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Change or Extend Nonimmigrant Visa Status(I-539)

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What Is Form I-539?

Form I-539 is used by some nonimmigrants to extend or change their nonimmigrant status in the United States.

Nonimmigrants are otherwise known as temporary residents and are given visas based on what they intend to do in the United States, whether it is to study or vacation.

Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, lets these temporary residents either stay longer on their current visa designation or to switch to another visa designation.

There are other, more complicated purposes for this form that you can learn more about in the form instructions.


Who can use Form I-539?

Below is a list of some nonimmigrant visa designations that can use Form I-539 to change or extend their status in the United States.

  • A-1, A-2, A-3 diplomatic visas
  • B-1, B-2 business and tourism visas
  • CW-1 dependents
  • F academic student visas (this form can also be used to reinstate F-1 visas)
  • H visa dependents
  • J-1 exchange visitor visas
  • L intracompany transfer visas
  • M vocational or non-academic student visas
  • O visa dependents
  • R visa dependents
  • TD dependents

How do I use Form I-539?

Before filing Form I-539 it is important to make sure that it is the correct form to use and that you have the appropriate documentation to support your application.

For many people, especially those with routine visas and routine extensions, Form I-539 is simple. However, if you have a different kind of visa designation, it is important to read the form instructions closely.

Before filing, be sure to collect the following documents:

  • A copy of your Form I-94, Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Record, or, if that is not available, Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival Departure Document
  • A copy of your valid passport. Your passport has to be valid for your entire stay in the U.S.

How long does it take to get an extension or change of visa?

Form I-539 is estimated by the California Service Center to take about two and a half months to process as of late 2014.


How much does it cost to apply with Form I-539?

The following is a breakdown of the total cost of filing for a change or extension of status with Form I-539 with application assistance:

  • Application Assistance Fee: $199
  • USCIS fee: $370
  • Total: $569

If the USCIS requests a biometrics appointment, a fee of $85 is added for a total of $574