- When you apply for a change of status, you are required to explain why you did not originally enter the U.S. in the status you are now requesting. A change of circumstances or intention should be explained fully and documented.
- Individuals currently in J status (including J-2) who are subject to the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement may not change status in the U.S. unless a waiver has been granted.
- If you leave the U.S. before a decision is made on your change of status request, your application is no longer valid.
- Complete Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (PDF).
- A fee of $300.00 must be included. Make check payable to “Department of Homeland Security” Note: This fee is subject to change, please check the above link for updates.
- Include a letter from you to USCIS stating why wish to change status.
- Send your complete application packet to:
USCIS California Service Center
P. O. Box 10539
Laguna Beach, CA 92607-1053
If you want proof of mailing, we recommend using the United States Postal Service (USPS) “delivery confirmation" service. The Post Office is the only service that confirms delivery to a post office (P.O.) box address.
We recommend you keep a copy of all documents for your files.
- You can change your visa status by leaving the U.S. and returning on a new visa.
- You must apply for a new visa at a U.S. Consulate Office outside the U.S.
- We recommend applying at the local consulate in your home country.
- Apply early, although the consulate cannot issue the visa until 90 days before the start of your program.
- Further, you can enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the program start date.
Seeing an Adviser
You may wish to consult with an adviser to discuss your changing status options. Please call The International Center at 801-581-8876 to make an appointment with one of the ARO Officers (Alternative Responsible Officer). Please bring all the required documents with you to the appointment.
Changing from J-1 to H-1B
Please check with the Office of General Counsel, who processes the H-1B Temporary Employment Visa. If you have a two-year home stay requirement, you cannot change to the H-1 status until you obtain a waiver or have fulfilled the home stay by residing in your home country for two years.