Overview of Form I-539
Form I-539 is a document utilized by individuals in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa who seek to extend their stay or change their visa status. The form is processed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Purpose of Form I-539
Form I-539, officially titled “Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status,” serves two main functions:
- Extension of Stay: For nonimmigrants who wish to prolong their duration in the U.S. beyond the expiration date of their current visa.
- Change of Status: For nonimmigrants desiring to change their visa category while remaining in the U.S.
To illustrate, an individual on a tourist visa wanting more time for exploration can file for an extension, while a student who has recently gained employment might change status to a work visa.
The eligibility to file Form I-539 is not universal to all nonimmigrant classifications. Applicants must fall within specific nonimmigrant categories, such as:
- Tourists on a B-2 visa
- Students with an F-1 status
- Exchange visitors holding a J-1 classification
For comprehensive eligibility, the form’s instructions offer a detailed list. It’s paramount that applicants sustain the terms of their admission to the U.S., demonstrate a valid reason for their request, and file before the expiration of their current status. Notably, certain nonimmigrants, such as those on a Visa Waiver Program, cannot utilize Form I-539.