H4 to F1 Visa Conversion Procedure: A Comprehensive Guide

The H4 visa is a dependent visa issued to the spouse and children of an H1B visa holder, which allows them to stay in the United States. However, if you are an H4 visa holder and want to pursue education in the United States, you can convert your visa to an F1 visa. In this guide, we will explain the step-by-step process and eligibility criteria for converting an H4 visa to an F1 visa in the United States.

Key Takeaways

  • H4 visa holders can pursue education while in the US by converting to an F1 visa.
  • Eligibility criteria for converting to an F1 visa include being accepted to a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-approved school, having the financial resources to support oneself, and having a valid passport.
  • H4 visa holders must apply for a change of status from H4 to F1 visa.
  • H4 visa holders can only engage in part-time on-campus employment while studying on an F1 visa.

Eligibility Criteria for Converting to an F1 Visa

  • Acceptance into a SEVP-Approved School: To be eligible for an F1 visa, you must first apply and be accepted to a school that is approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). You need to obtain an I-20 form from the school to initiate the visa application process.
  • Financial Resources: You must be able to demonstrate that you have sufficient financial resources to support yourself during your course of study. This includes not only tuition and fees but also living expenses.
  • Valid Passport: You must have a valid passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the requested period of stay in the United States.
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Step-by-Step Process for Converting H4 to F1 Visa

Once you meet the eligibility criteria, you can begin the process of converting your H4 visa to an F1 visa:

Step 1: Get Admitted to a SEVP-Approved School

The first step is to apply and be admitted to a SEVP-approved school. Once admitted, the school will send you an I-20 form that you will need to complete and submit along with your visa application.

Step 2: Pay the SEVIS Fee

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee is required for all F1 visa applicants. You can pay the fee online using a credit card or by mailing a check or money order to the address indicated on the SEVIS form.

Step 3: Schedule a Visa Interview

After submitting your application and SEVIS fee, you can schedule a visa interview at the nearest consulate or embassy in your home country. Be sure to bring all the necessary documents and information, including your I-20, passport, SEVIS fee receipt, and any additional documents requested by the consulate or embassy.

Step 4: Attend the Visa Interview

The visa interview is an important part of the application process, and you must convince the consular officer that you plan to return to your home country after completing your studies. During the interview, you may be asked questions about your program of study, the school you will attend, and your future plans.

Step 5: Change of Status from H4 to F1

Upon approval of your F1 visa application, you can then file for a change of status from H4 to F1. This involves submitting an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with the necessary paperwork and fee.

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Step 6: Study and Work

Once you have been granted an F1 visa or change of status, you can begin your studies at the SEVP-approved school. You can only engage in part-time on-campus employment while studying on an F1 visa.


Converting an H4 visa to an F1 visa is a multi-step process that requires planning and preparation. Make sure you meet the eligibility criteria, have all the necessary documents and information, and are prepared for the visa interview. With the right preparation and a little patience, you can successfully convert your H4 visa to an F1 visa and pursue your education in the United States.


Q. Can I work on an F1 visa?A. Yes, but only part-time on-campus employment is allowed while studying.

Q. How long does it take to process an F1 visa?A. Processing times vary depending on the individual circumstances and the consulate or embassy. It is best to check with the specific consulate or embassy for current processing times.

Q. Can I travel outside the US while on an F1 visa?A. Yes, you can travel outside the US, but you will need to have a valid F1 visa, valid passport, and travel endorsement on your I-20 form. However, it is recommended that you check with your designated school official (DSO) before traveling internationally.

About the Author

Latasha W. Bolt

Latasha is a travel writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a degree in journalism and has been traveling the world since she was a teenager. Latasha is experienced in navigating the visa and passport application process and shares her knowledge and experiences on the blog. Her articles are personal and engaging, providing readers with a unique perspective on the joys and challenges of international travel.

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