UKIC / International Student & Scholar Services / International Faculty & Staff / J-1 / Change of Status

Change of Status

Changing status inside the US requires an application through USCIS. You can check current processing times on the USCIS website.  The process cannot be expedited; however, you may stay in the U.S. to await the results. A few weeks after you mail your application to change status, you can expect to receive a “Notice of Action” document (acknowledgment of receipt).  With the receipt number, you can track your “case status” at:

The status change to F-1 or J-1 must be approved prior to enrolling in classes. If your change of status has not been received in time to begin school on the date indicated on the I-20 or DS-2019, contact your admissions officer and have it deferred until the next semester.

You must maintain your current, or other, nonimmigrant status up to 30 days before the start date of the course of study listed on the Form I-20/DS-2019 or your requested change of status may not be granted. If you are changing for F or J status from any status, then you must maintain your B1 or B-2 status while your Form I-539 is pending.  For more information see the USCIS special instructions.

You will submit all documents to USCIS: 

  • Form I-539 
  • Pay the SEVIS Fee: (changes to F-1 or J-1 only)
  • Print out the electronic receipt 
  • Filing fee, Check/Money Order made payable to ‘U.S. Department of Homeland Security' 
  • Letter explaining why you want to change your status 
  • Photocopies of passport ID page for:
    • You
    • Your Spouse/Dependent child (if applicable) 
  • Photocopies of visa page for:
    • You
    • Your Spouse/Dependent child (if applicable) 
  • Photocopy of I-94 Card (front and back) for:
    • You
    • Your Spouse/Dependent child (if applicable)
  • Photocopy of all relevant immigration forms (I-20/DS-2019/I-797) for:  
    • You
    • Your Spouse/Dependent child (if applicable)
  • Copy of Marriage Certificate/Birth Certificate with official Translation  (for changes to F-2, J-2 or H-4 status only)  
  • Admission Letter from the University of Kentucky (for changes to F-1 only)
  • Proof of Renewable/Sustainable Financial Support (for changes to the F or J categories only) 


If U.S. Sponsor: 
Please submit a form I-134 Affidavit of Support verifying he/she is willing to support you and a copy of his/her last bank account statement on bank letterhead, or a letter from the sponsor verifying employment and salary. 

If Personal Funds: 
Submit evidence that shows you have access to funds in U.S. dollars. Submit copies of your last three bank account statements showing all deposits and withdrawals from your savings and checking accounts. Foreign amounts must be calculated by current exchange rates into U.S. dollars.  It must be demonstrated that you have access to the entire amount of funds to cover the estimated cost for the academic year. 

If Assistantship: 
Submit a copy of the “award” letter. 


  • For government scholarships, etc. submit a copy of award letter. 
  • It is advisable to make copies of all papers submitted prior to mailing by certified mail (keep receipt). 
  • Additional Documents 
  • Transcripts 
  • Pay stubs (for H-1B workers) 
  • J-1 Waiver of 212(e) Home Residency Requirement 

Do you have questions about in-state or out-of-state tuition rates?   If so, please review the UK Residency Policy and Application Deadlines and Procedures .