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Many people travel to the United States on a tourist visa and then decide to stay to study. This article explains how to change a tourist visa to a student visa quickly and effectively.

If you wish to change the purpose of your visit while you are in the United States, you must submit an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) using the appropriate form before your authorization to stay expires.

For example, if you arrived as a tourist, but wish to become a student, you must file an application to change your status.

Procedure to change a tourist visa to a student visa

Here are the steps to follow to change your nonimmigrant status within the United States.

Acceptance in an educational institution

You must be accepted to an educational institution before applying for a change of status. In other words, you must enroll in a university, conservatory, language school or technical institute, and have been accepted, before taking any other step.

Obtaining Form I-20

The I-20 form is an official government document that certifies that a person is eligible to apply for a student visa. This will be given to you by the institution where you are enrolled to take to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS).

Payment of the SEVIS fee

You must pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee, which currently has a flat rate of $350.

Form I-539 and payment of fees

The next step will be for you to complete Form I-539, which will allow you to apply for a change of status as a nonimmigrant, in which you will seek to cease to be legally viewed as a tourist and become a student.

You will immediately pay the fees corresponding to the change of status.

Maintenance of current status

While awaiting approval of your change of status, you must maintain your tourist status by complying with all the conditions of that status.

When can’t you change from a tourist visa to a student visa in the United States?

In general, you can always apply for a change of nonimmigrant status if you were lawfully admitted to the United States on a nonimmigrant visa, if the nonimmigrant status is still valid and you have not violated the conditions of your status or committed any crime that would make you ineligible.

Study English with Lingua Language Center

If you are in Florida as a tourist, and you want to stay a little longer studying English, write to us! At Lingua Language Center, we will give you all the information you need to change your non-immigrant status from tourist to student.

In addition, we can give you all the advice you need regarding academic issues, living expenses, housing and any other questions you may have.Write to us or come to our offices!

We have been accepting foreign students since the late 1990s, and have graduated more than 10,000 from our Florida state schools.