Change of Status

What Is Change Of Status?

If you are currently in the US on a visa and want to change the purpose of your stay, then you will need to file a request with the USCIS on the appropriate form before your authorization stay expires. If you were lawfully admitted to the US with a nonimmigrant visa, your status remains valid, you have not violated the conditions of your status, and have not committed any crimes that make you ineligible, then you may change your nonimmigrant status.

If you wish to attend school in the US, you do not need to apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you are the spouse or child of someone who is currently in the US with any of the following nonimmigrant visa categories:

  • Diplomatic and other government officials, and employees (A visa category)
  • International trade and investors (E visa)
  • Representatives to international organizations and their employees (G visa)
  • Temporary workers (H visa)
  • Representatives of foreign media (I visa)
  • Exchange visitors (J visa)
  • Intracompany transferees (L visa)
  • Academic (F visa) or vocational (M visa) students (you may attend elementary, middle or high school only: if you want to attend post-secondary school full-time you must apply for a change of status).

If you were admitted into the US in the following categories, you may not change your nonimmigrant status:

  • Visa Waiver Program: Crew member (D nonimmigrant visa)
  • In transit through the United States (C nonimmigrant visa)
  • In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV)
  • Fiancé of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé (K nonimmigrant visa)
  • Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant visa)

If you are a vocational student (M-1), you may not apply to change your status to an:

  • Academic student (F-1)
  • Any H status (Temporary worker), if the training you received as a vocational student in the United States provided the qualifications for the temporary worker position you seek.

If you are an international exchange visitor (J-1), you may not change your nonimmigrant status if:

  • You were admitted to the United States to receive graduate medical training unless you receive a special waiver.
  • You are an exchange visitor and are required to meet the foreign residence requirement unless you receive a waiver.

If you do not receive a waiver, you may only apply to change to a diplomatic and other government officials (A visa) or representatives to international organizations (G visa).