Changing Visa Status to F-1


If you’re in another visa category and would like to enroll in college credit courses as an F-1 student, you may be eligible to apply for a Change of Status.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has special instructions and rules for change of status students. Please see this website for more details:

Note: There may be certain Academic programs that F-1 international students are not allowed to be enrolled in. View a list of those programs on our FAQ page.

Step 1-College Admission

An open-admissions institution, San Jacinto College offers a free online application through*.

To apply, set up an account and make sure you choose San Jac in your application. Submit the application for your intended transfer in semester.

  • When asked to submit Social Security numbers please leave blank.
  • Applications are processed in 2- 3 business days. 


Since classes at San Jacinto College are taught in English, proficiency is required for students whose native language is not English.  Test scores allow us to accurately advise students into classes that will offer the best opportunity for success. 

For student residing in the area: Our college offers the Accuplacer ESL. Get information on how to take this exam here: Accuplacer ESL | San Jacinto College

You may be admitted to an Academic Program with a minimum score of: 


525 (Paper-Based test) 

70 (Internet-Based test) 


Band 6 range 

Accuplacer ESL

110- Reading

6- Writer Placer

109- Sentence Meaning

109- Language Use

93- Listening


Native students from the following countries are exempt from proving English proficiency:

Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, English speaking Canadian provinces, The Fiji Islands, Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Malta, Nauru, Nigeria, New Zealand, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Tobago Trinidad, Uganda, United Kingdom, The Virgin Islands, the West Indies, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.


Step 2-Gather Required Documents

We will need official transcripts from any colleges or universities you have attended either in the U.S. or abroad, including the one you are currently attending. 

Proof of U.S. high school equivalency completion is required. 

International transcripts must be evaluated by an approved agency. Contact any agency listed here-Accepted Evaluation Company.

Request an evaluation on your international transcript(s).  

We want to make sure your education won’t be interrupted by lack of finances, so we require proof that you have at least $31,977 U.S. dollars of financial support. This is the estimated educational and living expense for one year at San Jacinto College. If you’re bringing family, we will need proof of an additional $6,000 for your spouse and $3,500 for each dependent. 


Sponsor Financial Information (maximum (2) sponsors per student)

Sponsor(s) should complete Affidavit of Support Form and submit one (1) additional piece of documentation below: 

  • The most recent three (3) months of bank statements (checking and savings accounts only) on official bank letterhead from sponsor(s). The ending balance for each month must show the amount of at least $31,977. 
  • A statement/letter on bank letterhead and signed by a bank official that certifies the sponsor’s name, average balance, and affirmation that deposits have been made over the last year (letter must be recent as of three (3) months).
  • A letter from Employer on company letterhead signed by your supervisor, stating annual income (letter must be recent as of three (3) months)
  •  Most recent U.S. Income Tax Return.

All financial information must also include equivalencies in U.S. dollars.

Read carefully the F-1 Memorandum of Understanding. Download and complete the form.

F-1 Memorandum of Understanding.

1. Copy of Passport: First page of your passport showing your name, date of birth, and expiration date. Passport must not expire in the next 6 months.

2. Copy of Current Visa: Visa page from your passport or I-797 Notice of Action required.

3. I-94 card: I-94 card must reflect entrance under current visa status. To get the most recent I-94 visit this site:

Download and complete the form.

I-20 Release Form

Acceptance documents will be sent to the e-mail address placed on this form.

Your letter should be specific to your situation and include any additional information you believe is important to your request. This letter should be addressed to USCIS.

Step 3-Submit Change of Status Documents
  • Once your application is processed, you will receive a Welcome email from San Jacinto College with your G number (student ID number) and the steps to Claim Your Student Account.
    • You must set up your student account to upload your electronic international admission forms. 
  • Make sure to enter the full address you used on your application to Claim Your Account
  • Trouble Claiming Your Account? Contact Tech Support at 281-998-6137 for assistance. 

All international admission documents will be uploaded as attachments in PDF format under the Application for I-20 Form. 

  • Open the Application for I-20 Form 
  • Log in with your credentials created
  • Select Change of Status Application and complete all information
  • At the bottom of the form, upload all required documents in PDF format 
  • Electronically sign and submit the application.

Expect a response within 7-10 business days.


Once we receive all of your documents, International Student Services will process your file. 

Allow our office 7-10 business days to process your application.

You will receive an official International Student Change of Status Acceptance Letter, Initial Form -20, and further change of status guidance. 


Step 4-File Change of Status with USCIS

1. Pay $350 SEVIS I-901 fee at 

2. Complete and File Form I-539 along with required fee and documentation. More information:

**The issued Initial Form I-20 is only valid for 30 days. You must file for a change of status within this time.**


Once USCIS receives your Form I-539, you will receive a:
• Receipt notice confirming USCIS received your application;
• Biometric services notice, if applicable;
• Notice to appear for an interview, if required; and
• Notice of decision.


Once you receive the I-797 Notice of Action with you approved change of status, please notify our office as it is crucial to finalize enrollment as soon as you receive this notice.

Failure to notify our office and enroll will cause you to be out of status.