You can change or extend your non-immigrant status while in the US if you have not violated the terms of your visa and if you are still in good status when you submit the application to change or extend.
CIS Form I-539 is used by B visa visitors to extend their stay or change to another nonimmigrant status; and it is used by F-1 student visa holders to apply for re-instatement.
You must submit an application for extension of stay, or change of status, before your current authorized stay expires. You should file at least 45 days before your stay expires or as soon as you determine your need to change or extend status.
Failure to file before the expiration date may be excused if you can demonstrate that the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control or the length of the delay was reasonable, and you have not violated your status.
The I-539 form is used by B-1 or B-2 Visitors, to extend their stay in the US. They must give reasons for the request, the reasons why the extended stay would be temporary, including what arrangements have been made to depart from the United States.
The I-539 is also used to request a change from B1 or B2 to F-1 student visa, or to request re-instatement of a student visa. You will need to submit an I-20 form from the school and proof of ability to pay for study and living expenses in the US.
For F-1 Reinstatement, you must submit evidence that your violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control or that that failure to approve reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to you.
Sometimes foreign students are not aware that they have fallen out of status. They need to check with their Foreign Student Advisor every semester to make sure their status is maintained.
B-1/B-2 Visitors Who Want to Enroll in School must first acquire F-1 student status. Enrolling in classes while in B-1/B-2 status will result in a status violation. Individuals in B-1 or B-2 status, who have violated their nonimmigrant status by enrolling in classes, are not eligible to extend their B status or change to F-1 status. There are no exceptions to these regulations.
If you enroll in classes before USCIS approves your Form I-539, you will be ineligible to change your nonimmigrant status from B to F. If you are applying to extend your B-1/B-2 stay and you have already enrolled in classes, USCIS cannot approve your B-1/B-2 extension because of the status violation.
In summary, there are two rules to keep in mind about changing or extending B1/B2 non-immigrant status:
- You must apply for an extension or change before your current visa expires, and
- You must avoid doing anything that violates the terms of your visa, such as enrolling in school or accepting any kind of employment.
Q.1 Is F2 status available for parents who want to remain in the US with their F1 student children?
A.1. No. Parents who want to remain in the US while their children study must request extensions of their B2 visa. It is possible for CIS to grant these extensions six months at a time.
Q.2. For foreign students: What will happen if you have been out of status for more than 5 months at the time of filing your request for re-instatement?
A.2. You must provide evidence that your failure to file within the 5 month period was the result of exceptional circumstances and that you filed your request for reinstatement as promptly as possible under these exceptional circumstances. If there are no exceptional circumstances, your request for re-instatement may be denied.
Q.3. Is it permissible to enroll in school while in B-1/B-2 status?
A.3. No, it is not. The regulations specifically prohibit study in the United States while in B-1 or B-2 status.
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