Other Non-Immigrant students

The ISS office provides assistance to students in other eligible non-immigrant visa classifications by:

  • Issuing Change of Status requests for I-20’s (F visa) or DS-2019’s (J visa) for continuing students.

  • Preparing letters and certifications for international students needed by other agencies and institutions.


Students interested in requesting a letter of enrollment, estimate of costs, or another type of letter or certification, can visit the ISS office at Center of Global Engagement DP-49 to discuss the request and complete an Letter Request Form .

Change of Status (COS)

Transfer students, fully admitted, or students already attending FAU must make an appointment with an ISS advisor to review the application process and verify that all documentation is complete. Students can contact ISS at 561-297-3049 or email  isss@fau.edu.

COS is a procedure through which persons in an eligible non-immigrant visa classification may apply to change to an F-1 or J-1 visa classification in order to pursue a full course of study in the U.S. and be eligible for F-1/J-1 benefits. (NOTE: Persons admitted in C, D, K, and M visa classifications and the Visa Waiver programs (B tourist visa) are  NOT eligible to request a change of status to F-1 in the U.S.) Students interested in pursuing a change of status need to set-up an appointment to speak with an advisor so the appropriate paperwork and documentation can be collected. Please review the  Change of Status Form and Checklist  to prepare for your advising appointment.

* If you are currently in the U.S. as a B-1/ B-2 (tourist) or F-2 (dependent) you may NOT enroll in classes until your COS to F-1 is approved.

Prospective students interested in changing their current non-immigrant visa status to F or J has two options:

Option 1 - Remain in the U.S. and file a change of status applicaiton with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Option 2 - Apply for the F or J visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad (preferably in the home country) and reenter the U.S.

OPTION 1: Remain in the U.S. and File a Change of Status Application with the USCIS

  • Only individuals holding another valid eligible non-immigrant status may apply for change of status (COS). The COS application must be received at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before (and, preferably, should be approved) before the current non-immigrant status expires.

  • The application is adjudicated by the USCIS – Vermont Service Center (VSC). The decision process  may take as long as one year, and approval is not guaranteed.

  • An approved COS application grants only valid F-1 status and not the F-1 visa (stamp in your passport).  If traveling abroad after obtaining the COS to F-1, students will have to obtain the F-1 visa at a U.S. consulate abroad (preferably in the home country)  in order to re-enter the U.S. The COS approval does not guarantee issuance of the F-1 visa.

  • Leaving the U.S. while the COS application is pending will automatically void the application and will require applying for the visa at the U.S. consulate prior to returning to the U.S.

  • COS applicants – except B-1/B-2 tourists and F-2 dependents* -- must enroll full-time in the degree program as indicated on the I-20 form. Full-time enrollment for F-1 status is defined as:

    1. At least 12 credit hours per academic term for undergraduate students (BA, BS, BBA)
    2. At least 9 graduate-level credit hours for graduate students (MS, MA, BA, PhD, EdD).
      * If you are currently in the U.S. as a B-1/ B-2 (tourist) or F-2 (dependent) you may  NOT enroll in classes until your COS to F-1 is approved.
  • Students who are fully admitted or already attending FAU must make an appointment with an ISSS advisor to review the application process and verify that all documents are in order before mailing the COS application.

    Students who are working with an  immigration attorney to handle their COS application must provide a copy of the USCIS receipt notice and final approval notice  to ISSS.

OPTION 2: Travel and Re-Entry to the U.S.

  • The F/J visa stamp can only be obtained at a U.S. Consulate abroad. It is highly recommended to apply for the F or J visa in the home country. Some consulates do not accept visa applications from third country nationals. Applying at a consulate outside the country of citizenship/permanent residence increases the chance of visa denial, as it is more difficult to prove ties to the home country and non-immigrant intent.

    Contact the consulate where you wish to apply to determine visa application procedures, wait times, and required forms/fees. A list of U.S. Consulates and Embassies abroad can be located here:  U.S. Embassies Abroad.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS for Students Applying for Change of Status:

  • Tuition:  Students paying in-state tuition fees based on their current non-immigrant status will be  required to pay out-of-state tuition as of the start-date listed on the form I-20/DS-2019.

  • Employment:  On-campus employment eligibility per F-1 regulations (including graduate assistantships) will commence only after COS to F-1 is approved by the USCIS.

  • Restrictions:  Certain non-immigrant categories – such as visa waiver visitors (WB or WT with green I-94 card), C or D visa holders or J exchange visitors who are subject to 212 (e) – are not eligible to apply for COS to F-1 in the U.S. and must travel to their home country to obtain the F-1 visa.

  • H-1 Visa Holders:  Include a copy of the visa stamp or I-797 Notice of Action and proof of current employment (such as a payroll slips or letter from the employer).

    * Please note that the COS application must be filed with USCIS before termination of H-1B employment.

  • Medical Insurance Requirement:

    All F1 International students in the United States are required to have health insurance that meets the university’s requirements. I nternational students will be routinely enrolled in the university-sponsored Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP), and the insurance premium will be charged to the student’s FAU account.

    Please be aware that F-1 students are automatically enrolled in the FAU insurance each semester unless a student submits an alternate insurance waiver that is approved at the start of each academic year (August), or when a student begins their studies (whichever is sooner). 

    The portal for alternate insurance waive r is open one month prior to each term start date and closes before the term starts. International students who wish to use an alternate insurance plan must submit a waiver form by the deadline. Students who do not submit a waiver form by the deadline will have the premium for SHIP added to their student account. 

    For eligibility requirements for Alternate Insurance and waiver deadline information, visit  https://www.fau.edu/shs/insurance/international/