Non-immigrant visa. Illustration.
Shelle-Ann Simon

Shelle-Ann Simon

¿From Student to Work visa?: How to change your non-immigrant visa status

If you have a non-immigrant visa to visit, work or study in the United States, and you want to change your status to another type of non-immigrant visa, this article is for you!

There are many kinds of non-immigrant visas, and some have benefits that others lack. Maybe you came to the country to study with a non-immigrant visa for students but then decided to extend your stay and make some money with a work visa.

Or maybe you came for business but wanted to stay longer in order to visit the country as a tourist. The type of non-immigrant visa you need will always depend on what you want to do in the country during your stay. This is why many people seek to modify their documentation to another type of non-immigrant visa status.

What is a non-immigrant visa exactly?

A Non-immigrant visa or C-2 visa is a document required by those seeking to be in the United States legally, but only temporarily. The period of validity will depend on the type of visa requested.

In the country we have more than 40 options to adjust to the needs of foreigners, covering a wide range of possibilities from employment authorizations to student visas. However, once you are here, plans can change, leading people to want to change the type of non-immigrant visa with which they arrived to a different one while in the country.

Requirements to modify your non-immigrant visa status

You can only change your non-immigrant visa if you meet the following list of requirements:

  • You have legally entered the country as a non-immigrant
  • You have not committed any offense that could deprive you of the right to obtain immigration benefits
  • There are no other reasons why you must leave the United States before re-entering with another classification
  • You have submitted your C-2 visa change request via email
  • You have a valid passport that has not expired at any time during your application
  • The step-by-step application process
  • The procedures to make the application for a change of Non-immigrant visa will depend on the type of visa that you want to acquire.

I want to work in the US temporarily, but I have another kind of visa, what can I do?

If you are interested in applying for an employment-based nonimmigrant visa, the first step is to have your prospective employer complete and submit a so-called Form I-129, Application for a Nonimmigrant Worker, before your Form I-129 94 expires. This document specifies that you will perform for the petitioner the type of employment covered by the new non-immigrant classification, and it also clarifies that you meet the requirements requested to be able to change your immigration status.

If you want to apply for another type of category, the form to be sent is Form I-539.

Non-immigrant visa. Illustration.

What happens if I want to change status but my previous visa expired?

It may happen that your previous non-immigrant visa has lost its validity, or that you have violated any of the terms and conditions to be a beneficiary of this status, causing you to automatically be granted the “Out of status” label.

Unfortunately, this disqualifies the foreigner from applying for another C-2 visa. Exceeding the authorized length of stay is considered a serious offense in the United States, and the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recommends leaving the country to reduce its negative impact on your future entries to the United States.

How long do processing times for a non-immigrant visa change of status take?

As with all immigration procedures in the US, the time it will take USCIS to process your application will depend on many factors. To stay up to date on the status of your application, you should periodically check the agency’s website.

If you are in need of immigration legal advice, do not hesitate to contact us! At the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon we have wide experience in immigration proceedings, family law, and personal injury and have successfully defended our clients for over 10 years. Contact us through our website or give us a call at 281-606-5362!

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