Applying for a Change of Status (COS)

Individuals currently on a non-immigrant visa who want to apply for a change of status (COS) to an F-1 visa must first fulfill the requirements of obtaining a Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility, before applying for a change of status. If you are granted the I-20, you must first pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, and then submit Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status. Individuals are encouraged to apply online using USCIS ELIS. All required documents should be scanned as a PDF or JPEG file; maximum size of each file is 6 MB. 

Important Notes For COS Applicants:

  • Not all non-immigrant visa holders are eligible to apply for a change of status to F-1. Verify with USCIS to see if you are eligible. 
  • Applicants may start attending school prior to receiving approval of COS except for applicants changing from B-1/B-2 or F-2 status. 
  • Applicants who travel abroad while a COS application is pending are considered to have abandoned the COS application; the application will be denied if U.S. Department of Homeland Security becomes aware of the departure.

To understand the admissions requirements and application process, and the requirements for the COS application, download the 2014-2015 International Student (F1) Admissions Application Packet. Read the packet carefully and completely.

Individuals applying for a COS to F-1 must submit all application requirements together by the following deadlines*:

  • Fall admission: June 1
  • Spring admission: October 1
  • Summer admission: March 1

*If you are interested in playing sports in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), please contact the respective coach. You may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Admissions Requirements for Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility

  • International Student Application and Application for Enrollment. International students may not apply online. 
  • Visa/Immigration Documents. Students outside of the U.S. need to submit a color copy of their passport ID page.
  • Proof of English Proficiency.  If English is not your first language, you must provide proof of your proficiency in English. We accept official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). You must obtain a minimum TOEFL score of 500 on the paper-based test, 173 on the computer-based test, or 61 on the internet-based test to be considered for admission. If you have not taken the TOEFL, you will be required to take the HCC Academic Skills Assessment and obtain certain scores to be deemed proficient in English.
  • Sponsor's Affidavit of Cash Support.  You or your sponsor(s) must have the financial resources to fund your education and all costs associated with attending college. You must submit signed and notarized Affidavits along with current bank statement(s) for each  sponsor supporting your education. The balance of the bank statements must equal to at least $17,000* (*cost is subject to change). 
  • Sponsor's Affidavit of Room and Board.  Since there are no residence halls or dormitories on campus, you must demonstrate the availability of housing with a local sponsor, family member, or friend, provide your own housing.  Submit a signed and notarized Sponsor's Affidavit of Free Room and Board along with a copy of your housing sponsor’s deed or lease.  Students without local addresses at the time of application will not be considered for admission.

Recommended Documents

  • Official High School/Secondary School Transcripts.  Although high school transcripts are not required for admission, your transfer school of choice after Harford Community College may require a copy.
  • Health insurance.  Health care coverage is highly recommended but is not required for admission.  Note: Health insurance is required for student athletes.  Athletes must submit documentation of their health insurance.

Please Note: In order to qualify for admission, you must satisfy the requirements of both Harford Community College and USCIS.  Harford Community College has the right to approve or deny admission to students based on review of the required documents.  Once all materials are received and approved, HCC will prepare the I-20 form and send it to the student (or local sponsor).  Be advised that permission to attend Harford Community College is provisional, based on the final decision of the USCIS to approve your application for a change of status.