You can typically switch your US immigration status in two ways:
Whether you choose to travel or apply to USCIS, the Immigration and Nationality Act requires you to demonstrate:
- that you intend to leave the US after completing your program of study
- that you do not plan to stay in the United States indefinitely
Individuals in certain immigration categories will need to supply additional documentation with the change of status application AND/OR meet certain eligibility criteria. Please visit the Criteria Specific section for more information.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE
Although permitted to begin classes in most cases, students who have not yet obtained F-1 or J-1 status, via travel or an approval notice from USCIS, are not eligible for F-1 or J-1 student benefits, such as on-campus or off-campus employment.
Visiting scholars who have not yet obtained J-1 status, via travel or an approval notice from USCIS, may not assume their roles unless they have an alternate form of work authorization.
For information on change of status to H-1B, E-3, or another immigration category for work at Penn, please visit our Scholars & Departments section.
Individuals in certain immigration categories will need to supply additional documentation with the change of status application and/or meet certain eligibility criteria. Please consult ISSS with any questions about documentary or eligibility requirements.