Eligibility - You must be in a status that allows you to change status from within the United States, currently maintaining that status and accepted to or enrolled in an academic program.
Timing - You must apply before your current status expires. In the case of changing from some statuses, such as H-1B, you are required to to maintain your current status while the change is pending. In these cases, there must be no more than 30 days between the abandonment or expiration of your current status and the start date of your requested status.
Students changing from a dependent child status - If you are a dependent child under the age of 21, you may continue to study full-time in that dependent status up to the age of 21. Your parent(s) must currently live in the United States and be maintaining the status upon which you are dependent.
Travel plans - An approval only changes your status within the United States. The very next time you make international travel plans you will still need to go through the standard process to apply for a new student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to re-enter the United States in F-1 status.
Travelling abroad while a change of status application is pending is considered to be an abandonment of the application and will affect your SEVIS record. If you decide to leave the United States while the application is pending, you should consult an International Student Advisor. He or she will provide guidance on how to cancel the pending change of status application and obtain a new or amended Form I-20 for travel.
Denials - If your change of status application is denied, you may need to leave the United States immediately.
B-1/B-2 and F-2 prohibition on study - Because B-1/B-2 and F-2 status holders are excluded from study in the United States, individuals in those non-immigrant classifications may not enroll in classes until the change of status application is approved.
On-campus employment - You cannot receive the benefits of student status until the change of status is approved. In other words, if you have accepted a fellowship or teaching assistantship, you will not be allowed to fulfill the requirements of that position and receive the stipend until you are actually in F-1 status.
If you have applied for permanent residence or are included in someone else's application for permanent residence, you will likely be considered ineligible for F-1 status as this is a nonimmigrant classification and a petition for permanent residence clearly demonstrates immigrant intent. Please seek the counsel of a qualified immigration attorney if this is your situation.