Change of Status to Student from Tourist
It is possible to change your status from a tourist to a student. However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.
You must prove to USCIS that it was NOT your intent to change your status to student when you entered the United States with your tourist visa. When you enter with a tourist visa, you are declaring to the officer at the port of entry that you are only entering as a tourist, will only do tourist activities and will leave the United States before the expiration of your tourist status.
If you apply for a change of status to student from tourist within 60 days of entering the country, USCIS will likely suspect you had preconceived intent and there is a good chance your application will be denied.
Types of Evidence to Show You Did Not Have Preconceived Intent
You might want to consider submitting with your application the following types of documents (this is only a sample list and is not intended as an exhaustive list):
- Proof you had a roundtrip ticket;
- Proof of employment in your home country;
- Proof of family-members in your home country;
- Proof of membership in organizations or other groups in your home country;
- Proof of assets in your home country;
- Proof you have only been involved in tourist activities while in the US as a tourist, such as photos;
- Personal statement describing how it was not after you entered the USA that you became interested in changing your status and how the education will benefit you back in your home country;
Proof You Can Afford to be a Student Without Having to Work
While in student status, you are generally not allowed to work. Therefore, you must prove to USCIS that you have the financial means to support yourself without working. If you are unable to show that you personally have enough funds (such as through bank records), you may need a sponsor to submit a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support with all supporting documents.
Please note that an application for a change of status to student from tourist cannot begin courses until the application has been approved. Therefore, an application should be submitted as soon as possible keeping in mind the 60 day rule on preconceived intent mentioned above. Current processing times are at Processing Time Information from USCIS.