FAQs for Change of Status

1.    I previously submitted a Change of Status to USCIS (by mail or via ELIS) and it’s currently pending.  I now want to travel internationally and get an F-1 visa.  Can I use the same I-20?
2.    Do I need to do anything with IPS once my F-1 status is approved?
3.    If I travel outside the US after changing status with USCIS, what do I need to do to re-enter the US as an F-1?
4.    I just changed my status to F-1, can I work on campus?
5.    If my change of status is approved after the start of the semester, does that semester count as my being in F-1 status?
6.    If my change of status is approved after the start of the semester, does that semester count toward the 2-semester requirement to qualify for off-campus employment?
7.    Do I qualify for CPT or OPT, if this is my first semester as an F-1 student?
8.    Can I take classes as an F-2/B-2 while my change of status application is pending with USCIS?


1.    I previously submitted a Change of Status to USCIS (by mail or via ELIS) and it’s currently pending.  I now want to travel internationally and get an F-1 visa.  Can I use the same I-20?
No, the mailed Change of Status Application to USCIS will be considered abandoned and the I-20 will be invalid.  You will need to cancel your current application with USCIS and request a different I-20 from IPS.  While you do not need to submit a new Change of Status application to IPS, please see an International Student Advisor to obtain a new I-20.

2.    Do I need to do anything with IPS once my F-1 status is approved?
Yes, you must check-in with IPS. Bring your USCIS Approval Notice, passport, visa, I-94 and I-20, so we may complete the change of status process in SEVIS for you.

3.    If I travel outside the US after changing status with USCIS, what do I need to do to re-enter the US as an F-1?
If your I-20 is not marked “continued attendance at this school” on page 1 item 3, then you should meet with an International Student Advisor to request an updated I-20. You will need to apply for an F-1 visa at a US Consulate, with the required documents.

4.    I just changed my status to F-1, can I work on campus?
Yes, you may begin work on campus the first semester you are an F-1 student. 


5.    If my change of status is approved after the start of the semester, does that semester count as my being in F-1 status?
Yes, it counts, but it will not count for the 2 semesters needed for off-campus employment eligibility.

6.    If my change of status is approved after the start of the semester, does that semester count toward the 2-semester requirement to qualify for off-campus employment?
No, students must be in F-1 status from the first day of class of that semester for that semester to count toward off-campus employment eligibility.

7.    Do I qualify for CPT or OPT, if this is my first semester as an F-1 student?
Under SJSU IPS policy, you must complete at least 2 semesters full-time (12 units if undergraduate and 9 if graduate) as an F-1 student, before you can receive any off-campus work authorization.

8.    Can I take classes as an F-2/B-2 while my change of status application is pending with USCIS?
No, students in F-2/B-2 status are not allowed to be enrolled in studies.