H4 to F1 on reaching 21 years


Thanks for the great service you are rendering to the public. The forum has been of immense help to thousands.

My son, an H4 student, will graduate in May 2021 but be 21 years old in Dec 2020. So he needs to change H4 to F1, & he plans to do so in summer 2020.

1- Can I just apply to his university with required financial docs, and my son can go to India to get F1 stamped? Do we need to fill in any forms (other than those required for the visa interview at the embassy)?
2- If F1 at the embassy is denied, will it affect his H4 status?
3- If F1 is denied, and on his arrival from India, we apply for COS - does his existing H4 status freeze?


Hi @sanoel

Your son can get F1 visa stamped in India.

The H4 visa is separate and your son can enter US using H4 is it is not cancelled by US embassy.

My suggestion is to send your son to Canada for higher studies than making him study in US. This way, he can easily get Canada PR and be at-least safe from US visa and green card issues.

Since he is crossing age 21, he will be on his own from now and will have to go through same H1B process as you have.

Thanks a lot for your reply & advise. i agree with you.

My son turns 21 (in Dec 2020) before he ends his undergrad course (May 2021) in the US. After that he may go to Canada for his masters (or OPT in the US, though highly improbable.) So his H4 has to be changed to F1 for the intervening few months.

If F1 is denied in India for any reasons, and on his arrival from India on H4, we apply for COS - does his existing H4 status freeze?
And he can stay in US till the end of his degree in May 2021?

Thanks again!

Hi @sanoel

There is no status freeze that happens. The F1 status should be approved before it can be used. Normally, in H4 to f1 change of status cases, attorneys recommend to file it 2 years before you actually intend to use it.

Thanks a lot.

Can one travel abroad (to get F1 visa stamped abroad) within H4 validity, while i-539 is in process? That is - can both processes run in parallel?

The pending H4 extension in US is only meant for extending H4 status while you don’t intend to travel.

Once you travel, the approval or denial of extension won’t make any difference. You will have to get some visa stamp like F1 or H4 to enter back into US.

The pending H4 extension will become useless once you step out of US.

Thanks a lot again, for your advise.
Last: What forms are required to be submitted for change of status from H4 to F1, due to the H4 holder achieving 21 years of age? Can it be done by self or you suggest to seek services of an attorney?

Hi @sanoel

You can do it yourself. Use form i539.

Thanks a lot.