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Change Visa Status - Am I Eligible to Change to a New Nonimmigrant Visa Status?

US Visas - Nonimmigrant Visas

Change Visa Status - Am I Eligible to Change to a New Nonimmigrant Visa Status

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In general, you may apply to change your nonimmigrant visa status in the US if you were lawfully admitted with a nonimmigrant visa, your nonimmigrant visa status remains valid, you have not violated the conditions of your status, and you have not committed any crimes that would make you ineligible.

You may not apply to change your nonimmigrant visa status if you were admitted to the United States in the following visa categories:

C Visa - Alien in Transit
D Visa - Crewman
K-1 or K-2 Visas - Fiancee or Dependent of a Fiancee
S Visa – Witness or Informant (and Accompanying Family) on Terrorism or Organized Crime
TWOV - Transit without Visa
WT or WB - Visa Waiver Program

If you are on a J-1 Visa (International Exchange Visitor) you may not change your visa status if you were admitted to the United States to receive graduate medical training, unless you receive a special waiver. In addition, some exchange visitors must meet a foreign residence requirement before they are allowed to change visa status. This means that some international exchange visitors must leave the United States and go back to their home country for a minimum of two years before applying to come to the United States as a temporary worker or an immigrant. If you are an exchange visitor and are required to meet the foreign residence requirement, you must receive a waiver if you wish to change your nonimmigrant visa status without returning home. If you do not receive a waiver, then you may only apply to change to the A (Diplomatic and other government officials, and their families and employees) or G (Representatives to international organizations and their families and employees) nonimmigrant visa categories. For more information on international exchange visitors, please see J-1 Visa Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement for Exchange Visitors.

If you are on an M-1 Visa (Vocational Student), you may not apply to become an academic student (F-1 Visa Academic Student). You also may not apply to change from the M-1 vocational student visa category to an H Visa (Temporary Worker) if it was the training you received as a vocational student in the United States that made you qualified for the temporary worker position.

You do not need to apply to change your nonimmigrant visa status if you were admitted into the United States for business reasons (B-1 Visa), and you wish to remain in the United States for pleasure before your authorized stay expires.

If you are in the United States as the spouse or child of someone in the following nonimmigrant visa categories, you do not need to apply to change your visa status if you wish to attend school in the United States (as long as your parent or spouse maintains their original nonimmigrant visa status).

A Visa - Diplomatic and other government officials, and their families and employees.
E Visa - International Trade and Investors
F Visa* - Academic Students and their families
G Visa - Representatives to international organizations and their families and employees.
H Visa - Temporary Workers
I Visa - Representatives of foreign media and their families
J Visa - Exchange Visitors and their families
L Visa - Intracompany Transferees
M Visa* - Vocational Students and their families

*Spouse or children of Academic (F-1 Visa) or Vocational (M-1 Visa) students may attend elementary, middle or high school only. If you want to attend post-secondary school full-time you must apply for a change of status.

For more information, return to: Change Visa Status - How to Change to a New Nonimmigrant Visa Status

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