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Immigration Issues/COS from B2 to F1 denied - Motion to reopen


Dear Eileen Chun,
My Change of status application (from B2 to F1) has been denied a few days ago.
I am about to file a motion to reopen (or a motion to reconsider or an appeal - not sure which one is appropriate). I want to give more detalis about my academic plans in the US. In addition to a letter of explanation, I'm not sure what to include with the application(I290B) because the instructions are not concrete about it. Do I include only a new information - a letter and a few evidences with the application - or do I send all the documents (like a new I-20 form, updated bank statements, copies of passport etc)that previously sent with COS application? PLease advise. I need you help. Thanks

Eileen Chun-Fruto, Los Angeles immigration attorney writes:

Dear Sandra,

Unfortunately, a B-2 to F-1 change of status denial is more common than we all like to see.  A motion to reopen can take a year or more, so be warned that while you pursue the MTR, you will likely accrue unlawful presence if you have already or will overstay the expiration date on your B-2 I-94.  Even if you are successful in getting the MTR approved, you wlll be barred from traveling.

For more information on the 3 and 10 year bar (which triggers from unlawful presence), you can google it or check out the USCIS website.  I have a blog that we answer questions, which you can also refer to:

As for what you can submit in the I-290B, you can put in anything that shows you are a valid student, have the funds ready for your tuition, etc.  But what the USCIS is probably most concerned with is that when you entered as a B-2, you were a bona fide visitor.  The Dept of Homeland SEcurity (USCIS) is really suspicious when visitors try to change status to student status because they believe you may have committed visa fraud in getting your B-2, that you should have just gotten a student (F-1) visa if that was your intent.

Your last option is to return to your home country and get a new F-1 visa.  That is, if you have not already triggered the 3 or 10 year bar.

Good luck.

Eileen Chun-Fruto

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Eileen Chun-Fruto


I can answer any employment-based immigration question including questions about PERM labor certifications, H-1B skilled workers, L-1A multinational managers or executives and L-1B specialized knowledge, R-1 and I-360 religious workers, investor cases (E Treaty Trader and E Treaty Investors and EB-5 "million dollar investors") and O-1 extraordinary ability cases. I can also answer any questions regarding family-based immigration, such as adoptions, waiver cases, consular processing (using foreign consulates to enter as an immigrant), marriage and fiance/fiancee cases, 245(i) cases, VAWA (Violence Against Women's Act), battered spouses, and Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).


I have over 12 years of experience in business and family immigration. I was a former law clerk for the Executive Officer for Immigration Review (the immigration courts) in San Francisco and I current serve as the California Service Center's (CSC) liaison on behalf of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. I represent individuals and corporations alike, ranging from professionals in the high tech, science, liberal arts fields. I have a special niche in working with start-up companies and individuals with more complex immigration issues.

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Executive Committee on Immigration

J.D., University of California at Davis - King Hall School of Law (1997) B.A., University of California at Irvine, cum laude (1994)

Awards and Honors
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008: Selected to Southern California Rising Star - Super Lawyers List (an honor shared by no more than 2.5% of the attorneys practicing in the entire Southern California region) Faculty/Moderator on various AILA and LACBA continuing legal education seminars in the following topics: H-1B, O-1, religious workers, business immigration visas

Past/Present Clients
My typical business clients can range from a start-up company, established engineering and software research and development companies, manufacturing, trade and distribution companies, public and private schools, and religious organizations. Family clients include spouses, parent-child petitions, siblings, naturalization, and most especially, representation of abandoned and neglected children viewed as orphans under the immigration law. I have represented many clients who relied on special provisions of the immigration law to preserve or "grandfather" benefits to family members in limited (and complicated) circumstances, to avoid re-application fees and longer waiting times.

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