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Non-immigrants may apply for admission to CSUN; however, their visa status may prevent them from pursuing a full course load. Applicants who wish to study full-time at CSUN may apply for a change of status to F1 student status. CSUN assists students with this process once they have been officially admitted to the university and have met the eligibility requirements—see below.
To be eligible for a change of status (COS) to F1, the prospective applicant needs to be a CSUN student or have been admitted to a program at CSUN for the upcoming semester.
Please note-- Non-immigrants in the following visa categories are not eligible for a change of status while remaining in the U.S.: M-1, C, D, K, and S nonimmigrants, J-1 physicians admitted to receive graduate medical education or training, J nonimmigrants subject to the 212(e) 2-year foreign residence requirement, aliens admitted as visitors under 8 C.F.R. § 212.1(e), WT and WB visitors admitted under the Visa Waiver Program.
A change of status can be obtained through one of the following options:
OPTION A- Travel and Re-enter the U.S. with an Initial Attendance I-20
This option requires the student to request an Initial Attendance I-20 from CSUN and travel outside the U.S., apply for an F1 visa at a U.S. Embassy in their home country, and re-enter the U.S. in time for the start of the semester.
Instructions for Initial Attendance Form I-20 Issuance
If the semester has already begun, the Initial Attendance I-20 will be issued for the next available semester at CSUN. Students cannot re-enter the U.S. until 30 days prior to the start date printed on the I-20. Please arrange travel plans accordingly.
If this is going to be your first semester at CSUN, which means that you have not taken any classes at CSUN, the Office of Admission and Records will issue you the Initial Attendance I-20. Please contact your International admissions advisor for additional guidance on the issuance of your I-20.
If you are a continuing student, which means you are and have been taking classes towards a degree program at CSUN, then the International & Exchange Student Center (IESC) will issue you the Initial Attendance I-20.
Required Documents for Initial I-20 issuance
Please submit the following documents to a FSA for initial I-20 issuance:
STEP 2:: Submit the following documents to a FSA for I-20 issuance:
Please allow 3-5 business days to review your documents and issue the Initial Attendance I-20.
STEP 3: Meet with your FSA to pick-up your Initial Attendance I-20.
Very Important Note: Once you become an F1 student, you will be required to have adequate health insurance as mandated by the CSU Chancellor's Office. You may purchase an international student health insurance policy at www.csuhealthlink.com . Once you purchase your insurance policy online, the IESC will automatically receive proof of coverage from the health insurance provider and your foreign hold will be removed.
If you already have health insurance that you wish to submit for review, please scan and email your proof of insurance to firstname.lastname@example.org . Please include your first name, last name, and CSUN ID number in the subject line of the email. This is the only way you may submit your proof of health insurance.
SEVIS I-901 Fee
After you receive your Initial Attendance I-20, you must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. Information on the SEVIS I-901 fee is available at www.fmjfee.com/i901fee . Please print 2 copies of the payment receipt: one for your records, and one for the visa interview.
Applying for the F1 (International Student) Visa Stamp
A Visa is a stamp or sticker placed in your passport at a U.S. consulate or embassy outside the U.S. A visa is only a permit to enter the United States. Students must have a valid F1 visa and CSUN I-20 for their re-entry to the U.S. Information on F1 visa applications and U.S. embassies is available at www.travel.state.gov. Please verify F1 visa application requirements, processing times and other information specific to your individual case with the U.S. Embassy in your home country.
OPTION B- Change of Status Application by Mail
Students may choose to remain in the U.S. and apply for a change of visa status to F1 if eligible—refer to page 1 for eligibility restrictions. Upon verification of enrollment in or acceptance to an academic program at CSUN, IESC will issue the student a Change of Status FORM I-20. All change of status applications are subject to approval by USCIS. USCIS may take 2-4 months to adjudicate your application. It is important that you submit your application in a timely manner, especially if your current visa status does not permit you to study in the U.S. Student is expected to remain in the U.S. until the decision of the change of status application has been made.
Please note: A change of status is not a visa. You will have to obtain an F-1 visa stamp in your passport the next time you leave the U.S and plan to re-enter in legal student status.
All correspondence is done via mail. Please ensure that complete, accurate information is submitted for review.
Instructions for the Change of Status FORM I-20 Issuance
STEP 2: Submit the following documents to your FSA for the issuance of a Change of Status FORM I-20:
Please allow 3-5 business days to review your documents and issue the Change of Status FORM I-20.
STEP 3: Please bring the following documents to IESC for review by a FSA prior to mailing to the appropriate USCIS Lockbox Facility. Your FSA will give you a letter of explanation for the COS application, put your application packet together, and give you mailing instructions.
Very Important Note:
Please contact IESC at (818) 677-3053 or email your Foreign Student Advisor for questions and/or clarifications.
Rev 09/27/2013 PM