How to change my status from tourist to f1 visa?

Asked almost 2 years ago - New Paltz, NY

I am a Japanese. I came to US a two year ago as a student with F1 visa and went to school for that period. I went back to Japan after i finished a year of school. And I came back to US as a tourist until now. My F1 visa is not expired yet and I registered for another school but I don't know how to change my status from tourist to F1 visa (that I already have)?
i was thinking to go to canada with my tourist visa and come back to US with F1 visa. is that possible? can i go to canada and enter to US as a student?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Carl Michael Shusterman


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . If you are accepted by a school in the U.S., you will be given a form I-20. The Designed School Official will help you complete an application to change your status to F-1 student in the U.S. Should the application be denied as my colleague believes, you would have to return to Japan to apply for an F-1 visa.

    Please click the link at the very bottom for additional information.

    Carl Shusterman, Esq.
    Former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82)
    Board Certified Immigration Attorney (1986 - Present)
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    (213) 394-4554 x0 Mr. Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 35 years of immigration... more
  2. Charles M. Goldsmith

    Contributor Level 3


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Since you are Japanese, I assume you entered the US under visa waiver, not with a B-2 visa. If this is correct, you cannot file for a change of status with USCIS. The foreign student advisors at most schools are capable of assisting you with this. If you are in New York City, we will be happy to meet with you but we do charge for consultations.

  3. Umit Mike Gursoy

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . I agree with my colleagues. However more information is needed. If you entered on the visa waiver then you cannot change of status. If you in fact entered with a tourist visa, a change of status is possible. If that is the case you must obtain an I 20 and subsequently file for a change of status. Nonetheless, I recommend you do this with an experienced immigration attorney.

  4. Francis M Boyer

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . You will need to be accepted by a registered school that can issue you an I-20. From there you will have to request a visa in your home country. It has been a while since changing your status ffrom B to F from within the U.S. is frown upon.

    This does not constitute legal advice and is purely informational and we do not have an attorney-client... more

Related Topics


If you want to visit or move permanently to the US, you'll want to learn about your different immigration options.

Adjustment of status

When a person in the United States changes his or her immigration status to permanent resident, this is called "adjustment of status."

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