Form I-539 Unveiled: A Step-by-Step Guide to Extending/Changing Nonimmigrant Status

Changing nonimmigrant status in the United States involves a specific process governed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are currently in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa and wish to change your status to another nonimmigrant category, you need to follow these general steps:

  • Understand Eligibility:
    • Review the eligibility criteria for the desired nonimmigrant status. Each category has its own requirements, and not all changes are allowed.
  • File Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status:
    • Obtain Form I-539 from the USCIS website or by contacting USCIS.
    • Complete the form accurately and legibly.
    • Include the required supporting documents, such as a letter explaining the reason for the change, evidence of financial support, and any other documents specified in the instructions.
  • Pay Filing Fee:
    • Pay the filing fee associated with Form I-539. Check the USCIS website or contact USCIS for the most up-to-date fee information.
  • Submit the Application Package:
    • Mail the completed Form I-539, supporting documents, and the filing fee to the appropriate USCIS address as indicated in the form instructions.
  • Biometrics Appointment (if required):
    • USCIS may require you to attend a biometrics appointment. If so, you will receive a notice with details on when and where to go.
  • Wait for USCIS Processing:
    • USCIS will review your application. Processing times vary, so it’s important to check the USCIS website for current processing times.
  • Receive USCIS Decision:
    • You will receive a decision from USCIS regarding your change of status application. If approved, your status will be changed, and you may receive a new Form I-94 reflecting the updated status.
  • Departure if Necessary:
    • If your change of status is denied, you may need to leave the U.S. before your current authorized stay expires. Staying beyond the authorized period could have serious consequences.

Note that some nonimmigrant categories may have specific requirements or limitations. It is crucial to thoroughly research and understand the requirements for the particular status you are seeking.

Additionally, seeking advice from an immigration attorney can be beneficial to ensure that you are following the correct procedures and providing all necessary documentation. Immigration laws and procedures can be complex, and professional guidance can help navigate the process successfully.

Form I-539 instructions

Here is a general overview of the Form I-539 instructions:

  • Download the Form:
    • Obtain the latest version of Form I-539 from the USCIS website.
  • Read the Instructions:
    • Before completing the form, carefully read the form instructions provided by USCIS. The instructions provide valuable information on eligibility, required supporting documents, and the application process.
  • Complete the Form:
    • Fill out the form completely, accurately, and legibly. Use black ink and provide all required information. If a question does not apply to you, mark it as “N/A.”
  • Include Supporting Documents:
    • Attach all required supporting documents as specified in the instructions. Common documents include a copy of your current Form I-94, passport, visa, financial documents, and any additional evidence supporting your request for a change of status.
  • Check the Filing Fee:
    • Verify the filing fee required for Form I-539. USCIS periodically updates fees, so check the USCIS website for the most current information. Include the correct fee with your application.
  • Complete Supplemental Information:
    • Depending on the specific nonimmigrant category you are applying for, you may need to complete additional supplemental information. Carefully review the instructions to ensure you provide all required details.
  • Sign and Date the Form:
    • The form must be signed and dated by the applicant or, if the applicant is a minor, by the parent or legal guardian. Failure to sign the form may result in rejection of the application.
  • Mail the Application:
    • Once the form is complete and you have gathered all necessary documents, mail the entire application package to the appropriate USCIS address. The address can be found in the form instructions.
  • Biometrics Appointment (if required):
    • If USCIS requires biometrics, you will be notified of the date, time, and location of the appointment.
  • Wait for USCIS Processing:
    • After submitting your application, USCIS will process it. Check the USCIS website for current processing times.

Always ensure you are using the most recent version of Form I-539 and its instructions, as USCIS may update forms and requirements. If you have any doubts or specific questions, consider consulting with an immigration attorney for guidance tailored to your situation.

Form I-539A Instructions, How to Fill Out

Form I-539A is used as a supplement to Form I-539, which is the application to extend/change nonimmigrant status in the United States. I’ll provide you with a general overview of how to fill out Form I-539A, but it’s important to refer to the most recent version and instructions on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

Form I-539A is typically used by dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) who are included in the primary applicant’s Form I-539 application.

Here are the general Form I-539A instructions:

  • Download the Form:
    • Obtain the latest version of Form I-539A from the USCIS website.
  • Read the Instructions:
    • Carefully read the instructions provided with Form I-539A. The instructions will guide you on how to complete each section of the form.
  • Provide Personal Information:
    • Enter your full legal name, date of birth, country of birth, and other requested personal information in Section 1.
  • Additional Information:
    • Provide additional information about your immigration history, such as your U.S. address, I-94 number, and any previous names you have used.
  • Certification:
    • Read the certification statement and sign and date the form in the designated areas. If the applicant is a minor (under 14 years old), a parent or legal guardian must sign on their behalf.
  • Relation to the Primary Applicant:
    • Provide information about your relationship to the primary applicant (the person filing Form I-539).
  • Biographic Information:
    • Fill in biographical details, including physical appearance, marital status, and employment history.
  • Photograph:
    • Attach a passport-style photograph of yourself to the form in the provided space. Ensure that the photo meets USCIS requirements.
  • Filing with Form I-539:
    • Submit Form I-539A along with the main Form I-539 application. The primary applicant should include the forms for all dependents in the same package.
  • Check for Updates:
    • Periodically check the USCIS website for any updates or changes to the form and its instructions.

Remember, this is a general guide, and it’s crucial to refer to the specific instructions for the most accurate information. If you have any doubts or specific questions about your situation, consider consulting with an immigration attorney for personalized guidance. Additionally, always use the latest version of the form available on the USCIS website.

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