Skip to main content

Students In the US Seeking Change of StatusProspective International Students

Students in the U.S. Seeking a Change of Status

How to Apply

There have been a number of changes to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requirements for nonimmigrants seeking to change their status to F or M. Those interested in changing their status to F or M student status should read the USCIS guidance on changing to a nonimmigrant F or M student status. Per USCIS requirements, in order to qualify for a change of status, students must have a valid status. The cost for applying for a change of status is $370 (I-539 form) with an additional $350 for the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) fee.

If your change of status application is approved by USCIS, you’ll receive the benefits of the F-1 status, but you won’t receive an F-1 visa in your passport. An F-1 visa is required to re-enter the U.S.

If you’re interested in changing your status, play our video “How to Become an International Student at COA” and follow the steps below in the order listed.

Due to Covid-19, in-person information sessions are not currently being held. Students should contact Katie Cross at for international student information session materials.
Apply online. Students are required to complete the entire COA application which includes completing the Residency Determination Services part of the application. Once accepted students will be sent an acceptance letter via email. Students should save this letter for their visa interview. The application is required. International students may enroll in programs that have been approved by the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). COA also requires a $50 Application Processing Fee be paid prior to submission of your I-20 documentation.


Lasted updated: January 2020

The following programs permit F-1 international student enrollment:

  • Associate Degree Nursing
  • Associate in Arts
  • Associate in Engineering
  • Associate in Fine Arts in Theatre
  • Associate in Fine Arts in Visual Arts
  • Associate in General Education
  • Associate in Science
  • Associate in Applied Sciences – Business Administration
  • Associate in Applied Sciences – Global Business
  • Associate in General Occupational Technology
  • Professional Crafts: Jewelry
  • Agribusiness Technology
  • Health and Fitness Science
  • Aviation Systems Technology
  • Computer Aided Drafting Technology
  • Healthcare Business Informatics
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Medical Office Administration
  • Surgical Technology
  • Human Services Technology

Apply Today

If you experience login issues or need assistance with your College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) account, please call 866-866-2362.

Before COA can issue you an I-20 we have to determine that students meet the minimum English reading and writing requirements. International students currently in the U.S. can complete the COA placement test. International students must earn 34 points on the English portion of the placement test in order to qualify for an I-20. Students are given two opportunities to earn the necessary score on the placement test.

Students overseas must take the TOEFL or ILETS Academic exam and earn the minimum scores: TOEFL — Internet Based 40, Paper Based 425, Computer Based 120. The ILETS Academic score we accept is a 5 or higher. We only accept the TOEFL, ILETS Academic or the RISE test (the RISE placement test can only be taken in North Carolina). Once students have earned the required English score on the TOEFL, ILETS Academic or the RISE placement test, students will be required to complete RISE math placement test for enrollment purposes.

Students must first complete the Information Session survey before being able to register for the placement test.

An I-20 is a certificate or eligibility an is required for all international students seeking to enroll at COA. The documents required for an I-20 are listed on COA’s I-20 application along with the specific details of each requirement.
Once the student has completed the I-20 application and has gathered all the required documentation, students should email their documentation (in one email) to a COA Designated School Official (DSO). Once all the required documentation has been submitted and approved, a college DSO will create the student’s Form I-20.

Students should allow one to two weeks for a Form I-20 to be processed and completed. Once a student’s Form I-20 is processed and completed they will be contacted via email. Due to Covid-19, a Form I-20 can be digitally signed by a DSO and can be emailed to a student.


Katie Cross:
Brie Barclift:

Students interested in changing their status should work with their lawyer to submit the proper documentation to U.S. Customs and Immigration Services. Students seeking to return home should make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy once they return to their home country.


  • Cross, Katie

  • Coordinator, International Student Services and Academic Advisor

  • COA – Dare: 104

  • 252-473-2264 ext. 7011

  • Barclift, Brianna

  • Academic Advisor

  • COA – Elizabeth City: AE 133

  • 252-335-0821 ext. 2281