Our website is currently being remodeled. Thank you for visiting us while we continue to improve!

I-539 FORM TO EXTEND/CHANGE NONIMMIGRANT STATUS

The I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status allows individuals under a nonimmigrant status in the United States to either change to another nonimmigrant classification or to extend their stay under the current status.

Individuals most often require to file an I-539 application under urgent and unique circumstances such as when they cannot depart the United States due to medical reasons or if they have received a job offer that requires that they remain in the United States.

At Tsang & Associates, we offer a complete I-539 application filing service. We have successful experience in filing expedited extensions, as well as a change of status from a tourist visa to a nonimmigrant work visa or student visa. Our attorneys will assess individual circumstances and will prepare a comprehensive strategy that will enable the applicant to meet the requirements to qualify for a change of nonimmigrant status or extension.

7

LEGAL FEE

Our fee structure is unique to us as we strive to tailor our services for each client individually. We adapt price standards that are capable of fluctuating for each client depending on their unique needs. Clients may retain us for one or all of the above steps/services.

We are happy to customize a proposal for your during a consultation and walk you through what a standard I-539 case looks like.  Please see below for more information. 

7

CASE PROCESSING OVERVIEW

Step 1: Strategy Session for the I-539 Application

This is the most crucial step for your entire I-539 Application. We will review all of the supporting documents to create a strategy, a customized checklist, and a timeline to serve as the guiding foundation for the entire case preparation.

Step 2: Prepare and Submit the I-539 Application to USCIS

Our attorneys will craft your I-539 arguments and complete all forms, organize supporting documents, and assemble the crafted arguments into the proper application formats. After a thorough review, we will then submit the application to USCIS.

Step 3: Biometrics Appointment (if applicable)

Certain nonimmigrants will need to attend a biometrics appointment most commonly known as the fingerprinting appointment. USCIS will conduct a mandatory criminal background check and verify your identity. The process itself does not take long and our office will assist you during this process.

Step 4: Approval is Only the Beginning

After satisfying the requirements, you will receive a Decision notice. Our team will help you prepare for the next steps.

7

I-539 CHECKLIST OF REQUIRED EVIDENCE

Generally, you will need to submit a copy of Form I-94, Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Record for each person in your application in addition to valid passports and travel document numbers. However, each category may also require additional evidence according to USCIS policy:

Ambassador, Public Minister, or Career Diplomatic or Consular Officer and Their Immediate Family Members

  • Form I-566, Interagency Record of Request, certified by the U.S. Department of State (DOS), to indicate your accredited status

A-3 Attendant or Servant Of An A Nonimmigrant and The A-3's Immediate Family Members

  • A copy of the employer’s Form I-94 or approval notice demonstrating A status
  • An original letter from the employer
  • An original Form I-566, Interagency Record of Request, certified by DOS, indicating the employer’s accredited status

B-1 Visitor For Business or B-2 Visitor For Pleasure

  • A written statement

CW-2 Dependents Of A CW-1 Transitional Worker

  • Evidence of lawful presence in Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) 
  • Evidence of each applicant’s relationship to the CW-1 transitional worker
  • One of the following:
    • Form I-129CW, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker in the CNMI, filed on behalf of the CW-1 transitional worker;
    • A copy of the I-797 Receipt Notice related to the transitional worker’s currently pending petition;
    • A copy of the transitional worker’s most recent Form I-94; or
    • A copy of the I-797 Approval Notice showing the transitional worker has been granted status

Dependents of a Principal E Nonimmigrant

  • Evidence of each applicant’s relationship to the principal E nonimmigrant
  • At least one of the following:
    • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, filed on behalf of the principal E nonimmigrant;
    • A copy of the I-797 Receipt Notice related to the principal E nonimmigrant’s currently pending Form I-129;
    • A copy of the principal E nonimmigrant’s most recent Form I-94; or
    • A copy of the I-797 Approval Notice showing the principal E nonimmigrant has been granted status

F-1 Academic Student

  • A copy of Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student
  • Evidence of your ability to pay for your studies and support yourself and your dependents

G Designated Principal Resident Representative Of A Foreign Government and Their Immediate Family Members

