Every foreigner entering the United States of America has a conditional authorization granted by USCIS, the U.S. consulate, or the U.S. border. This is commonly known as a visa. Individuals who are recipients of non-immigrant visas come into the U.S. for specific purposes. Commonly for school, work, medicals, vacation, or something else.
If you are within the United States and require changing the purpose of your entry after you arrive, this is possible through a Change of Status. If you are in this situation, you may need to get a different visa depending on the entry requirements of your current non-immigration status. The new visa should be in the category that defines the change, such as switching from education to work.
There are various ways of getting a new non-immigrant status in the U.S. Each change offers benefits and some drawbacks. Discussing this with an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer should be considered before making a decision.
The consulate processing option is used strategically or to save time. For example, it is applicable when you are not in the U.S or if you travel abroad for a extended period of time. In this situation, you need to go to the U.S. consulate or embassy to get a new visa. This allows you to re-enter the country in your new status.
Change Your Status in The U.S.
For this option, you can submit your change of non-immigrant status application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
This provision allows individuals to change their non-immigrant status from the U.S. Once this is approved, you will obtain a new status. However, no new visa will be issued.
Pros of Changing Your Nonimmigrant Status through Change of Status in the United States of America
- The applicant is allowed to stay in the United States during the processing period.
- Family members are usually allowed to change their non-immigrant status along with the primary visa applicant.
- The primary applicant can avoid the hassle that comes with a visa application.
- Changing your non-immigrant status allows you to pursue a different path either as a student, a skilled worker, or another available non-immigrant status.
Cons of Changing Your Nonimmigrant Status through Change of Status in the United States of America
- During the processing time, you must stay in the United States. If you leave the United States, your application gets canceled.
- Leaving the U.S. during the application process can result in denial and the requirement of reapplying at a consulate.
- There is a possibility that your application might be denied. If that happens, you can be required to leave the U.S.
- If you must travel outside of the country, you must obtain a matching visa stamp. The only exception is when you are traveling for less than 30 days to Mexico and Canada.
So Should You Change your Nonimmigrant Status in the U.S.?
This decision is dependent on the Eligibility and requirements.
- The primary applicant has to be in the U.S. at the time of application.
- Your immigration status during the period of the application period must be valid.
- The change can only take place if you meet the requirement of the new non-immigrant status.
- Remember that not all non-immigrant visas permit you to make such changes to your immigration status.
- If you entered the country on a visa waiver program, you can’t change your immigration status.
The visa categories available for non-immigrants are over 40. Each of these categories has different limits and requirements. New doors might open up for those who decide to change their immigration status in the U.S.
It would be best if you considered the processing time and expiration dates before changing your non-immigrant status. We recommend discussing with an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer such as US Immi Visa, who can help arrange your Change of Status or Consulate processing. Contact us for a free consultation.