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Can I process my F-1 student visa last minute whilst being in the country on a visitor visa? And will my B-2 visa be canceled?

White Plains, NY |

I am on a B-2 visitor visa lasting for 10 years, I have found a web-design course that I want to do at CUNY and need a F-1 visa. Can I transfer this visa or do I need to go back to my home country to apply to the F-1 student visa?
And if I do get the F-1, will my B-2 still be valid?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. The question of whether you can change status to F-1 in the United States depends on a number of factors: 1) whether your passport and your I-94 period of authorized admission in B2 status is still valid (hint: that would be 6 months or less from the date you entered the country); 2) whether you have been enrolled in a full-time course of study (not just one course) and the school has issued you a valid Form I-20; 3) whether you can document sufficient funds to support yourself without engaging in unauthorized employment while attending school.

    This is general information only. It is not intended as a substitute for legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice specific to your circumstances, you must consult an attorney in a confidential setting, not in an online forum.

  2. You may be able to obtain an F-1 without returning home first. However, USCIS prefers that you obtain these visas through the respective consulate. Moreover, you will encounter problems if they conclude that you entered the U.S. on a B-2 visa with the intention of switching to an F-1 visa inside the U.S. You should consult an immigration lawyer before doing anything. Good luck.

    *IMPORTANT: Do not rely on Attorney Murray's response as the information provided on this website is NOT legal advice nor is it a substitute for legal advice which requires a consultation with a lawyer. Attorney Murray's response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. If you have any specific questions concerning a legal issue, you should consult a lawyer. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on a Q&A website such as Avvo. Attorney Murray's response was generated without conducting a full inquiry as would occur during an attorney-client consultation. It is likely that the response above may be made less accurate, or become entirely inaccurate, as you, i.e. the questioner, disclose additional facts that should only be discussed during a private attorney-client consultation. I strongly recommend that you consult an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state (or, in the case of immigration law, an attorney in ANY state), whereupon all relevant facts will be discussed. All responses posted on Avvo are intended as general information for the education of the public, and not for any specific individual. New Jersey residents: NO ASPECT OF THIS ADVERTISEMENT HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY. The selection methodology for the SuperLawyers' "Rising Stars" awards is set forth at length at this website:

  3. You may file an application to change status from B-2 to F-1 prior to the expiration of your authorized stay. While your application to change status is pending, you are allowed to remain in the U.S. The drawback of going this route is that you do not have an F-1 visa stamped on your passport. So, if you have plans of traveling outside the U.S. while you are in school, you must apply for the visa at the U.S. Consulate. This way, you will have the appropriate visa the next time you enter the U.S.

    Alternatively, you can exit with your I-20 and apply for a student visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. This is the preferred manner of applying for the visa that conforms with your purpose of being in the U.S.

    And, your B-2 will not be cancelled if there is no reason for cancellation.

    Please consult with a licensed immigration professional to provide you with a thorough legal advice. This response is not a substitute for specific legal advice and it should not be construed to create an attorney-client relationship. Please help stop notario fraud. Please visit and share this site:

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