  • Form I-566, Interagency Record of Request

G-5 Attendant or Servant Of A G Nonimmigrant and The G-5’s Immediate Family Members

  • A copy of employer’s Form I-94 or approval notice showing G status 
  • An original letter from your employer
  • An original Form I-566, Interagency Record of Request, certified by DOS

H-4 Dependents of an H Temporary Worker

  • Evidence of each applicant’s relationship to the H temporary worker
  • At least one of the following:
    • Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, filed on behalf of the H temporary worker;
    • A copy of the I-797 Receipt Notice related to the H temporary worker’s currently pending Form I-129
    • A copy of the H temporary worker’s Form I-94; or
    • A copy of the I-797 Approval Notice showing the H temporary worker has been granted status

I Representative of Foreign Media and Dependents

  • A letter from the employing foreign media organization that verifies the employment, establishes that the I principal is a representative of the organization, and describes the pay and work to be performed; 
  • Evidence of each dependent’s relationship to the principal (if applicable)

J-1 Exchange Visitor

  • DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status

L-2 Dependents of an L Intracompany Transferee

  • Evidence of each applicant’s relationship to the L intracompany transferee
  • At least one of the following:
    • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, filed on behalf of the L intracompany transferee;
    • A copy of the I-797 Receipt Notice related to the L intracompany transferee’s currently pending form I-129;
    • A copy of the L intracompany transferee’s Form I-94; or
    • A copy of the I-797 Approval Notice showing the L intracompany transferee has been granted status

M-1 Vocational or Non-Academic Student

  • A copy of Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student
  • Evidence of your ability to pay for your studies and support yourself and your dependents

M-1 Extension

  • A copy of Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student
  • Evidence of your ability to pay for your studies and support yourself and your dependents
  • Evidence of one of the following:
    • That compelling educational or medical reasons caused the delay in your course of study;
    • You transferred to a different school; or
    • That you are applying for post-completion practical training

O-3 Dependents Of An O Alien Of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement

  • Evidence of each applicant’s relationship to the O nonimmigrant worker
  • At least one of the following:
    • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, filed on behalf of the O nonimmigrant worker;
    • A copy of the Form I-797 Receipt Notice related to the O nonimmigrant worker’s currently pending Form I-129 petition;
    • A copy of the front and back of the O nonimmigrant worker’s Form I-94; or
    • A copy of the Form I-797 Approval Notice showing the O nonimmigrant worker has been granted status 

P-4 Dependents Of A P Artist, Athlete, or Entertainer

  • Evidence of each applicant’s relationship to the P nonimmigrant worker
  • At least one of the following:
    • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, filed on behalf of the P nonimmigrant worker;
    • A copy of the Form I-797 Receipt Notice related to the P nonimmigrant worker’s currently pending Form I-129 petition;
    • A copy of the front and back of the P nonimmigrant worker’s Form I-94; or
    • A copy of the Form I-797 Approval Notice showing the P nonimmigrant worker has been granted status 

R-2 Dependents Of An R Religious Worker

  • Evidence of each applicant’s relationship to the R religious worker
  • At least one of the following:
    • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, filed on behalf of the R religious worker;
    • A copy of the Form I-797 Receipt Notice related to the R religious worker’s currently pending Form I-129 petition;
    • A copy of the front and back of the R religious worker’s Form I-94; or
    • A copy of the Form I-797 Approval Notice showing the R religious worker has been granted status 

TD Dependents Of A TN Canadian or Mexican Professional

  • Evidence of each applicant’s relationship to the TN professional worker
  • At least one of the following:
    • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, filed on behalf of the TN professional worker;
    • A copy of the Form I-797 Receipt Notice related to the TN professional worker’s currently pending Form I-129 petition;
    • A copy of the front and back of the TN professional worker’s Form I-94; or
    • A copy of the Form I-797 Approval Notice showing the TN professional worker has been granted status

Extension Of T Nonimmigrant Status

  • A copy of the Form I-94 or Form I-797 Approval Notice for your Form I-914 showing you have been granted T status;
  • Evidence demonstrating law enforcement need, such as a new Form I-914 Supplement B, or other evidence from law enforcement explaining that the applicant’s presence is necessary, if filing based on law enforcement need, or
  • Evidence of exceptional circumstances if filing based on exceptional circumstances

