If you want to change the purpose of your visit while in the United States, you (or in some cases your employer) must file a request with USCIS on the appropriate form before your authorized stay expires. For instance, if you arrived here as a tourist but want to become a student, you must submit an application to change your status. We recommend that you apply as soon as you determine that you need to change to a different nonimmigrant category.
Until you receive approval from USCIS, do not assume the status has been approved, and do not change your activity in the United States. For example, if you are currently a nonimmigrant tourist, do not begin attending school as a student until you have received authorization from USCIS to change your status. If you fail to maintain your nonimmigrant status, you may be barred from returning to and/or removed (deported) from the United States. Your authorized status and the date your status expires can be found in the lower right-hand corner of your Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record.
In general, you may apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you were lawfully admitted to the United States with a nonimmigrant visa, your nonimmigrant status remains valid, you have not violated the conditions of your status, and you have not committed any crimes that would make you ineligible.
You do not need to apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you were admitted into the United States for business reasons (B-1 visa category ) and you wish to remain in the United States for pleasure before your authorized stay expires.
You do not need to apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you wish to attend school in the United States, and you are the spouse or child of someone who is currently in the United States in any of the following nonimmigrant visa categories:
You may not apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you were admitted to the United States in the following categories:
If you are a vocational student (M-1), you may not apply to change your status to a(n):
If you are an international exchange visitor (J-1), you may not change your nonimmigrant status if:
For information on how to apply, download the “How Do I Apply to change my non immigratn status” brochure.
What happens after I file for extension or change of visa I donot get a response until AFTER the 120 day tolling period?
The Immigration and Naturalization Service issued two memorandums on March 3, 2000 : the first discusses the period of stay authorized by the Attorney General with Respect to Pending Change of Status and Extension Applications after the 120-day tolling period for purposes of section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The other one discusses Section 222(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (automatic voidance of nonimmigrant visas (and combination nonimmigrant visa/border crossing cards).
Under current Service policy, if a decision is not rendered with Respect to Pending Change of Status or Extension Applications within the tolling period aliens admitted to the United States until a specific date begin accruing unlawful presence on the 121th day after the expiration of their Form I-94.
Due to the current backlogs, which can extend beyond six months, aliens who remain in the United States while the E/S (extension of stay) or C/S (change of status) is pending may incur a 3-year or even a 10-year bar to admission if the application is ultimately denied.
In order to avoid problems, through no fault of their own, reagarding "unlawful presence" , the Service has decided that Nonimmigrants who were admitted until a specific date and who apply for E/S or C/S and whose applications have been pending beyond the 120 day tolling period should be considered to be in a period of stay authorized by the Attorney General, sol ong as certain requirements are met.
The Service has further decided that the period of stay authorized by the Attorney General includes the E/S or C/S applications for the entire period that it is pending. As a practical matter, this policy applies only to those Nonimmigrants who were admitted until a specific date and also whose I-94 has expired while the E/S or C/S application is pending. If the Service approves the E/S or C/S application, the nonimmigrant will be granted a new period of stay authorized by the Attorney General, which will be retroactive to the date the previously authorized stay expired. In these cases the is no unlawful presence.
Download the Form