Change of Status in Orange County
Guidance from an Immigration Attorney
In immigration law, a "change of status" must occur if a foreign national changes his or her main purpose for visiting the United States. For example, if you came to the United States as a recreational visitor but then you decided to pursue an education at an American academy or university, then you will need to have your status changed from "tourist" to "student."
There are two ways to do this. You can either apply directly to United States Citizenship & Immigration Services for a change of status, or you can leave the United States and reapply for a different visa that reflects your new travel objectives.
Note that a change of status is different from an adjustment of status. If you originally entered the United States with an intention of staying temporarily and you are now considering obtaining permanent residency, talk to an Orange County immigration lawyer about the process of adjusting your status. This process tends to be complex, so it is important to discuss the specifics of your case with a qualified legal professional.
When Should I Change My Nonimmigrant Status?
There are many situations where it is advisable for individuals to change their nonimmigrant status. However, there are also many situations where you may not have to apply for the change, and even others where you may not be able to. Discuss your particular situation with an immigration attorney in order to determine what your best course of action may be moving forward.
To apply to change your nonimmigrant status, you must adhere to the following:
- Lawfully admitted to the United States with a nonimmigrant visa
- Nonimmigrant status remains valid
- No violations of the conditions of your status
- No crimes committed that make you ineligible
If you were admitted into the U.S. for business reasons in the B-1 visa category, you may remain in the U.S. for pleasure until your stay expires without applying for a change to your status. Similarly, you may attend school in the U.S. without applying for a change in status if you are the spouse or child of an individual with one of several eligible visas, including A, H, and F category visas.
Applying to Extend or Change Your Status
The Form I-539 is used to extend/change nonimmigrant status for the following:
- Nonimmigrants wishing to extend their stay or change to another nonimmigrant status
- CNMI residents wishing to apply for initial grants of status
- Reinstatement for F and M nonimmigrants
- Individuals seeking V nonimmigrant status or an extension of stay in V status
If you are eligible, you may file the Form I-539 through the USCIS Electronic Immigration System, or you may file a paper application and mail it in. In either case, the USCIS website has detailed information on eligibility and the steps involved in filing a Form I-539. Review this information with your immigration lawyer so you may ensure that the best choices are made regarding changes to your nonimmigrant status.
Your Legal Advocate in Southern California
Immigration can be complicated and confusing, so the best option you have is to talk to a trusted legal professional about your case and obtain the advocacy and counsel necessary to secure a successful outcome. At Yekrangi & Associates your satisfaction is our primary goal. When you choose our Orange County law firm, you work directly with our skilled Irvine immigration attorney throughout each phase of your case.
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