Extension Of T Derivative Nonimmigrant Status

  • If the T-1 principal nonimmigrant is applying for the extension to be applied to derivative family members:
    • A written request that the extension be applied to such family members
    • A list of each derivative separately on Form I-539 Supplement A
    • A copy of each listed derivative’s Form I-94 or Form I-797 Approval Notice for Form I-914A
  • If the derivative is filing independently for an extension of status: 
    • Justification for the extension request (a statement of need and reasons)
    • A copy of the derivative’s Form I-94 or Form I-797 Approval Notice for Form I-914A, or the passport with T nonimmigrant visa showing that the applicant has already been granted T nonimmigrant status
    • Evidence of relationship to the T-1 nonimmigrant principal

    Extension Of U Nonimmigrant Status

    • If you are filing based on law enforcement need: 
      • A copy of the Form I-94 or I-797 Approval Notice showing the applicant has been granted U nonimmigrant status
      • Evidence demonstrating law enforcement need 
    • If you are filing based on exceptional circumstances: 
      • A copy of the Form I-94 or I-797 Approval Notice for Form I-918 showing the applicant has been granted U nonimmigrant status
      • Evidence demonstrating exceptional circumstances, such as an affirmative statement of any other credible evidence

    Extension Of U Derivative Nonimmigrant Status

    • If the U-1 principal nonimmigrant is applying for the extension to be applied to derivative family members:
      • A written request that the extension be applied to such family members
      • A list of each derivative separately on Form I-539 Supplement A
      • A copy of each listed derivative’s Form I-94 or Form I-797 Approval Notice for Form I-918A  
    • If the U-2, U-3, U-4, or U-5 nonimmigrant is filing independently for an extension of status:
      • Justification for the extension request (a statement of need and reasons)
      • A copy of the derivative’s Form I-94 or I-797 Approval Notice for Form I-918A, or the passport with U nonimmigrant visa showing that the applicant has already been granted U nonimmigrant status;
      • Evidence of relationship to the U-1 nonimmigrant principal

    V Nonimmigrant Status As The Principal Spouse or Child Of A Lawful Permanent Resident or As A Derivative Child

    • Evidence our lawful permanent residence spouse or parent filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on your behalf, on or before April 30, 2001 
    • Evidence you are spouse or unmarried child of the Form I-130 petitioner, or that you are a derivative child of the principal beneficiary
    • If you are 21 years of age or older and seeking extension of V status:
      • Evidence of previous grant of V status
      • Evidence your lawful permanent resident parent filed Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, on your behalf, on or before April 30, 2001
      • Evidence you are the unmarried son or daughter of the I-130 petitioner
    7

    ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

    When to use I-539 Application

    You must submit an application for extension of stay or change of status before your current authorized stay expires. Even if you are approved for another status in the future, you will be required to file a Form I-539 to “bridge” any gap that might arise between the expiration of your current status and validity of your future status. Therefore, we suggest you 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 demonstrate when you file the application that:

    • The delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control;
    • The length of the delay was reasonable;
    • You have not otherwise violated your status;
    • You are still a bona fide nonimmigrant; and
    • You are not in removal proceedings.

      Filing Fee

      The updated filing fee for I-539 can be found here.  You and each co-applicant must also pay an $85 biometric services fee.  

      Exceptions: Individuals changing into or out of A-1, A-2, A-3, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, G-5, NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5, or NATO-6 status are not required to submit either the filing fee or the biometric services fee.

      You may pay the fee with a money order, personal check, or cashier’s check. 

        Filing Tips

        Complete all sections of the form. We will reject the form if these fields are missing:

        • Part 1 – Information About You
          • Family Name
          • Mailing Address
          • Date of Birth
          • Current nonimmigrant status
        • Part 2 – Application Type
          • I am applying for (1., 2.. or 3.a.)
          • The status I am requesting (3.b or 3.c)
          • Total number of People Included in This Application.

        Don’t forget to sign your form!

