If you are currently in the United States, but not in F-1 or J-1 status, you may or may not need to change your legal status to pursue full-time study at Rutgers. Please consult with an adviser to discuss your individual situation. If you presently hold a different non-immigrant status and are certain you want to obtain F-1 or J-1 status, please read the instructions below.
In order to change your status to F-1 or J-1, you must first obtain an certificate of eligibility I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1). Newly admitted students obtain an I-20 or DS-2019 from either Graduate or Undergraduate Admissions, or from the Rutgers Global–International Student and Scholar Services (Newark) if you are an RBHS student. For students who are already enrolled at Rutgers, we are the appropriate office to contact.
There are two possible ways to obtain F-1 or J-1 student status:
Obtaining F-1 or J-1 Status While Remaining in the United States
This entails obtaining an "initial attendance" I-20 or DS-2019 from the appropriate Rutgers office and submitting it with an application for "change of status" to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
On February 6, 2018, USCIS updated their guidance on Changing to a Nonimmigrant F Student Status. Students considering applying for a change to F-1 status while remaining in the United States are strongly encouraged to consult with an immigration attorney, especially if their current legal status will expire within less than one year.
For specific instructions on applying for a change to F-1 status while remaining in the United States, please see our Application for Change of Status to F-1 Student instructions. Please consider meeting with your international student adviser for more guidance.
For more guidance on applying for a change to J-1 status while remaining in the United States, please meet with your international student adviser.
Obtaining F-1 or J-1 Status via Travel
This entails obtaining an "initial attendance" I-20 or DS-2019 from the appropriate Rutgers office, traveling outside the United States and applying for an F-1 or J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate abroad (preferably in your home country), and then returning to the United States where you will be granted F-1 or J-1 status upon re-entry. We encourage you to meet with your international student adviser to discuss your plans and visa application considerations.