The Office of International Affairs (OIA) is available to help all students and scholars with questions or concerns regarding F-1 or J-1 immigration status and procedures. The OIA employs immigration advisors to answer immigration and status questions in general. We also offer information on how to:

  • Travel abroad
  • File for extending your program
  • Bring a family member here or welcome your family for a visit
  • Stay in compliance 
  • Get back into compliance if you fall out 

For special circumstances, such as extending your stay or taking a leave of absence, please make an appointment so we can help you complete the appropriate paperwork.

Talk with OIA staff

We offer walk-in hours, or you can schedule an appointment with an advisor. Contact us.

Maintain your status

As an international student or exchange visitor, you must understand and abide by the immigration rules and regulations that affect your stay in the U.S. Let the OIA be your guide as you navigate the immigration process. 

Follow these requirements to keep your visa status in good standing.

  • When you arrive at UM-Dearborn, attend the required check-in programs and orientation program offered by the OIA.
  • Attend the school you are authorized to attend as recorded on your I-20 or DS-2019. Please consult the OIA with questions regarding the transfer of your SEVIS record, if you intend to transfer to another institution. 
  • Maintain a full course of study (12 hours for undergraduates and 8 hours for graduate students) and make normal progress toward the completion of your course of study. F-1 students should always schedule an appointment to talk with an international student adviser before dropping classes for any reason. While rare exceptions allowing students to drop below full-time exist, they must always be approved in advance. 
  • Be in good academic standing and make progress in your academic program.
  • Maintain health insurance.
  • Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours a week while school is in session. You can work full-time on campus during vacation periods such as summer, as long as you were enrolled full-time the term before and intend to be full-time the following term. 
  • Obtain authorization for off-campus employment. 
  • Report your temporary out-of-country status to the International Office. See the 2-year home country physical presence requirement
  • Keep your passport valid at all times. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future on the day you return to the U.S. from a trip abroad.
  • Extend your I-20 or DS-2019 prior to its expiration date if you are unable to complete your academic program within the allotted time frame. Program dates are recorded on page one of your I-20 or DS-2019. 
  • Email and inform OIA if you leave the program 30 days or more before the end date of the DS-2019.
  • Formally change your address with the university and International Office if you move.

Change of status to F- or J- visa

If you are in good standing in your nonimmigrant classification (see chart below for restrictions), you may apply to change to any other nonimmigrant status for which you qualify. In any case, you should be able to explain why you did not come into the U.S. with the status you are now requesting.

Make file copies of all documents before mailing them to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Use a receipt-based mailing option such as certified mail, so that there will be evidence that the documents were received by USCIS.   

The USCIS may deny a request by an F-1 student to change to J-1 student status if the officer believes that the reason for the change is mainly so your dependents may apply for permission to accept employment.

Change of status to F-visa

Restrictions

Certain nonimmigrants are not permitted to change status to F-1 while in the United States, unless you first obtain an F-1 visa and re-enter the United States. 

The following are not permitted to change status to F-1 in the United States:

  • M-1 students
  • C,D, and K nonimmigrants
  • J-1 physicians admitted to receive graduate medical education or training
  • J nonimmigrants subject to the 212 9e) 2-year foreign residence requirement
  • Aliens admitted as visitors under 8 C.F.R., 212.1(e)
  • WT and WB visitors admitted under the Visa Waiver Program

The USCIS may deny a request by an F-1 student to change to J-1 student status if the officer believes that the reason for the change is mainly so your dependents may apply for permission to accept employment.

Required documents
  • Form I-539 application to extend or change nonimmigrant status.
  • Form I-539 fee. The proper fee, in the form of a check or money order payable to "USCIS"
  • Proof or payment of SEVIS fee
  • Copy of both sides of Form I-94 and any other documents that establish current maintenance of nonimmigrant status.
  • Copy of Visa stamp
  • Copy of Passport ID pages
  • Copy of financial support documents
  • Letter from student explaining satisfactorily why you did not originally enter the U.S. in the status now being requested.
  • Original I-20. The student should submit an original Form I-20 which has an issue reason of "Initial attendance - change of status requested." Be sure it is signed by the student and the DSO. 
  • Dependent family member documents.
Mail to

USCIS service center mailing address on Form I-539

Change of status to J-visa

Restrictions

Aliens holding nonimmigrant status C, D, K, WB or WT (transit, crewman, fiancee or fiance, waiver business, or waiver tourist) are not eligible for change to any other status within the U.S., including J-1. 

A J-2 who is subject to the 212(e) home residence requirement may not change from J-2 to J-1 status in the United States.

Required documents
  • Form I-539 application to extend or change nonimmigrant status.
  • Form I-539 fee. The proper fee, in the form of a check or money order payable to "USCIS"
  • Proof or payment of SEVIS fee
  • Copy of both sides of Form I-94 and any other documents that establish current maintenance of nonimmigrant status.
  • Copy of Visa stamp
  • Copy of Passport ID pages
  • Copy of financial support documents
  • Letter from student explaining satisfactorily why you did not originally enter the U.S. in the status now being requested.
  • Form DS-2019 properly completed by the RO and completed and signed by the exchange visitor, as well as a Form DS-2019 for each accompanying dependent family member.
  • I-566 if changing from A or G status.
Mail to

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 87539 
Lincoln, NE 
68501-7539

Office of International Affairs

Room 108
The Union at Dearborn
Phone: 
313-583-6600
Fax: 
313-583-6725
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