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

  • Issuing all 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.


Student interested in requesting a letter of enrollment, estimate of costs, or another type of letter or certification, can visit the ISSS office in SU 80 #214 to discuss the request and complete an ISSS Document Request Form.

Change of Status (COS):

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

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) - Request a change of status from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States.


(Option 2) - Apply for the F or J visa to a U.S. Consulate abroad (preferably in the home country).

OPTION 1: Application for Change of Status to the USCIS (in the United States)

  • 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 six months, 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: F-1 and J-1 students are required to have medical insurance that meets state-mandated coverage guidelines. Students have two choices:

    1. To purchase the FAU insurance plan, contact Insurance for Students, Inc. at insurance for students or contact the Student Health Services office directly. Compliance with the insurance requirement must be verified prior to registering for courses. An insurance representative will be available at Student Health Services. Please check the SHS website for the date and time.
    2. Students who wish to use an outside plan must have their insurance company complete the Alternate Insurance Compliance Form (available online at in the Forms Section) and confirm that the policy meets all requirements listed on the form.
 Last Modified 5/23/18