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How can you change a nonimmigrant status while in the U.S.?

For many immigrants, it is common to come to the United States as a tourist. In order to do so, a visitor visa is required. This visa allows the foreign national to travel within the U.S, for a designated amount of time. If that time is about to lapse, it is possible to obtain an extension. However, if an immigrant seeks to be more than a tourist in the country, he or she will need to file additional paperwork to remain in the country.

How can you change a nonimmigrant status while in the U.S.? If the purpose for remaining in the U.S> has changed, a request must be filed before the applicant's authorized stay expires. For those arriving as a tourist in the country, he or she must submit an application if they decide they want to become a student in the country. Whether it is for study, for employment, change in employment, to get married or even file for a green card, those entering as a tourist need to file the proper application to remain in the U.S.

Even though an immigrant has filed the proper paperwork, one should not assume he or she has been approved until an approval from USCIS has been received. Thus, no changes should be made until there is an approval. This means that an immigrant in the United States on a tourist visa should not begin to attend school until their status has been changed. Failure to maintain a nonimmigrant status could result in deportation. Even more so, it could cause an immigrant to be barred from returning to the U.S.

There are many reasons to travel to the United States, and there are also many reasons to remain in the country. In order to ensure one is legally in the country, it is important that all paperwork has been filed and the required approvals are obtained. Those unsure of their situation or what options they have should seek legal guidance. This will ensure their rights and interests are protected.

Source: Uscis.gov, "Change My Nonimmigrant Status," accessed May 13, 2018

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