement application if the student has become out-of-status. ISS office will make a decision on recommending a student for reinstatement based on the student’s demonstration of intension to continue studying.

For more information about F1 visa rules and regulations for international students, students should consult with the International Student Advisor/DSO in the ISS Office.

F1-Reinstatement

Students holding an F-1 visa are required to maintain legal status at all times by: enrolling on full-time basis; keeping a valid passport at all times while in the United States; avoiding unauthorized employment; and making normal academic progress toward their degree/certificate.

Students who fail to maintain their F-1 status may be able apply for reinstatement of their status with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  FXUA will evaluate the circumstances in which the student fell out of status and only those that are able to prove that the circumstances were beyond the student’s control will be considered for the F1-Reinstatement process.

Students who have been out of status for more than five (5) months will not be eligible for F-1 reinstatement.

Applying for Reinstatement

The International Students Services Office (ISSO) will require the following for all reinstatement applications:

A statement of purpose essay addressing the ISSO staff and explaining why the student should be considered for reinstatement and how the student’s circumstances and intent have changed. The essay should be emailed to . {Subject Line: Reinstatement Application}

This essay should be at least 250 words and be in a clear format.

Please Note: Allow at least 5 business days for processing. Once a decision has been made on behalf of the ISSO, the student will be emailed on how to proceed.

All students are required to schedule, and attend an appointment with the ISSO before a Reinstatement I-20 will be issued.

Required Document

These documents will be reviewed by ISSO and need to be sent to USCIS.

  1. Form I-539: Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status.
    • The phrase “Reinstatement to F-1 status” should be written in Part 2, Item 1. The student should complete the entire form and sign it.
  2. Form I-539 fee, made payable to “US Department of Homeland Security.”
    • Get the most current fee amount from the USCIS website.
  3. Copies of all I-20s previously issued to the student.
  4. A new, original Form I-20, issued for Reinstatement (If approved, this will be issued by the ISSO at the time of appointment)
  5. A letter from the student explaining the situation and requesting reinstatement.
    • This letter should establish that the violation resulted from circumstances beyond the student’s control.
  6. A letter from the ISS Office recommending reinstatement and providing corroboration of the situation.
    • This is required only when the violation of status resulted from an error on the part of the ISS Office.
  7. Copy of the new financial support documents in order to support the issuance of a new I-20 for reinstatement.
  8. Original Form I-94 Record.
  9. Copy of identity pages from the student’s passport and visa.
  10. Any other documentation that might help establish the nature of the violation; to document that the violation occurred less than 5 months ago, and that the student is pursuing or intending to pursue a full course of study.
  11. Transcripts from all the schools the student has attended in the United States.
  12. If you have any dependents in the United States, you must also include them in the application since a violation of your F-1 status affects your dependent family members as well.

Change of Status to F-1

To request a change of status to F-1 while inside the US, you may choose to schedule an appointment with the International Student Services Office (ISSO) to review your case. You must be “in status” at the time you request the change to F1.

Before you schedule an appointment and/or request a Change of Status I-20, please send the following to for validation: If you choose to apply for a Change of Status with USCIS on your own or with a lawyer, the following documents will still need to be submitted to the ISSO before a Form I-20 will be issued.

You need to submit:

1) A copy of your current Passport

2) A copy of your current visa

3) A copy of your I-94 Record

4) A copy of your DS-2021 (if applicable)

In the subject line of your email, please write – “Change of Status Request – Eligibility”. An ISS Officer will respond to you within 48 business hours.

If approved by the ISSO, please contact the Admissions Department to continue the admission process:

  • Visit the Admissions page.
  • Choose a program of study.
  • Comply with all the application, and admissions requirements for the program chosen.
  • Provide evidence of full financial support that will be shown on the I-20.

Once accepted by the Admissions Department, a Change of Status I-20 will then be processed.

Required Documents

These documents need to be sent to USCIS for a Change of Status request:

1) Form I-539

2) Check payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” for $370.00

3) A receipt of SEVIS Fee for $350.00. Please check www.fmjfee.com for more details.

4) Copy of your Passport pages showing both the picture and expiration date

5) Copy of your U.S. visa page

6) Copy of your I-94 Record or Card (if applicable)

7) Copies of your dependents I-94 records (if applicable)

8) Form I-20 (Change of status requested) – you will receive this from the Admissions Department once you are accepted to FXUA, and the ISSO has issued the I-20.

9) Financial support documents

10) Original Bank statement or Copy of W-2 form showing financial proof

11) Original I-134 Form (Affidavit of Support) or the Statement of Financial Support Form

12) Letter from you to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stating why you wish to change status

If you are planning on including dependents in your application, please submit the applicable dependent documents as well. (Ex. Passport, Visa, Marriage/Birth Certificate, I-94 Records)

If you are traveling outside the U.S. you cannot apply for a Change of Status; you will need to contact the Admissions Department to obtain an Initial I-20.

If you are applying for a change of status from J1 to F1 – Please contact the ISSO for more information about your eligibility.

USCIS Mailing address

 USCIS

ATTN: I-539

2501 S. State Highway 121 Business

SUite 400

Lewisville, TX 75067

 Be sure to keep a photocopy of each item you send to USCIS for your personal records. We strongly recommend that you mail your application documents by “Return Receipt Requested/ Certified U.S. mail.”

Bring a Family Member to the United States

Some FXUA students would like to bring their spouses and/or children to the United States while they complete their studies or participate in Optional Practical Training (OPT). To request an I-20 for a spouse and/or a child, the student must submit the following via email to .

Family member Required Document

Spouse (Wife/Husband)

  • Certified Marriage Certificate (translated in English if not already)
  • Copy of the Spouse’s Passport (Biographical Page)
  • Evidence of Proof of Financial Support for yourself and spouse.

Children

  • Certified Birth Certificate (translated in English if not already)
  • Copy of the Child’s Passport (Biographical Page)
  • Evidence of Proof of Financial Support for yourself and child/children.

The Proof of Financial Support must cover at least one year of the F-1 students’ yearly expenses plus the dependent’s expenses. The expenses are as follows:

  • 1st Dependent = $4,000
  • Each additional dependent = 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc…. = $2,000 (additionally)

Proof of Financial Support documents must be no older than 6 months from the date of submission.

*Please remember that there is no guarantee that the spouse and children will be granted a visa to travel to the United States. This decision is solely up to the US Embassy/Consulate.