B2 to F1/F2 Change of Status - How feasible?

I am on H1B and working in US. My sister, who lives and works in India (IT professional), had plans to do her Masters in Computer Science here in the US and got a couple of I20s from universities. since my brother-in-law works in India too and his employer may not accept or may delay his H1B application process, she is not sure and has not made a decision yet whether she wants to come here for her Masters right away.
Since nothing is certain at this point and she wants to take some time off with her kid here and accompany me for sometime, I want to bring her and my nephew on B2 visa next month, so that they have some time to decide on these things and if after coming here and things getting settled down, if she wants to do her Masters, she can change her status to F1 and my nephew’s to F2.

She has two I20s issued for Spring 2013 semester from two universities from the place where my husband lives/works, but after coming here, if she decides to
go to school, she will request for Summer or Fall 2013 differing of I20s.
I want to know how feasible this B2 to F1 process is and have the following questionnaire in mind.

  1. If B2 to F1 status is possible for my sister, how feasible is F2 for my nephew, since he will have to be enrolled in school here next year. He is 7 year old and currently studying first standard in India. What is the process for status conversion to F1/F2 from B2 and what are the required documents?

  2. I saw on a few online forums that in this case, we could get the B2 visa stamping done in India by expressing to the consulate that there may be intentions to pursue studies in the US while the visit, and get a ‘Prospective student’ stamp on the visa. How feasible is this option? If yes, do we have to show any financial documents at that point to the B2 visa interview showing them we have enough funds to support school and other expenses for both my sister and nephew? Should we reveal to the consulate that we have two I20’s issued already?

  3. Given the situation, to sponsor her/my nephew’s intial B2 visa, how much funds have to be shown from my side. I have been working for a 60k for past couple of years and currently earn around 78k, but have not maintanied much of a constant bank balance over these months. If this is a problem, my husband who is on H1B too and whose earning/savings is quite similar to that of mine, is also willing for co-sponsorship. Will this work out? We are still able to show an outstanding balance of say around $10,000 for thier visiting expenses, but at this point, we cannot show that we have maintained this over a period of time in the last few months. However, we can work this out as and when she decides to go to school in Summer or Fall next year.
    Please advise.


  1. In my view, it should be technically possible. You need to talk to the school that gives you I-20. The main concern would be how would you support your dependents. You may need to submit funds proof for the same.

    1. I am not sure how that would work…In any case, you can only hold one visa status at a time when you are in America. You cannot study on B2 visa. You need to transfer to F1 visa. If you enter on B2 visa, you will need to work with your school DSO and file form I-539 to do COS from B2 to F1.

    2. Funds typically should cover their stay, travel and expenses. There is no fixed number as such. Check out sample Bank Letter for Visitor Visa