Skip to main content

Applying for Change of Status

If already in the U.S. and applying for a change of status, discuss your situation with your International Faculty & Scholar Advisor at the UC San Diego International Faculty & Scholar Office (IFSO).


Form I-539 is a personal application, as such IFSO cannot file this document on your behalf. However, we have included information below to help you navigate the USCIS website. USCIS is constantly updating their requirements, please verify the requirements on the USCIS website

What is the difference between filing online vs. paper version?

I-539 Online Filing I-539 Paper Filing
Each applicant would be required to pay the filing fee (can be costly for multiple family members) Only one application fee for multiple applicants/family members
Get your application into USCIS' processing queue faster than mail delivery Mail your application to USCIS using courier services such as FedEx or USPS tracking
Ensure you are using the correct version of the form Remember to verify you are using the correct version before submitting the I-539 
Communicate with USCIS directly, without sending or receiving paper mail Remember to check mail for receipt notices and you can check case status online using the receipt notice number
I-539 supporting documentation can be uploaded online  Remember to submit the I-539 supporting documentation per the I-539 instructions

The start date usually coincides/matches approval or requested start date;

Note: F-1 STEM OPT or OPT Change of status applicants may want to have new status start the day after EAD expiration

The start date usually coincides/matches approval or requested start date; 

Note: F-1 STEM OPT or OPT Change of status applicants may want to have the new status start the day after EAD expiration

Have option to pay with credit card Can pay with check or money order

Checklist for Paper Submission

  • Signed Form I-539: Visit to fill out the latest version of Form I-539
  • Check for the Form I-539 Filing Fee: A personal check made payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" for the filing fee in amount indicated on Only one filing fee check is required for the paper I-539 application. 
  • Signed Form I-539A (if applicable): If more there will be more than one dependent changing status, complete form I-539A for each additional applicant after the first applicant. Visit to complete the latest version of Form I-539A for each additional individual. 
  • Evidence for each applicant
    • Passport Page: Most recent passport biographical page with date of expiration at least 6 months in the future
    • Most Recent I-94 Record: I-94 admission record from or paper version if entered a land border 
    • Visa Stamp: Most recent U.S. visa stamp in passport (Except Canadians)
    • Entry Stamp: Most recent U.S. entry stamp, if given one
    • Immigration Documents (as applicable):
      • Employment Authorization Card (EAD), if any
      • I-612 Waiver Document
      • ALL I-20s
      • ALL DS-2019s
      • ALL I-797 approval notices (H, L, O, TN)
      • If you are currently in a dependent status (ex. F2) you will also need all of your primary (F1) visa holders documentation
    • For Dependents (proof of relationship to principle applicant):
      • Marriage Certificate:  for spouse as of relationship to principle visa holder
      • Birth Certificate:  for children under 21 as proof of relationship to principle visa holder


File an I-539 application to change your status (along with DS-2019, fee, and supporting documentation); include supplement for any dependents.

Our office will need to issue you a DS-2019 in order for you to apply for a change of status with USCIS.Please make sure you pay your SEVIS fee before applying for the change of status. 

You will need to work closely with your department and IFSO advisor while your change of status is pending, once you have submitted your application to USCIS; please email us your tracking number so that we can also keep track of your case status and amend your J-1 program dates if necessary.

Once your application is approved, please email us a copy of your I-797 Approval Notice.


To change status to H-1B, please contact your UC San Diego department so that they may assist you to initiate the process.  

If you have additional questions regarding timing, fees, and your eligibility to change to H-1B status contact us at ifsoh1b@ucsd or schedule an appointment by calling (858) 246-1448

IFSO Weekly E-News!

Subscribe to the Weekly E-News for International Faculty, Scholars, and Dependents! The E-News includes immigration updates, workshops, and upcoming event information.


Contact IFSO!

International Faculty & Scholars Office (IFSO)
Phone: (858) 246-1448