1. What is Change of Status?
Providing permission to foreign nationals holding a nonimmigrant visa in the U.S. to change status to another nonimmigrant category while in the U.S. is called Change of Status.
2. Who is eligible for Change of Status?
You may be eligible to change your status to another nonimmigrant status if:
- You have lawfully entered into the U.S. with a nonimmigrant visa
- Your nonimmigrant visa status remains valid
- You have not committed any crime that would make you ineligible
3. Who may apply for Change of Status?
Certain nonimmigrants who are maintaining status and wish to change to another status including:
- Diplomatic and other government officials, and their dependants and employees on an A visa
- Temporary visitors for business or pleasure on B visa category
- Academic students on F-1 visa and their dependants on F-2 visa
- Representatives to international organizations and their dependants and employees on G visa
- Representatives of foreign media on I visa and their dependants
- Exchange visitors on J-1 visa and their dependants on J-2 visa that are not sublected to the 2 year home residency requirmen in § 212(e)
- Vocational students on M-1 visa and their dependants on M-2 visa
- Parents and children of the people who have been granted special immigrant status because their parents were employed by an international organization in the United States
- Temporary workers on H, L, O, P, Q or R visa and their dependants
4. Who may not apply for Change of Status?
You may not change your nonimmigrant status if you have entered into the U.S. under the following visa categories:
VWPP-Visa Waiver Pilot Program (or the Guam Visa Waiver Program)
D – As a crewman
C – As an alien in transit or in transit without a visa
K – As a fiance or spouse of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiance or spouse
S – As an informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime
5. Why do I need to change status to a new nonimmigrant category?
As a nonimmigrant you temporarily enter into the U.S. for a specific purpose such as business, study, temporary employment or pleasure. When you enter into the U.S., a U.S. official assigns you a nonimmigrant category according to the purpose of your visit. If you want to change the purpose of your visit while you are in the U.S. then you or, in some cases, your employer must ask the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to change your nonimmigrant status.
Note: For instance, if you arrived in the U.S. as a tourist, but want to become a student, you must submit an application to change your status with the USCIS. If you do not apply to change your nonimmigrant status, you will be violating U.S. immigration laws.