As a nonimmigrant, you enter the United States for reasons like business, education, temporary work, or pleasure. When you enter the United States, a US official allocates you to a nonimmigrant category based on the purpose of your visit. If you want an Immigration status change of your visit while in the United States, you or your employer must contact the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to change your nonimmigrant status. You can consult an immigration attorney for Visa status change updates or Recent visa status changes.

What is Change of Status?

A Change of Status is the process of allowing foreign individuals with nonimmigrant visas in the United States to change their status to another nonimmigrant category while they are still in the country.

Eligibility for a Change of Status

You are eligible to change your status to nonimmigrant status if:
1) You have lawfully entered into the US with a nonimmigrant visa
2) Your nonimmigrant visa status remains valid
3) You have not committed any crime that would make you ineligible

Who Needs to apply for a Change of Status?

  1. Diplomatic and other government personnel, together with their families and staff on an A visa
  2. Temporary travellers for business or pleasure on the B visa Academic students on F1 visas and their close relatives on F2 visas
  3. Representatives of international organizations, their families, and workers on G visas
  4. Foreign media representatives with I visas and their immediate family members.
  5. Exchange travellers with J1 visas and their immediate family members on J2 visas
  6. Vocational students with an M1 visa and their immediate family members on M2 visas
  7. Parents and children of those granted special immigration status because their parents worked for an international organization in the United States.
  8. Temporary workers and their immediate family members on H, L, O, P, Q or R visa

Who Need Not Apply for a Change of Status?

You may not change your nonimmigrant status if you have entered the US under the following visa categories:

  1. VWPP – Visa Waiver Pilot Program (or the Guam Visa Waiver Program)
  2. A crewman
  3. In transit
  4. A fiance or spouse of a US citizen or dependent of a fiance or spouse

If you wish to change your status to any of the following nonimmigrant categories, your employer should file Form I-129.

  1. International Traders and Investors
  2. International Traders and Investors
  3. Temporary workers
  4. Intra company transferees
  5. entertainers and Athletes
  6. Participants in International Exchange Programs
  7. Religious workers
  8. Canadians and Mexicans under NAFTA

There are two ways of Visa change options in the US:
Option 1:
Leave the US. Apply for a new visa at a US Consulate outside the US (Canadians are not eligible for this). Re enter the US with a new visa and related documents.

Option 2:
Change the status without leaving the US. Gather all the documents. Submit the I-539 application to USCIS Service Center and wait for your visa to be processed.

If you want to change your status to any of the following nonimmigrant categories, you should carefully read and fill out Form I-539.

  1. Diplomatic and other government officials, and their dependants and employees
  2. Temporary visitors for business or pleasure
  3. Academic students and their dependents
  4. Representatives to international organizations and their dependants and employees
  5. Representatives of foreign media and their dependants
  6. Exchange visitors and their dependents
  7. Vocational students and their dependents
  8. Parents and children of persons who have received special immigration status because their parents work for an international organization in the United States.

US visa change of status Process

  1. Request a Personal Identification Number (PID) through MYHR Self Service. If you do not have access to this, email to HR Operations.
  2. Gather all the required documents (passport, financial documents, visa, etc).
  3. Duly filled and signed (in blue ink) USCIS Form
  4. Pay the fees
  5. Mail you application to the USCIS Service centre that serves the area you are currently residing. If your nonimmigrant category is work-related, then mail your US visa change of status application to the USCIS Service Center that serves the area where you will be working.
  6. Wait for the visa to be processed.

US Visa Change of Status Fees

The USCIS charges a fee of 370$ for Change of Status. Applicants of Form I-538 are exempt from paying the biometric service fee.

If you want to apply for a US visa from UAE, or get a US visa extension, you must visit the official website for any Update in US tourist visa rules and process.

US Visa Status Change FAQs

When to apply for a Change of Status?

Apply to change your Non-immigrant visa before your current visa expires or as soon as you determine that you need to change your status.

What is the US Visa change of status Processing Time?

The Change of Status in the United States takes six to twelve months to complete. It can take longer, depending upon the USCIS processing times.

How do I apply for a Change of Status?

If you wish to change your status to any of the following nonimmigrant categories, your employer should file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, and any required supporting documents.

How do my dependants apply for a Change of Status?

In the application to change status, you can include your dependants (spouse or unmarried children under 21 years) in form I-539.

Who is exempt from the change of address rules while applying for a Change of Status?

Diplomats, nonimmigrants in the US for less than thirty days, and Official government representatives are exempt from change of address rules while applying for change of status.




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