You may have gone to the US on a J-1 visa for the Work&Travel program and then decided to become a student at a university or language school. However, J-1 status is not enough to study in the US, so you need to change your status to student status. You can change your status from J-1 to F-1 student status from within the US through Change of Status. By reviewing the roadmap below, you can be aware of all the steps that will come in front of you in this process.

By reviewing the roadmap below, you can be aware of all the steps that will come your way in this process in advance.

NOTE: Before you can apply for Change of Status with the I-539 form, you need to pay the $350 SEVIS enrollment fee online and receive the I-20 form from your accepted school. You may have already completed this step before contacting us.

A View from Above:

What kind of support do we provide?

1. Collection of Required Documents: We will list the documents you need to collect for your application and help you find out where you can collect them.

 

2. Application Forms: We fill in the application forms on your behalf. The forms are checked several times by our team before they are sent. In this way, we minimize the risk of your application being delayed due to missing documents.

 

3. Application Tracking: All letters from USCIS regarding your application are sent to us as well as to you. Thus, we will be following your application with you.

 

4. Translation Support: Some of the documents required for the Change of Status application process need to be translated into English. Our in-house translators will translate your documents into English and help you save on translation costs.

 

5. Personal Statement: For the success of your application, you need to provide a statement of why you want to study in the United States and whether you can support yourself financially. We will help you to write a statement in accordance with the procedure and ensure that it is satisfactory to USCIS officers.

 

6. Following Current Laws and Procedures: Laws and procedures are evolving all the time. With our team, we follow the changes and ensure that your application is in line with the latest policies and regulations.

 

7. USCIS Request for Additional Documentation: F-1 sAfter USCIS receives your Change of Status application for tatüsü, additional evidence may be requested. We also receive a notification letter of this request, so there is no risk of missing the requests that will come on your behalf. At this step, we prioritize the request for additional evidence in order to finalize your application as soon as possible.

Before F-1 Change of Status Application

1. We Assess Your Eligibility for Change of Status

When you contact us, we first send you our questions, for example:

"Are you enrolled in school?"

"How will you pay for school and living expenses?"

"Did you work illegally?",

"Why do you want to change to F-1 status?",

 

"When does your J-1 status expire?" (the expiration date is written on the DS-2019 form)

Since you need to meet certain requirements to apply for F-1 status, we first determine whether you can apply for Change of Status by asking questions. 

In addition, based on your answers to the questions, we look for possible problematic situations and if there is something we need to investigate in depth, we ask you to make an appointment with us first. At this appointment, we will inform you about your situation and the roadmap that can be followed.

 

NOTE: Normally, a SEVIS registration fee is required for the F-1 visa, but since you have already paid the SEVIS registration fee for the Work&Travel program, you may not need to pay it again. At this stage, we check whether it is necessary or not.

2nd Contract Signing

If we decide to submit your application after this appointment, or if we can see from the test you have completed that you have no special circumstances, we will send you a contract by e-mail.

In order for us to be able to represent you, we will clearly set out in this contract the services we will provide to you and the fee we will charge for our services. Once agreed, we sign the contract electronically and after we receive the first installment of payment, until your Change of Status application is finalized, we will be officially representing you.

We prefer to stay in constant contact by setting up a WhatsApp group during the application period. For this reason, we contact you via the WhatsApp group we will establish immediately after the contract. 

3. We Collect Your Personal Information:

Following the contract, we will send you an online form asking you to answer very simple questions in Turkish (or English if you prefer), which will allow us to effortlessly collect the personal information required for your application. Thanks to our technological infrastructure and user-friendly interface, you only need to spend about two hours filling out the form, which normally takes days.

Even if you give incorrect answers, we check your answers 5 times in 5 different stages and do not send your application anywhere until all the information is confirmed. In case of missing information, we contact you via WhatsApp group and send you the missing question list and we do not leave any room for error by going over all the missing information one by one.

4. We List the Documents You Need to Collect for Change of Status Application

We will send you a list of all the documents required for your application via an agreed communication method (WhatsApp, e-mail, etc.). We will then provide you with a Google Drive link to transfer the documents you have collected.  

