Change of Status
When a foreign national is admitted into the United States as a nonimmigrant, a U.S. official will assign a nonimmigrant category based on the purpose of the visit. If a nonimmigrant wants to change the purpose of his or her visit while in the United States, then the foreign national, or in some cases an employer, must apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to change their current nonimmigrant status before the expiration of their current authorized stay. (Please note that this is different from Adjustment of Status, in which a nonimmigrant requests that the USCIS convert his or her status to that of a permanent resident.) For example, if a foreign national arrived in the U.S. as a tourist, but then wants to study in the U.S., he or she must submit an application to the USCIS to change their status. If a foreign national does not apply to change their nonimmigrant status, he or she may be in violation of the U.S. immigration laws, i.e., engaging in an activity not specifically provided for by his or her current nonimmigrant status. Proof that one is willing to obey U.S. laws may be important if the nonimmigrant wishes to travel to the United States in the future. In many circumstances, a foreign national may also become subject to removal (deportation) if they violate the purpose of their current nonimmigrant status. Any of the immigration attorneys in our Michigan office can help with the process of change of status.
Please note that the rules for changing nonimmigrant status vary according to the status one is changing from and/or to. Generally, you may apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you were lawfully admitted to the U. S. 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.
To change status to the following nonimmigrant visa categories, an employer must file an I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, accompanied by any required supporting documentation:
E – Treaty Traders, Treaty Investors, and Employees of Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors, Skilled Professionals from Australia
H - Temporary Skilled or Unskilled Workers and Trainees
L - Intracompany Transferees
O - Aliens of Extraordinary Ability and their Assistants
P - Entertainers and Athletes
Q - International Cultural Exchange Visitors
R - Religious Workers
TN - Canadians and Mexicans Under NAFTA
If a foreign national, who is in the U. S., would like to change their status to one of the following nonimmigrant categories, he or she may file for a change of status on their own behalf, using I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, with supporting documentation:
A - Diplomatic and other government officials, and their families and employees
B - Visitors for business or pleasure
F - Academic students and their families
G – Foreign government officials and their families and employees
I - Representatives of foreign media and their families
M - Vocational students and their families
N - 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
Also, a spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 may file for derivative nonimmigrant status based on the principal foreign national's change of status. For example, if a nonimmigrant is applying for a change of status from a visitor (B-2) to a religious worker (R-1), then his or her spouse and child(ren) may also apply, concurrently, to change their nonimmigrant status from B-2 to R-2.
If the application to change nonimmigrant status is denied, there is no appeal. However, the applicant or employer, depending on who filed the original application, may submit a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider with the same office that issued the denial. For more information regarding motions, please see Appeals.
If you are interested in changing your status or any have any questions about this process, please call our immigration attorneys for more information.
The Law Firm of Antone, Casagrande & Adwers, P.C. helps individuals and businesses worldwide with all of their US immigration needs including employment visas, obtaining green cards for business and corporate employees and family members, visas for doctors, nurses, therapists, and other health care workers, together with waivers for physicians under J visa training program, labor certifications (PERM), national interest waivers, marriage-based adjustments and green cards, fiancee visas, family immigration preferences, students, naturalization and citizenship, including medical waivers, asylum, deportation, hardship waivers, voluntary departure and removal. We serve clients in southeast Michigan including the Detroit Metro area, Ann Arbor, and Lansing. With offices in Farmington Hills, MI, we are close to Southfield, Troy, West Bloomfield, Birmingham, Novi, Rochester and Auburn Hills in Oakland County; Canton, Plymouth, Dearborn, and Detroit in Wayne County; Warren, Sterling Heights, and Mount Clemens in Macomb County; Brighton and Howell in Livingston County; Lansing in Ingham County; City of Monroe in Monroe County, Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County; Grand Rapids in Kent County; Battle Creek in Calhoun County; Kalamazoo in Kalamazoo County; Benton Harbor in Berrien County; Holland in Ottawa County; Flint in Genesee County; Ludington in Mason County; Muskegon in Muskegon County; and Traverse City in Grand Traverse County, Michigan. Although many of our clients are located in the tri-county area of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, we also serve clients in many cities and states in the U.S. including Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Indiana; Buffalo, New York; Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, California; Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; Dallas, Houston, El Paso and Galveston, Texas; Miami, Florida; Washington D.C.; Virginia, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and many others. In addition to the United States, we also serve Canadian nationals from numerous provinces in Canada, including Toronto and Windsor in Ontario; Montreal in Quebec; Halifax in Nova Scotia; and Vancouver, British Columbia. We also serve cities and countries such as London, England; Scotland and other countries of the United Kingdom (U.K.); Mexico, Paris, France; Frankfurt and Berlin, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; India; Brazil; Rome, Italy; Shanghai and Beijing, China; Belgium; the Philippines, and many other countries in Europe, Asia and South America.