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Change of Status

Switching from F-1 to F-2 Dependent

There are two options for changing from F-1 to F-2. You must decide which is best for you.

Option 1: Travel and Reentry: Leave the U.S. and apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate. You will then reenter the U.S. with the newly issued visa and other relevant documents. You will gain your new status when you are admitted into the U.S.

Option 2: Change Status in the U.S. via I-539: Submit an application to USCIS for a change of status using a I-539 request. This option allows you to change your nonimmigrant status while remaining in the U.S. With this option you may gain a new status but you will not receive a new visa; visas are only issued outside the U.S.       

Important: Failure to complete one of the above options will result in you becoming out of status.    

Option 2 – Filing a I-539 Form Instructions

International Services will provide assistance in filing your application for a change of status from F-1 to F-2. However, please be advised that we cannot guarantee the approval of your application. Please follow each of the steps below in the correct order. Please know that if the application is denied, you are required to leave the United States immediately.

Step 1: Obtain F-2 I-20 for dependent

In order to request a Form I-20 for your dependent (spouse/child), please submit the following documents to International Services ( The office will process your request within 3 business days.

    • Photocopy of marriage license (spouse) and/or birth certificate (child)
      • Must be translated into English
    • Photocopy of passport of your spouse and/or child
    • Completed Affidavit of Sponsor Support Form
      • If you are government sponsored, a Financial Guarantee covering the dependent is needed.
      • Current amount to show is $5,000 for a spouse plus $2,500 per child
    • Current Bank Statement (not applicable for government sponsored students)

Step 2: Collect All Required Documents for Change of Status

The following checklist is to help you with assembling your application packet. Include all documents in the order listed below. All the documents are to be collected for the F-2 applicant unless otherwise stated. You will file online, but you will need to make sure that you have everything ready to upload and submit.

From the F-2 Dependent

  • Photocopy of Form I-20 for F-2
    • You will keep the original
    • Remember that this must be signed by the current F-1
  • Complete the G-1145 form via
    • This just authorizes electronic updates
  • Copy of your I-94 Record
    • If you have an I-94 card, send the original card but make sure to keep a copy (front and back) for yourself.
    • If you have an electronic I-94, print a copy
  • Photocopy of current and previous I-20s
  • Copies of your Passport
    • Identity page
    • U.S. Visa page
    • Most recent U.S. entry stamp
    • Expiration date (if not on ID page)
  • Letter of explanation that details why you would like to change status to F-2
  • Proof of your current lawful status showing that your current visa category and any supporting documents
  • Proof of Marriage to the primary F-1
    • Copy of marriage certificate must be in English. If translated, you will need to include a notarized translation copy.
    • Translation websites are or

From the F-1 Student

  • Most recent I-20 for the F-1 student
  • I-94 copy
  • Passport copy
    • Identity page
    • S. visa page
    • Most recent entry stamp
  • Proof of current lawful status including official transcripts and enrollment verification letter.
  • If F-1 student is on OPT, include a copy of the EAD card and a letter from the employer.
  • Proof of Financial Support showing the the primary F-1 is able to support all dependent F-2s financially
    • Copies of most recent financial statement (should be in USD) or 
    • For government sponsored students, you will need an updated Financial Guarantee

Step 3: Submit your I-539 Form

  1. Visit
  2. Select “Apply Online”
  3. Create an account
    1. Make sure you write down your username and password to remember this in the future.
  4. Upload all documents and complete the form
  5. Submit and save a copy of the submission receipt
    1. Make sure you save your submission number in order to check status

Important: It will cost $455 fee which will need to be paid by check or money order. This must be submitted at the time of your I-539.

Schedule an Appointment with International Services

While you will need to submit the I-539 request, we are here to help you along the process. If you have any questions, please make sure to reach out to the International Services Coordinator for assistance. 

If you need help scanning documents into the computer, please stop by the International Office for assistance. 

USCIS Mailing Address

You will likely be submitting this request electronically, but if anything needs to be mailed, it would need to be sent to the address below by certified mail.

USPS DeliveriesUPS, DHL, FedEx
PO Box 660166
Dallas, TX 75266
ATTN: I-539
2501 S. State Hwy 121 Business
Ste 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

Important Reminders

It may take up to six months to get a response from USCIS. You can check your status at with your receipt number.

Leaving the United States while your application is in process will forfeit your request and you will be required to leave the country to request an F-2 visa.

After the request is approved, you are still required to get a new visa before reentering the United States after leaving.

If the application is denied, you are required to leave the United States immediately.