Foreign nationals who are living and working in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant employment visa, may need to apply for another nonimmigrant employment visa. Your U.S. employer must file the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, on your behalf.

The derivative refugee or asylee status will allow children of a lawful refugee or asylee status holder to derive refugee or asylee status from USCIS.

Source: U.S. Department of State

Eligibility Criteria To Change Your Nonimmigrant Status In The U.S.:

  • Foreign nationals who are in the U.S. in lawful nonimmigrant status are eligible to apply for change of status in the U.S. here are some of the eligibility criterias that S/he must fulfil:
  • S/he was admitted into the U.S. lawfully;
  • S/he never committed any act that would disqualify him/her to receive an immigration benefit;
  • There are no other aspects that would require the applicant to depart the U.S. and make a re-entry with a different type of visa; and
  • The procedure for a change of status is submitted to USCIS before the end date on the Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record
Source: U.S. Department of State

How To Change Nonimmigrant Status In The US?

Application procedures are based on the nonimmigrant status to which you want to change.

If you are interested in changing your status to one of the following employment-based nonimmigrant classes, your employer must Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), before your Form I-94 expires. The purposes of this Form I-129 are:

  • You will be doing the category of work covered by the new nonimmigrant classification for the petitioner; and
  • You are eligible for changing your status. You are not allowed to work in the new classification until USCIS approves the change of status.

Your employer should complete Form I-129 if you are in one of the following employment-related categories:

  • E-1 and E-2 (Treaty Traders, Treaty Investors, and
  • Employees of Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors)
  • E-3 (Skilled Professionals from Australia)
  • H-1B, H-2A,
  • H-2B, or H-3
  • (Temporary Skilled or Unskilled Workers and Trainees)
  • L-1A or L-1B (Intracompany Transferees)
  • O-1 or O-2 (Aliens with Extraordinary Ability and Their Assistants)
  • P-1, P-2, or P-3 (Athletes and Entertainers)
  • Q-1 (International Cultural Exchange Visitors)
  • R-1 (Religious Workers)
  • TN-1 or TN-2 (Canadians and Mexicans under the North

There are specifics requirements for each of the above categories, including limits on the duration of stay in the U.S. For detailed information, contact your employer who actually has proposed you temporary employment or qualified immigration Attorney. It is to be noted that If your prospective employer files a Form I-129 to change your status, and if you want to apply for your spouse and children, then they need to file a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Note that they can all be in the application on one I-539. It is best to file the I-129 and I-539 forms at the same time so that they can be arbitrated about the same time. Also, though, that they are distinct applications. So, you and your dependent family members must follow the guidelines and submit all supporting documents with each application, even when filing forms together.

Source: U.S. Department of State

For USCIS change of status your employer must:

Each visa category has specific requirements and limits, including how long you can stay in the United States. For more information, contact your employer, a licensed attorney.

The applicant’s documents requirement can vary from one visa category to other. The USCIS has the full guideline for each category.

Checklist of Required Initial Evidence for Form I-129 

Source: U.S. Department of State

The USCIS change of status fee is $460.

Source: U.S. Department of State

You are not allowed to change your nonimmigrant status if you came to the United States in any of the following categories:

  • Visa Waiver Program (VWP);
  • Crew member (D nonimmigrant);
  • In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV);
  • Certain spouses of U.S. citizens or dependent children (K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant);
  • Fiancé of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé (K-1 or K-2 nonimmigrant); or
  • Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant).
Source: U.S. Department of State

Application Fee:

  • Principal Applicant: $460;

Processing Time:

USCIS processing times for I-129 petitions vary, depending on where the petition is filed and the nonimmigrant status being requested.

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