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International Students

Admitted F-1/J-1 Students

Contact Us  

International Students

Center for International Programs
West Chester University
320 Mitchell Hall
675 S. Church Street
West Chester, PA 19383


Email: international@wcupa.edu
Phone: 610-436-3515
Fax: 610-436-3426


Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 4:30pm


International Student Advising:
Make an appointment.
Limited availability for walk-ins.

Changing Visa Status to F-1

Option 1: COS Application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

This option requires students to file a COS within the U.S. The processing time is approximately 3-4 months. The CIP will issue a "Change of Status" I-20 for this option. Once the student receives the I-20, they must make an appointment with an CIP immigration advisor to review the required documents for USCIS application. Simply obtaining the I-20 does not change a student's status to F-1. Students must submit the application packet to USCIS and receive COS approval.

Depending on the student's current status, enrollment at WCU prior to the change of status approval may be affected in the following ways:

  • Individuals on F-2 Status: F-2 status holders cannot register for classes or receive any paid assistantships or on-campus employment work authorizations until the COS has been approved.
  • Individuals on H-4, L-2, R-2 Statuses: These students can register for classes while the COS is pending but cannot receive any paid assistantships or on-campus work authorizations until the COS has been approved.
  • Individuals on H-1B Status: H-1B status holders can register for classes while the COS is pending but cannot receive any assistantships/funding or on-campus work authorizations until the COS is approved. In addition, as the student's current status is dependent upon employment, they should maintain employment until the change of status has been approved. There is no grace period for H-1B status holders if terminated from their job. Even with a COS case pending, termination of employment can affect immigration status and the COS application.

Option 2: Travel and Re-enter the U.S. in F-1 Student Status

This option requires students to depart the U.S. and re-enter in F-1 student status. The student is required to:

This procedure automatically changes the student's status to F-1 upon entry to the U.S. The length of this procedure varies depending upon the student's departure date from the U.S. and the processing time for the F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate abroad. However, applicants can register for classes and receive paid assistantships or on-campus employment immediately after re-entering the U.S. in F-1 status.

COS I-20 Request Process

  • Choose one of the COS options above and complete the COS I-20 Request Form
  • Make an appointment to see a DSO/RO to receive approval
  • Upon the CIP approval of the COS, as well as submission of the appropriate financial documents to West Chester University's international programs, the I-20 will be processed within 1 week

Once the I-20 is issued, students cannot change the type of I-20 they receive unless there is a sufficient reason to do so. Processing time for the I-20 normally takes one week, if all the proper financial statements have been submitted.

I-20 processing questions must be emailed

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