The form I-539 ( Application to extend/change non-immigrant status) is used by people in the US who wish to change their status from one non- immigrant status to another or to extend their stay. In certain situations the applicant may use this form to apply for initial non-immigrant status. Students who have non-immigrant F1 and M1 visas may also use this form to apply for reinstatement.
Application to extend/change non-immigrant status:
The form I-539 must be filed before the current authorized stay expires. The law requires the form I-539 to be filed at least 45 days before the stay expires or when the applicant determines the need to change the status.
If the applicant files the Form I-539 to change status or extend the stay after the stay expires, he/she may be justified when the applicant provides an explanation that the delay in filing the petition is reasonable such as,
– the delay was due to unavoidable circumstances
– have not violated the status in anyway
– still a bona-fide non-immigrant
– not in removal proceedings
Who may file:
Individuals who are in the non-immigrant status in the United States such as B1 and B2 visitors, E2, E3 visitors,Vocational, academic and non-academic students, J1 exchange visitors, Dependents of temporary workers in H1 status, Dependents of religious workers in R status, Spouse and children of Permanent Residents in V status, Workers and dependents in TN status can petition to extend their stay.
An individual is eligible to file form I-539 to change the status only when he/she
– has entered US lawfully with a non-immigrant visa,
– has a non-immigrant visa that is still valid,
– does not have any criminal background,
– has not committed any other crime to violate the non-immigrant status.
Spouse and children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of the individual may be included in the application only when they are in the same status as that of the applicant or in the derivative status.
Who may not file:
Individuals who were admitted under Visa waiver program and those who are in a transit (with or without a visa), crewmen or a fiancé(e) or dependent of a fiancé are not eligible to apply for extension of stay or change their status.
The eligible applicants must complete and send the Application to extend/change non-immigrant status to USCIS along with required evidence and relevant fees. After USCIS receives the petition, they will check for completeness. USCIS may require more information from the applicant and may request the applicants to appear for an interview. At the interview the original evidences will be checked for eligibility. The approval of the Form I-539 will be determined by the applicant’s eligibility, based on the purpose of the petition and the reasons for changing status or extension of their stay. If the petition is for extension of stay, the period of extension will be decided by the USCIS. A petition will be denied by USCIS if there are circumstances for an unwarranted extension. The applicants will be notified by a notification letter from USCIS on the approval of the petition.