        File in 2 ways

        Types of Nonimmigrant Categories

        • Employment-Based requiring Form I-129
        • Other Nonimmigrant Categories requiring Form I-539

        Eligibility for I-539 Application

        • Lawful admittance as a nonimmigrant
        • Nonimmigrant visa status remains valid
        • No committed acts that make you ineligible for immigration benefit
        • No violations to the conditions of admission
        • Passport is valid and will remain valid for the duration of your stay

        Important Forms for I-539 Application

        • I-94, Arrival Departure Record
        • I-94W, Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival-Departure Record
        • I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker
        • I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

        Special Restrictions for Change of Status

        • J-1: Exchange Visitor subject to the 2-year foreign residence requirement cannot change status, with certain exceptions
        • M-1: Vocational student cannot change status to F-1 or H classification (if the vocational training helped him/her qualify for the H classification)

        Nonimmigrant Categories eligible for Extension

        • A-3 (Attendants, Servants, Personal Employees of Diplomatic and Other Government Officials and Immediate Family)
        • B-1 and B-2 (Visitors for Business or Pleasure)
        • E-1 and E-2 (Dependents of Treaty Traders, Treaty Investors, and Their Employees)
        • E-3 (Dependents of Skilled Professionals from Australia)
        • G-5 (Attendants, Servants, Personal Employees of Foreign Government Officials and Immediate Family)
        • H-4 (Dependents of Temporary Skilled or Unskilled Workers and Trainees)
        • K-3 and K-4 (Spouse of U.S. Citizen and Minor Child Accompanying/Following to Join) L-2 (Dependents of Intracompany Transferees)
        • M (Vocational Students and Dependents)
        • N (Parents and Children of Certain People Who Have Been Granted Special Immigrant Status)
        • NATO-7 (Attendants, Servants, Personal Employees of NATO Representatives, Officials, Employees and Immediate Family Members)
        • O-3 (Dependents of Aliens With Extraordinary Ability and Their Assistants)
        • P-4 (Dependents of Athletes and Entertainers)
        • R-2 (Dependents of Religious Workers)
        • All “V”categories (Certain Second Preference Beneficiaries)
        • TD (Dependents of Canadians and Mexicans under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA))

        Nonimmigrant Categories eligible for Change of Status

        • A (Diplomatic and Other Government Officials, Immediate Family members, and Employees)
        • B-1 & B-2 (Visitors for Business or Pleasure)
        • E-1 & E-2 (Dependents of Treaty Traders, Treaty Investors, and Their Employees)
        • E-3 (Dependents of Skilled Professionals from Australia)
        • F (Academic Students and Dependents) G (Foreign Government Officials, Certain Immediate Family Members, and Employees)
        • H-4 (Dependents of Temporary Skilled or Unskilled Workers and Trainees)
        • L-2 (Dependents of Intracompany Transferees)
        • M (Vocational Students and Dependents)
        • N (Parents and Children of Certain People Who Have Been Granted Special Immigrant Status)
        • NATO (NATO Representatives, Officials, Employees, and Immediate Family Members)
        • O-3 (Dependents of Aliens with Extraordinary Ability and Their Assistants)
        • P-4 (Dependents of Athletes and Entertainers)
        • R-2 (Dependents of Religious Workers)
        • TD (Dependents of Canadians and Mexicans under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA))

        Employment-Based Categories Eligible for both Extension AND Change of Status

        • E-1 and E-2 (Treaty Traders, Treaty Investors, and Employees of Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors)
        • E-3 (Skilled Professionals from Australia)
        • H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3 (Temporary Skilled or Unskilled Workers and Trainees)
        • L-1A or L-1B (Intracompany Transferees)
        • O-1 or O-2 (Aliens with Extraordinary Ability and Their Assistants)
        • P-1, P-2, or P-3 (Athletes and Entertainers) Q-1 (International Cultural Exchange Visitors)
        • R-1 (Religious Workers)
        • TN-1 or TN-2 (Canadians and Mexicans under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA))

        SAMPLE & TEMPLATES

        $

        Attorney Brief:  [coming soon] We will provide an attorney brief sample for the I-539 petition.

        $

        Cover Letter: [coming soon] We will also provide a cover letter sample for the I-539 petition.

        $

        Sample Request for Evidence: [coming soon] Requests for evidence can be used to strengthen the case.