In this way, you will deliver us exactly which documents you need and you will not waste time collecting unnecessary documents. We also provide support on where you need to collect the documents.

NOTE: You need to get an I-20 form from your accepted school so that we can include it in your application package. You may have completed this step before contacting us.

5. We are preparing your Change of Status Application Forms:

While you are collecting your documents, we meticulously fill out the I-539 application form based on the answers we receive from you. Then we send this form to you for your review. If there is anything you do not understand, we will contact you and go over the questions and answers.

Additional forms may also need to be completed depending on your specific situation. For example, if your family will be applying with you, an I-539A form must be completed for each family member who will be applying with you.

In addition, if you need your application to be finalized immediately, you can request Premium Processing for $2500 by filling out the I-907 form. Thus, your application can be finalized within 30 days.

6. We Help You Create a Personal Statement:

Submitting a personal statement is crucial to the success of your application. We will guide you in writing the statement and help you collect documents to prove the statements you make in the statement.

7. We check the documents you have collected:

We check the documents you send us one by one. We go over the forms you have approved once more and send you your application package for the last time before you apply, along with a guide showing you where you need to sign.

Finally, you can take a clear photo of the signed pages, either as a scan or with a smartphone camera, and send it to us.

8. We are making your Change of Status Application:

Once we have carried out our final checks, we will prepare your package in accordance with the official guidelines and send it to USCIS via FEDEX or USPS and provide you with the shipment tracking number.

A Change of Status application fee must be paid when you apply. This fee is separate from our attorney's fee, as stated in the contract, and is paid by you. We can offer you two ways to pay this fee:

  • We write a check to USCIS for the application fee and we pay it and then you pay it to us.
  • You fill in the G-1450 form with your card details, sign it, take a photo and send it to us. Thus, you have the opportunity to pay the application fee with your credit card.

NOTE: Change of Status application fee totals $455. As of October 1, 2023, the $85 biometric fee for Change of Status applications has been removed.

Change of Status Application Process

1. I-539 Application Form Reaches USCIS:

When your application is received by USCIS for consideration, USCIS sends a letter (Notice of Action) to both you and us.

This letter is a confirmation that they have received your application package and that the required fee has been paid in full. In other words, you do not need to do anything at this stage as the letter is for information purposes only.

 

2. Biometric Appointment:

Appointment Date: Approximately 2 weeks after you apply.

After you apply, USCIS invites you to a biometric appointment to take your fingerprints and signature and take your photo. The date and location information is included in the letter sent by USCIS to both you and us.

We will inform you about what you need to do at this stage. Simply show up at the place and date you have been told, with your appointment letter and your passport or driver's license.

NOTE: On page 3 of the biometric appointment letter, there are questions about your physical characteristics: your middle name (if you have one), your country of birth, your race, your eye color, your height... You can fill in these questions before you go to the appointment or you can fill them in when you go to the appointment. When you are done, your appointment slip is stamped and returned to you.

3. Requests for Additional Evidence:

During the evaluation of your application, USCIS may request additional evidence. For example, they may ask for updated information on whether you have violated your status or for additional evidence that your ties in Turkey are strong and that you will return to your country after your studies end. We prioritize these requests for additional evidence so that your application is processed as quickly as possible.

NOTE: We minimize this risk by creating a strong application package on your behalf. For this reason, we have not received a rejection due to missing documents so far. However, even though we create a strong package, your application result is at the discretion of USCIS officers.

 

4. Your Change of Status Application is Finalizing:

You can track the status of your application online. It currently takes approximately 3-9 months to finalize the application. 

 

You can follow the average processing time of Change of Status applications on the USCIS website.

F-1 Student Status Guide

What is F-1 student status?

F-1 status is a non-immigrant status granted to international students who wish to continue their studies at US educational institutions. Students at all levels of education, from elementary school to doctoral studies, must be in F-1 status to study in the US. Students who wish to study at conservatories and language schools should also apply for an F-1 visa.

