Change of Visa Status to F-1

Current GT students who would like to change their visa status to F-1 student should read the following information carefully. Please send any questions to info@oie.gatech.edu.


There are two ways to change visa status to F-1. They are:

Travel and Re-entry
This process involves leaving the United States to apply for an F-1 visa. Students will then re-enter the U.S. using their new F-1 student status upon return. An advantage of changing your status via travel and re-entry is that you can receive an F-1 visa more quickly than if you apply for a change of status within the U.S.

  • If you will be changing to F-1 via travel and re-entry, please make an appointment with an international student advisor in OIE by emailing info@oie.gatech.edu or calling OIE’s front desk at 404-894-7475. 
  • During your time abroad, you will apply for an F-1 visa. Information about applying for an F-1 visa can be found on OIE’s website, but please research your local consulate as different consulates can have different procedures and/or requirements.

Apply for Change of Status within the U.S.
If you would like to apply for a change of status within the U.S., you will be required to submit a Form I-539 and all supporting documentation to USCIS. While this option allows you to stay in the U.S. while the application is pending, processing takes anywhere from 2-10 months. If you elect to change status within the U.S. you should consult with a qualified immigration attorney about the benefits and risks for your specific case. Please review our resource on how to seek consultation in the U.S., /sites/default/files/legal_consultation-updated_02.28.2020.pdf

  • If you would like to change your status within the U.S., please make an appointment with an international student advisor by emailing info@oie.gatech.edu or calling OIE’s front desk at 404-894-7475. An advisor will meet with you to discuss matters related to obtaining and maintaining F-1 status, but will not provide guidance on completing the I-539 form or recommendations on whether or not you are a good candidate for change of status within the U.S. 
  • Please note that you cannot leave the U.S. with a pending Change of Status application. If you do, USCIS will consider your application to be abandoned and the SEVIS record issued for your change of status will be automatically terminated. 
  • If you change your status in the U.S. using the Form I-539, you will be required to request a visa stamp from an embassy or consulate the next time you travel outside the U.S. This visa stamp will be required when you re-enter the U.S.


International Student Check-In

Prior to enrolling in classes, you will be required to complete International Student Check-In with OIE. Information about International Student Check-In can be found on OIE’s website: /isss-check-in