Instructions for B Visitors Who Want to Enroll in College

As a B-1 or B-2 visa holder, it is common to inquire about if you can enroll in college.The answer, unfortunately, is no. However, that does not mean you cannot attend a United States college. It simply means that you must adjust your visa status. B Visitors who want to enroll in college in the United States must request a change to an F or M visa before you can enroll.

The Risk of Out of Status

If you were to enroll in college for full course studies using a B1, B2 or B1/B2, you would be in violation of your visa and termed “out of status.” Any violation makes you ineligible to remain in the United States; also you would be barred from changing to a school-approved class like M or F.

The Proper Steps Required to Move to a New Status

With your B visa, there are steps you can take to make progress to a new status. Most importantly, you cannot register for school until you do so.

Find Out School Requirements

You must find out the eligibility needs of the school, including special requirements for visitors using visas. You can register as an international student, but do not enroll in classes. Once you enroll, you are in violation. Therefore, only register.

Apply for a Status Change

Next, you must apply to change your status using Form I-539 with USCIS.

Your request must be for an M or F status. Whether you pick an F1 or M1 will depend on the school and education program you seek.

Most importantly, you must request a change before your B visa expires. Once it expires, you might not receive a status change. If you are close to expiration, you can request an extension of the stay so that you have time to complete the process.

What to Do When Your Status Change is Denied

A surprising number of status changes are denied each year, but that does not mean you are without options. Instead, you can apply for a student visa from the consulate. However, you must leave and then reapply.

It Is Best to Consult with an Immigration  Attorney

While you certainly can go through the steps on your own, your chances of being approved and changing before school starts increase with an immigration attorney. Speak with a lawyer from Udall Shumway, PLC by contacting our offices online or by calling us directly at 480.461.5300.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding B Visitors Who Want to Enroll in College, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.