        $

        Forms: Here is a list of the forms that are needed by USCIS

        $

        Sample Checklist: [coming soon] We look at the client’s unique situation and create customized checklists to strengthen their cases.

        $

        USCIS Fee Calculator: This is to help calculate how much the filing fee will be.

        $

        USCIS Mailing Address: This address is where it is mailed to USCIS.

        $

        USCIS Processing Timetable: This will help you figure out how long it will take to process.

        $

        ASC Field Offices: Listed are the addresses of the field offices for the bio-metrics.

        7

        FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

        How long is the I-539 Application processing time?

        According to USCIS, processing times may vary, but it is recommended you file at least 45 days prior to your I-94 expiration date.

        What happens if I already submitted an I-539 application to extend/change my status, but USCIS does not respond before my I-94 expires?

        Your lawful nonimmigrant status ends when your Form I-94 expires, even if you applied to extend/change your nonimmigrant status in a timely manner. Usually by discretion, USCIS will defer removal proceeding until after a decision is made. If you filed prior to your I-94 expiration, you do not accrue “unlawful presence” while your application is pending so if you are approved later on, your status while waiting would have been considered lawful and your extension/change of status would refer to the expiration on your I-94. If you are denied, you must depart immediately and any nonimmigrant visa in your passport conceded in connection with your classification becomes invalid.

        What If My Authorized Stay Has Already Expired? (What If I Am Late Filing for an Extension?)

        If you are late filing for an extension and your authorized stay has already expired, you must prove that: 

        • The delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control;
        • The length of the delay was reasonable;
        • You have not done anything else to violate your nonimmigrant status (such as work without USCIS approval);
        • You are still a nonimmigrant (This means you are not trying to become a permanent resident of the United States. There are some exceptions.); and · You are not in formal proceedings to remove (deport) you from the country.

        What if I am outside of the Country ? How do Biometrics work with Travel outside of USA ?

        As per USCIS guidance, on their I-539 form instructions (page 12), you should call up the nearest US consulate/ embassy and arrange for the biometrics. It says “If you are currently overseas, instruct you to contact a US Embassy, US Consulate or USCIS Office outside of United States to setup an appointment”

        How Do I Get Another USCIS Form I-94 "Arrival/Departure Document" If the Original Was Submitted With the Application to Extend My Stay?

        If your application for an extension is approved, you will be issued a replacement I-94 with a new departure date. If your application is denied, your original or copy of the  I-94 will be returned with a request for your immediate departure.

        How do I extend/change status under an employment-based category?

        Your prospective employer must file an I-129 Application, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker prior to your I-94 expiration.

        When can I start work in the new classification?

        You cannot begin work in your new classification until the change of status is approved.

        If I extend my stay/change status under an employment-based category, how should I file an extension for family members?

        Your employer files an I-129 Application for you, but your spouse and unmarried children under 21 must file using the I-539 Application. USCIS recommends you file the I-129 and I-539 together so they can be adjudicated about the same time. Although you are filing together, these are separate applications requiring different supporting documents.

        If I am already in the U.S. on a valid nonimmigrant visa, and I decide to attend school, how do I change to F or M status?

        Ensure your nonimmigrant classification is eligible as not all classifications are eligible to change status. After confirming eligibility:

        If my nonimmigrant visa expires more than 30 days before my F-1 or M-1 program starts, how do I “bridge the gap” if I want to stay in the U.S. until then?

        You must file a separate Form I-539 to extend your current status or change to another nonimmigrant status on top of your Form I-539 application to change to student status. Because extending or changing nonimmigrant status to “bridge the gap” and changing to F-1 or M-1 status are two distinct benefits, you must file separately for each request. If you do not file this separate request prior to the expiration of your status, USCIS will deny your Form I-539 request to change to F-1 or M-1 status as you would be in unlawful status for the 30+ day gap. 

        7

        SCHEDULE A SESSION

        Call or email us to set up your 1-hour consultation. Easily pay the $250 consultation fee over the phone or through our email link. If you would like to have a quick chat with our team before setting up the consultation, feel free to use the calendar on the right to book your 10 minute call.

        7