Change of Status

What is a change of status?

There are more than 40 nonimmigration visas in the United States that allow foreign nationals to enter the country for specific purposes for certain periods of time. Visitors to the U.S. who are admitted to the country must conduct themselves according to the requirements of the visa through which they have entered.

However, it is also true that your situation may change in such a way that you want to change your status and obtain a different visa. For instance, you may be in the country on a tourist visa and you decide you want to attend college and obtain a student visa. In a situation like this, or in any situation where you want to change your nonimmigration status, you can apply to do so through the USCIS. An immigration lawyer can also assist you in gathering the necessary information and filing the application for change of status as well.

Who is eligible to change nonimmigration visa status?

You may be eligible to change your nonimmigration status if you meet the following criteria:

  • You were lawfully admitted into the United States;
  • You have not committed crimes or conducted yourself in any way that would render you ineligible to receive an immigration benefit;
  • There are no factors in your case whereby a USCIS officer determines that you must depart from the U.S. and obtain a new visa in order to re-enter;
  • Your application for change of status is submitted before the expiration date on your Arrival-Departure Record; and,
  • Your passport is valid for the entire period you wish to stay in the U.S.
Who is ineligible?

There are some nonimmigrant visa classifications that preclude you from applying for a change of status, or in other words, that make you ineligible. You cannot submit for an application for a change of status if you are visiting the U.S. on any of the following visas:

  • Aliens in Transit (C)
  • Crewmen (D)
  • Fiance or Dependent of Fiance (E)
  • Spouse of U.S. Citizen and Minor Child Accompanying/Following to Join (K3, K4)
  • Witness or Informant (S)
  • Transit Without Visa (TWS)
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver (WT or WB)
  • Exchange Visitor subject to the two year foreign residence requirement (J-1)
  • Vocational student changing status to F1 or H1b if the M training helped the student to qualify for the H classification (M1)
  • Irish Peace Process Cultural and Training Program Participant (Q2)
How to change your status

The way to change your nonimmigration visa status depends on what type of visa classification you are attempted to obtain. Different requirements exist for each category, and mostly depends on whether you are requesting to change to certain employment-based categories or specific non-employment based categories. A visa lawyer can offer specific assistance on how to file an application to change your status depending on the requirements for the visa category you are seeking .

Your application to change status must be received before your current status expires. You may apply up to six months before expiration to have your nonimmigration status changed.

How Can an Austin Immigration Attorney Help?

The procedures for obtaining a change in your status can be more complicated than simply filling out an application and waiting for results. There are a number of procedural and material requirements for obtaining these immigration benefits, and navigating through the process can be very daunting and time-consuming. For this reason, it is advisable to obtain the advice and assistance of a qualified immigration law attorney to handle the matter.

Austin, Texas immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle of the Lyttle Law Firm has experience assisting individuals in change of status issues. Ms. Lyttle is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, and can communicate directly with clients and their family members directly in these languages, as well as understand documents in these languages.

Furthermore, because immigration law is a federal, and not state, matter, the Lyttle Law Firm can assist you even if you are not a resident of Texas. If you need a competent immigration attorney to handle your change of status matter, contact the Lyttle Law Firm, and you will be able to speak to a qualified immigration attorney to get the advice and assistance you need. An Austin immigration lawyer experienced in all aspects of changing one’s status can make the process more manageable, as well as provide relevant context pertaining to how the matter is proceeding and what you can reasonably expect in terms of both time frame and success in obtaining the desired immigration benefit.