International Frequently Asked Question

How long does it take to receive an F-1 visa? How long does it take to receive a change of status to F-1?

If you are abroad

F-1 visa interviews for people who are abroad are held at a U.S. consulate or embassy.

  • Contact the consulate or embassy to schedule an appointment. Learn about the documents you need and fees.
  • Visa appointment wait times.
  • Review these 10 points to help you better prepare for your F-1 student visa interview.

If you are in the U.S.

To apply for a change of status to your F-1 visa from within the U.S.,

  • File an I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status form with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
    The Field Office or Service Center will be in California or Vermont. Applicants do not get to decide which service center processes their I-539 application.
  • Check your USCIS case processing times. Note these are only estimated times. Case processing times may be much longer.


International student advisers at UCSC Extension cannot submit applications to USCIS on behalf of a student, but we can help answer questions.