What should I do regarding to my change of status? (J-1 to F-1)

Asked about 2 years ago - New Rochelle, NY

Is it ok to exchange my J-1 status to F-1 status by applying to an ESL (English as a Second Language) college and in the middle of the process I want to apply for a 4 year degree college? I am an au pair and my J-1 expires in March, I will try to change my status to student by applying for an ESL 3 month course, but in May I'm planning to get an I-20 form in a college to earn a bachelor degree. Basically Im only applying to an ESL school to maintain my legal status here, since there's a 2 month gap between my J-1 due date and May, when is time to apply for a exchange of status and become a student in a 4 year college. If my change of status is still in process of approving for the ESL 3 month classes, am I allowed to file another I20 for a 4 year college while my first I20 is in process?

Additional information

I am not considering to come back to my home country to try to get the visa because I am afraid of being denied. I rather try to exchange my status here and earn my degree, then come back to my country. I am aware of the fact that I am not going to be able to re enter the US if I leave it while I have my student status.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Juan Paolo Pasia Sarmiento

    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You have to file the change of status to an F-1 BEFORE the expiration (or before you fall out of) J-1 status. The program for your F-1, in this case the ESL program, should start before the expiration of your J-1 status. Then you have to continuously maintain your F-1 by getting an I-20 with any succeeding school or program you attend. It was not in your question but are you subject to the 2 year foreign residency requirement?

  2. Carlos E Sandoval

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . If you are subject to the 2 year foreign requirement on the J-1 you should consult with an experienced immigration lawyer to ensure this wont raise any issues at the time of doind the proposed change of status.

  3. Heather Roberts Majam

    Contributor Level 9


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I agree that you should consult with an immigration attorney.

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