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About Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

I-539 form to extend, and change nonimmigrant status. This status allows individuals under a nonimmigrant status in the U.S to either change to another nonimmigrant category or extend their stay under the existing status.

For any reason, if you want to extend your stay in the U.S, you need to file your request with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Present your request using Form I-539, Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status. You must file before your permitted stay expires.

One should file Form I-539 at least 45 days before the end of their authorized stay. If you overstay your visa, even by accident, you risk expulsion. Decide if you are qualified to extend your U.S. visa.

A close-up of a U.S. visa. Ensure to extend your U.S. visa before it passes by filing Form I-539 on time.

Eligibility to Apply for Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

Not every U.S. visitor is eligible for a visa extension/change to a non-immigrant class. In general, you may apply if you entered the U.S lawfully and your visa is active. The following visa classifications may use Form I-539:

  1. A and A-3 visa holders and their close family members
  2. B1, B2
  3. Student visa holders F-1, M-1 and J-1
  4. G and G-5 visa holders and their immediate family members
  5. V
  6. Dependents of CW-1, E, E-2
  7. Australian Specialty Occupation Worker
  8. H, L, O, P, R, and TN (TD) visa holders

You may not apply for a U.S. visa extension if:

  1. You entered the U.S. unlawfully
  2. You entered the U.S. on a fiancé visa
  3. You hold a D nonimmigrant visa
  4. You are an informant/accompanying family member
  5. You have disregarded the essentials of your admission to the U.S
  6. You have committed offenses that make you disqualified for a visa

Required Documents to Apply for Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

  1. Signature: Each application must be appropriately signed and filed. Also, each Form I-539A must include the signature of the individual applicant. For all signatures on the application, USCIS will not allow a stamped/typewritten name in place of a signature.
  2. Validity of Signatures: USCIS will allow a photocopied, faxed, or scanned copy of the authentic, handwritten signature valid for filing purposes.
  3. Filing Fee: Each application must be accompanied by the proper filing fee and biometric services charge (if applicable).
  4. Evidence: At the time of filing, you must submit all proof and relevant documents.
  5. Biometric Services Appointment: USCIS may demand that you appear for an interview/provide biometrics at any time to confirm your identity, receive more information, and perform background and security checks, including an inspection of criminal records maintained by the FBI, before making a decision on your application/petition.
  6. Copies: You should submit readable photocopies of documents demanded unless the Instructions precisely state that you must submit an original paper.
  7. Translations: If you submit a document in a foreign language, you must also submit an English translation.
  8. Valid Passport: If you were directed to have a passport to be accepted into the United States, you must keep the validity of your passport during your nonimmigrant visit. If a required passport is not valid when you file Form I-539, present an explanation with your application.

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Note that: The price mentioned above does not include the standard government fees paid directly to USCIS.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have applied for an extension before your I-94 expired date and your application is still under review, you may stay in the United States for 240 days.

Yes, you can & that’s where Form I-539 comes in. It lets you stay in the US and ask USCIS to change/extend your status. Keep in mind that If and when you do leave the U.S. after an extension/change of status, you will require another visa in order to return.

The process is simple, you just need to do is send a withdrawal application to USCIS requesting them to withdraw your application. There is no authorized letter/form that USCIS provides for you to use for asking for the withdrawal of your application.

You can continue working in the US for as long as the extension is timely filed.

There is no appeal from the rejection of a Change of Status application to student (or other) status, which you would have made to USCIS if you were already in the United States with valid immigration status. However, an attorney can help you request that your application be reconsidered.

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