Who can apply for an F-1 student visa?

Students who have been accepted to a US school (high school, university or graduate school) or who wish to study at a language school can apply for an F-1 visa.

What are the conditions for F-1 status change?

In order to apply for F-1 student status, you must meet the following requirements:

In addition to these, you need to meet a few more requirements in order to apply for F-1 status from within the United States (Change of Status):

What documents are required for F-1 status change?

Which forms are filled out for F-1 status change?

Forms to be filled in during the application:

Additional application forms:

Can the student's family members also go to the US?

Spouses and children of F-1 status holders can also obtain an F-2 visa and travel to the US with the applicant.

How long does it take to apply for F-1 status change?

F-1 applications through Change of Status from within the US take approximately 3 to 8 months to be finalized.

To keep up to date with the time it takes for the I-539 form to be finalized by USCIS USCIS website you can visit.

What is the F-1 change of status application fee?

F-1 application fee from within the U.S. through Change of Status is $370 as of 2023 (I-539 form $370, $85 biometric fee eliminated as of October 1, 2023). The SEVIS registration fee for the application is $350 and is paid before filing the application. Since you paid the SEVIS Registration fee at the time of Work&Travel application, you may not need to pay it again.

If you wish to pursue your application with us, the attorney's fee is $1500 in addition to the application fee.

Is it possible to work in the US with F-1 status?

Only students pursuing academic studies can work with F-1 status. But this work permit has some limits:

In the first year of your studies, you can only work on campus or in places that are close to the campus and connected to the school. For example, library, cafeteria, dormitory, etc.

The main condition for off-campus work is that the school you have completed your first year to be a part of the program. You can choose one of three types of programs to be able to work off-campus: CPT, OPT, 24-month STEM OPT extension.

    • CPT (compulsory internship in the curriculum)

        • The internship is directly related to the student's field of study and is part of the curriculum. A choice of part-time or full-time work is offered.
        • It can only be done before the end of the training, you cannot work with CPT after graduation.
        • In this program, the student finds the internship on his/her own and applies to the officer in charge of SEVIS to get permission for the CPT program.
        • A CPT permit is issued for a specific employer and for a specific period of time. A student can take more than one CPT permit at the same time.
        • Students taking a 1-year full-time CPT program cannot apply for OPT. However, it is possible for students taking part-time CPT program to participate in the OPT program.
 
    • OPT (optional internship)

        • With the OPT program, the student can work up to 12 months in total in the field of study.
        • The internship can be done before the end of the training (Pre-completion OPT") or after the end of the training (Post-completion OPT).
        • In order to work with the OPT program, you must apply for a work permit by filling out the I-765 form and submitting it to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
        • Students who start work with the OPT program while still in school can work a maximum of 20 hours per week.
 
    • 24 Month STEM* OPT Extension (*Science, technology, engineering and math)

        • Students pursuing a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in science, technology, engineering and mathematics from an SEVP-accredited school can request an extension of their OPT program for an additional 24 months after the end of their studies. It is sufficient to have already started an OPT program.
        • An up-to-date list of STEM programs is available here: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/stemList2022.pdf

If you are experiencing economic hardship, you can apply for a work permit by filling out the I-765 form and take off-campus jobs. These jobs do not have to be related to your field.

In order for your application to be accepted, you must prove the following

    • You were in F-1 student status for one academic year.
    • You have a good reputation as a student.
    • You study full-time.
    • Starting work will not affect your full-time studies.
    • Starting a job has become necessary due to economic hardship beyond your control (high depreciation of the currency in your country, natural disaster or war in your country, medical expenses, etc.).
    • On-campus jobs are not enough to meet your needs or there are no suitable on-campus jobs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying with ALO

You can call us right now, send us a WhatsApp message or start answering the questions in the link below. The first step to follow after reaching ALO is to measure your eligibility to obtain F-1 status with Change of Status as a result of your answers to our questions. Thus, if you are not eligible, we will indicate this or if you have a special situation, we will draw a road map accordingly.

