Guide to converting H-4 status to F-1

Being a student in the foreign land comes with its fair share of hardships. While one must learn new ways to adapt themselves there is always a major priority with adhering to the immigration rules and following up on all the latest happenings. Students in the US from other countries often face the difficulty of going through the country’s strict laws when it comes to immigrants. One such is the conversion of H-4 status to F-1 status.

To ease a bit of your headache, here is how you can make the conversion.

  • Under the options to obtaining F-1 status, decide first whether you want to use “Travel and Re-entry” or “Change status in the US”.
  • After deciding on the above factor, you must schedule an appointment with your assigned International Student Services (ISS) to discuss the plan ahead.
  • After this comes to the step of procuring the I-20 from the concerned institute or applying for one. I-20 is basically a document issued by the SEVP-certified School to the concerned authorities informing about the student’s F or M status.
  • After you’ve applied for the I-20, wait for at least 7 to 10 business days for the processing of your application.

One important decision in the steps is to decide whether to go for “travel and re-entry’ or “change status in the US” as both come with their share of advantages and disadvantages.

Travel and Re-entry

This procedure makes you leave the US with an application for a new visa at the US Consulate and then re-enter the US with the new status.


  • This procedure is often less time consuming rather than changing the status in the states.
  • This procedure provides you the Visa and the Status together.


  • This process makes for the expense of the trip.
  • There is no guarantee that it WILL happen faster, it’s only often that this process is faster but not all the time.

Change Status in the US:

his is the change of status by an application to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) while staying in the states itself.


  • Avoidance of the expense of leaving the country.
  • No problem with Visa application process.


  • The processing generally takes a lot longer time.
  • You cannot leave the states when in process or else the application gets canceled.

We hope this short piece has given you the basic idea of what’s what. Now that you know the procedure in short, it won’t be a real mess to convert your status!