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How to change my status from tourist to f1 visa?

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?

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Attorney answers 4


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 relationship until a fee agreement is signed. The details of your case can vary slightly and the legal analysis can be then totally different. Do not rely on legal aswers to address your particular situation but seek a direct contact wih an attorney.



Do you mean that i cannot have an F1 visa?

Francis M Boyer

Francis M Boyer


Not necessarily. It really depends on your specific facts, financial resources for the tuition and board, whether you even have a B visa like Atty Goldsmith points out, etc....


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 experience. His response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Shusterman's statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.


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.


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.

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