The contract you will sign with ALO is a document signed for ALO to represent you. In this contract, the service ALO will provide to you and the fee you will pay for the service are secured in this contract with all its clarity.

Just sign the contract electronically via the link we send you.

You can work with ALO and increase your chances of success by paying a retainer fee of $1500, independent of the fee you have to pay for the Change of Status application. We guarantee our clear pricing policy with a contract, and if you have a special situation, we do not charge extra fees unless we agree with you.

During your application process, you can stay in touch with Attorney Utku Galip Akçok by calling him or sending him a message through the group we will set up on WhatsApp.

During your application process, you can stay in touch with our team by calling or sending a message through the group we will set up on WhatsApp.

We have never experienced this, but in such a case, we undertake to reimburse you the $370 application fee that you will pay to USCIS.

With your answers to these questions, our team fills in all the forms required for the Change of Status application on your behalf.

If you have any questions that you cannot answer, you can always get support by calling or contacting us via WhatsApp.

Yes, the information letters you receive are also sent to us.

There can be no assurance for the outcome of the Change of Status application because although the chances of a satisfactory application package are increased by putting together a satisfactory application package, at the end of the day, the discretion belongs to the USCIS officer. Since we cannot assure you of the outcome of your application, it is not possible for you to recover the attorney's fee you paid to us.

F-1 Change of Status Application Process

You are not required to submit the original versions of the documents requested when applying for F-1 change of status, so you can take photos or scan them and send them to us via a medium of your choice (e-mail, WhatsApp, Google Drive).

We send you the forms we fill out on your behalf over the internet, and you print and sign these forms. You can then photograph or scan these signed documents and send them to us via e-mail or WhatsApp.

You send us your photo digitally in accordance with the photo guidelines, we print it out and add it to your application package.

SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is a system that registers foreign students coming to the United States to study or participate in a cultural exchange program. Before you apply, you must register and pay the SEVIS registration fee.

We need to provide a receipt of payment of the SEVIS registration fee as proof in your application package. Therefore, it must be paid before the application. Since you have already paid the SEVIS fee for the Work& Travel program, you may not need to pay it again.

You can pay the application fee of $455 by credit or debit card. If you prefer, we will make the payments on your behalf and then you can transfer the amount to us via various methods (Zelle, PayPal, Wire, etc.).

 Early approval of your application is not a problem. The only thing you need to be careful about is maintaining your status, that is, you must make sure that you do not violate your F-1 status. An example of a violation would be working at any job or taking an on-campus job more than 30 days before the school start date listed on the I-20 form.

No, the I-20 form must be received before the application as it will be sent with the application package.

Unfortunately, no, once you have paid the application fee, you cannot get it back.

F-1 Status

Your school start date is written on the I-20 form you received from the school. However, your current status does not allow you to enroll in classes, so you have to wait for your application to be approved. If you do not receive approval until 15 days before your school starts, we recommend that you contact the Designated School Officer (DSO). In this case, your start date may be postponed.

Yes, you can. During your studies, you can obtain a driver's license in your state of residence. For more information about this, please contact your school official (DSO).

Yes, you can travel outside the US while you have an F-1 visa. However, we recommend that you first contact the DSO at your school to get detailed information about this.

In order to obtain an F1 visa, you must have English language proficiency or be willing to take an English language course in the US.

No, it is not necessary. After completing your program, you can stay in the US for another 60 days, this period is called the grace period.

If your F-1 visa expires while you are in the U.S. and your status continues, you do not need to renew your visa unless you plan to travel outside the U.S. and return. Your status will also continue for the duration of your study program, unless otherwise. You can renew your visa through consulates when you return to your home country.

Yes, you can transfer to another SEVP approved institution by contacting the DSO (Designated School Officer) and getting an I-20 for transfer from the new institution.

You cannot get a Green Card directly with an F-1 student visa, but you can get a Green Card in different ways. For example, you can get a Green Card through employment if you are offered a job in the US and meet the other requirements; you can get a Green Card through marriage if you marry a US citizen or Green Card holder; you can apply for a Green Card if you participate in a Green Card lottery and win.

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