Total Law
0204 502 8582 (local rate)

Mon - Sun, 8.30 am - 6pm

H4 to F1 Change of Status

Holders of the H4 Visa who want to study at an academic institution in the US might be able to convert their status from the H4 to the F1 Visa. Find out more about the requirements and the application process.

Call our lawyers today on +1 844 290 6312 to receive professional assistance with your situation.

    Request a call back from our immigration experts

    What is the H4 Visa?

    The H4 Visa is intended for dependents of H-1B, H-1B1, H-2A, H-2B, and H-3 visa holders. Eligible individuals include spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of those who have H-type visas in the US.

    Those who come to the US on the H4 Visa have the right to apply for employment authorization allowing them to work, and they can study full-time or part-time.

    As the H4 Visa is issued to dependent family members of H-type visa holders, its validity is tied to the validity of the permit of the principal visa holder.

    For example, if the principal visa holder is in the US with the H1B visa and they lose their job, the holder of the H4 Visa has 60 days to get another nonimmigrant status to be able to stay in the US.

    Similarly, when the dependent child who came to the US on the H4 Visa turns 21, they need to get another non-immigrant visa, such as the F1 Student Visa, to have the right to remain in the US.

    EXCELLENT
    Immigration Advice Service 4.7 rating 414 reviews
    Reviews.io Logo

    What is the F1 Visa?

    The F1 Visa is intended for international students who want to study at an educational institution in the US. It is issued to those coming to complete a study program at an academic institution such as a university, college, or high school.

    To be able to obtain the F1 Visa, applicants must be enrolled as full-time students at an educational institution in the US. It is not possible to apply for the F1 Visa without first being accepted to study at an academic institution that has been approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

    Holders of the F1 Visa have the right to remain in the US for the duration of their studies and for an additional 60 days after they complete their study program. While living in the US with the F1 Visa, international students can work for up to 20 hours per week during term time and more than 20 hours per week during holiday periods.

    Can I change status from H4 to F1?

    Holders of the H4 Visa have the right to study in the US. They do not have to apply for the F1 Student Visa separately. However, if holders of the H4 Visa decide that they want to change their status to F1, they have the right to do so.

    For example, they might want to do that if they are about to turn 21 and they want to keep living in the US. Similarly, if the visa of the primary visa holder who sponsored them for the H4 Visa is about to expire and they wish to complete a degree in the US, they might consider changing to F1 status.

    Besides, holders of the F1 Visa have the right to work as teacher’s assistants or resident assistants at their universities and they can easily change to the H1B status if they receive a job offer after completing their studies.

    To change from H4 status to F1, they must go through a change of status process, pay the relevant fees, and submit supporting documents that confirm their eligibility.

    How to change status from H4 to F1?

    Holders of the H4 Visa who want to change their status to F1 must submit the H4 to F1 transition of status petition I-539 online. They must pay a USD 370 fee for the processing of the form, as well as a USD 85 biometric fee.

    After completing the form, applicants must submit the following documents to USCIS:

    • Copy of I-20 from their university
    • University acceptance letter
    • Copy of their passport
    • Copy of a recent I-94
    • Details of any past H4 Visa extensions
    • Proof of having enough finances to pay for tuition and living expenses
    • Cover letter explaining why they wish to change their status
    • Proof of planning to return to their home country after their F1 Visa expires
    • Receipt confirming that they paid all the relevant fees

    The exact documents applicants for the change of status must provide vary depending on the individual circumstances of each applicant. This is why it is advisable to hire an immigration lawyer who can help you put together a complete portfolio of evidence.

    Processing applications for the change of status takes between 3 to 9 months on average.

    Is a visa interview required to change status from H4 to F1?

    To change their status from H4 to F1 through the I-539 change of status petition, applicants must be in the US. If their application is approved, their status will be changed while they are in the country. A visa interview is not a requirement.

    However, if the applicant leaves the US and wants to get their F1 status outside of the country, they need to go to a US Consulate to get their F1 visa stamped. To be able to do that, they must attend a visa interview.

    During the visa interview, immigration officials will ask the applicant why they want to change from H4 to F1 status and what their plans after graduation are. The F1 Student Visa is a non-immigrant permit so the applicant must prove that they plan to leave the US after their studies.

    If an immigration official does not approve the change of status, the H4 Visa holder can still come back to the US and continue their studies on the H4 Visa provided that their permit is still valid.

    Students in class

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance with your H4/F1 Visa application. Learn more

      Request a call back from our immigration experts

      How Can Total Law Help?

      At Total Law, we have a team of highly qualified lawyers who have helped many clients successfully apply for various US visas or change their immigration status from one permit to another.

      If you want to change your immigration status from H4 to F1, our lawyers can guide you through the process. They can help you gather all the necessary documents and answer any questions you might have.

      Our lawyers can also explain to you the conditions of the H4 Visa and the F1 Visa to help you determine whether you should change your status.

      Thanks to the professional assistance of our team, you can maximize your chances of success.

      Call us today on +1 844 290 6312 to find out more about how our lawyers can help.

      Advice Package icon

      Advice Package

      Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.

      Application Package icon

      Application Package

      Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.

      Fast Track Package icon

      Fast Track Package

      Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.

      Appeal Package icon

      Appeal Package

      Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.

      Advice Package image

      The Advice Package

      During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.

        Request a call back from our immigration experts

        Request the Advice Package
        Application Package image

        The Application Package

        With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.

          Request a call back from our immigration experts

          Request the Application Package
          Fast Track Package image

          The Fast Track Package

          Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.

            Request a call back from our immigration experts

            Request the Fast Track Package
            Appeal Package image

            The Appeal Package

            By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.

              Request a call back from our immigration experts

              Request the Appeal Package

              We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone. Learn more

                Request a call back from our immigration experts

                Related pages for your continued reading.

                Frequently Asked Questions

                The H4 Visa is granted to spouses and dependent children of H-type visa holders. However, to qualify for the H4 Visa, dependent children must be younger than 21 years of age.

                Spouses and dependent children are eligible for the H4 Visa as long as their family member in the US has an H-1B, H1B1, H2A, H2B, or H3 visa.

                Those who successfully obtain the H4 Visa have the right to stay in the US for as long as the H visa of the primary visa holder is valid.

                Holders of the F1 Visa can stay in the US for the duration of their study course, as well as an additional 60 days after completing the study program. Therefore, the exact duration of the F1 Visa varies.

                The F1 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa which means that international students must leave the US after finishing their studies. Those who get a job offer in the US might be able to transfer their F1 Status to the H1-B one intended for skilled workers.

                Those who come to the US on the H4 Visa have the right to study in the US full-time and part-time without having to obtain any additional permits. This means that if you want to enroll in a study course at an academic institution in the US, you do not need to apply for the F1 Student Visa.

                When applying to change status from H4 to F1, applicants must pay a fee of USD 370 for H4 to F1 change of status. They must also pay an additional USD 85 for biometrics collection.

                While there are no specific requirements regarding the minimum amount of money applicants must have, they must also prove that they have enough funds to cover tuition fees and support themselves while studying in the US.