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Will a person having a B1/B2 visa be allowed to retain their B1/B2 visa status along with F1 status? If so, can that person enter USA with the B1/B2 visa? I want to enter USA more than 30 days before my course starts at my university, which is not allowed with a F1 visa. Will it be necessary for me to leave and re-enter USA with an F1 visa before commencement of my course?

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As per the B1-B2 visa, you are not allowed to stay within the country for greater than six months, this was easily checked in the past with the I-94 form. As of now, this form is completely electronic, but the restriction still holds.

So, I'd say there are some kinks to the process. If you were to consider - "Okay, but I'll leave within 6 months and return back to resume my education, is it legal then?" It's definitely not legal as a B1/B2 visa does not allow you to study in the United States.

Your university might ask you for a copy of the I-94 record which would then state that you entered with regard to your B1/B2 visa and not your F1 visa. My university verified this information after I entered the US for the first time i.e. they took copies of the Passport, Visa, I-20 and I-94.

But, you can change your status. If you do choose to enter with your B1/B2 Visa, you have two options:

  • You re-enter the United States with the F1 Visa and pursue your education.
  • You apply to USCIS and request for a change in status from B2 to F1.

An important FAQ you should definitely read is available on the USCIS website. I highly recommend going thru it.

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