I-539: Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

What is Form I-539?

Form I-539 is an Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigration Status from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Applicants submit I-539 in order to change their immigration classification or to extend their current status. While applicants can change their immigration classification, the new status must be an non-immigrat visa status. To change your status to a permanent resident, you must file Form I-485 to obtain a green card.

In this section, we will explain two use case for filing Form I-539 to the USCIS.

Applicants extending the stay

Not every non-immigrant visa type can be extended. For foreign nationals who entered the U.S. with a non-immigrant visas, the type of visa will determine if you can request for extension. Below is the list of nonimmigrant visas that can be extended. For these, file I-539 form to request an extension:

  • A visa
  • A-3 visa
  • B visa
  • CW-1 visa holder dependents
  • E visa holder dependents
  • F visa holders and their dependents
  • G visa
  • G-5 visa
  • H dependents
  • K-3 visa holders and minor children
  • K-4 visa holders
  • L dependents
  • M visa holders and their dependents
  • N visa
  • NATO-7
  • O visa holder dependents
  • P visa holder dependents
  • R visa holder dependents
  • TD dependents of TN visa holders


Below is the list of non-immigrant visas that cannot be extended. For visa holders of this category must not stay beyond the date specified in Form I-94.

  • C visa holder
  • D visa holder
  • K-1 visa holder
  • K-2 visa holder
  • K-3 visa holder
  • K-4 visa holder
  • S visa holder
  • TWOV visa holder
  • WT visa holder
  • WB visa holder


There are two visa types with special restrictions in changing their status. For J-1 visa holders, they are subject to 2 year foreign residence. For M-1 visa holders, they cannot transition to F-1 visa or any H visa they went to vocational school for.

Applicants changing their visa status

Non-immigrant visa holders can request visa status change to three categories: 1) Temporary non-immigrant worker, 2) Dependent of a temporary non-immigrant worker, and 3) Student. In each case, applicants must accompany the request with supporting documents and forms. Instruction below specifies required documents for each category.

  1. Temporary non-immigrant worker
  • Required form: I-129; I-539 is not required for this transition
  1. Dependent of a temporary non-immigrant worker
    • Required form: I-539
  2. Student
    • Required form: I-539 accompanied by Form I-20 for F status or Form DS-2019 for J status. Note this process can take up to 6 months.

What are I-539 Instructions?

Depending on the applicant’s status, there are special I-539 instructions. See below for visa type instructions.

Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Residents

  • Applicants should follow the Initial Grant of Status Guidance
  • Applicants should use CNMI Post Office Box as your address
  • Applicants submit their package to the California Service Center

B Nonimmigrant Extension

  • Applicants must complete Form M-752

B1 or B2 Nonimmigrants

  • Applicants must follow special instructions if they wish to enroll in school

K-3/4 Nonimmigrants

  • Applicants must complete form I-539 to extend your status while waiting on a green card
  • Applicants may complete form I-765 with Form I-539.
  • Applicants may travel outside of the United States and be readmitted as a K-3/4, if you have a valid passport and K-3/4 visa.

V Nonimmigrants

  • Applicants must complete Form I-539 Supplement A
  • Applicants may complete form I-765 with Form I-539.
  • Applicants may travel outside of the U.S. and be readmitted as a V nonimmigrant, if you have a valid passport and obtain a V visa from the Department of State.

What is Filing Fee for Form I-539?

For nonimmigrant visa holders filing I-539, filing fee may vary on the status. Applicants must pay the full amount at the time of filing. Paying the wrong fee amount may lead to a rejection.

Visa Type

Filing Fee

Biometric Services Fee

V Nonimmigrants



CNMI initial grant of status



A1, A2, A3, G1, G2, G3, G4, G5



All other filing types



Also, applicants under circumstances can file a fee waiver form (I-912) to waive the filing and biometric fees. An example of valid circumstance is an individual living at or below 150% of federal poverty guidelines. Please note if you are filing under DACA, you cannot waive the fees.

Who is Eligible for Form I-539?

Form I-539 is an application used by individuals to apply for a change in (or extension of) status within the United States. Eligible applicants include non-immigrants already in the U.S. who wish to change their status (for example, from student to tourist), or extend their stay in the U.S. beyond the period authorized by their current visa. Additionally, certain family members may use Form I-539 to apply for a change or extension of status on behalf of a principal visa holder.

What is the Latest Form I-539 Edition?

The latest edition of Form I-539 is dated June 11, 2020.

What are the Required Documents for Form I-539?

1. Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
2. Passport valid for at least six months into the future
3. Proof of financial support (e.g., pay stubs, bank statements, or authorized sponsor letter)
4. Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record
5. Form I-797, Notice of Action (if applicable)
6. Evidence of current nonimmigrant status
7. A copy of the biographic page from your passport
8. Two passport-style photographs
9. Copy of a marriage certificate or other evidence of family relationship (if applicable)
10. Medical examination report (if required)

What are the Filing Tips for Form I-539?

1. Make sure you are eligible for the benefit you are requesting. Be sure to read the instructions for Form I-539 carefully and make sure you meet all of the requirements before filing.

2. Gather all of the required documentation that will be needed to support your application. This may include a copy of your passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, or other proof of identity and residence.

3. Complete the form accurately and truthfully. Make sure that all of the information provided is up-to-date and correct.

4. Sign and date the form in blue or black ink. Make sure not to sign more than one form at a time.

5. File the application with the appropriate fee either by mail or in person at a USCIS office. Make sure to include any additional documents that may be required by USCIS, such as evidence of financial support or proof of employment.

6. Once the application has been received by USCIS, check your case status online on a regular basis to make sure it is progressing as expected.

Are There Special Instructions for Form I-539?

Yes, there are special instructions for Form I-539.

1. You must complete Form I-539 in English.

2. All fee payments must be made in U.S. dollars and drawn from a U.S. financial institution.

3. If you are filing more than one petition at the same time, include a separate application and fee for each petition.

4. All required supporting documents should be included with the application.

5. The signature of the applicant or authorized representative is required on all applications.

6. All applications must be mailed to the address listed on the form instructions for the appropriate service center.

7. If you are filing for an extension of stay, you must submit your application before your authorized period of stay expires.

8. If you are filing for a change of status, you must submit your application before your authorized period of stay expires or within 30 days from the date you were last admitted to the United States, whichever is earlier.

Can I Apply for Form I-539 Fee Waiver or Reduction?

Yes, you may apply for a Form I-539 fee waiver or reduction. In order to do so, you must meet certain criteria, such as demonstrating financial hardship or being an asylum applicant. Additionally, certain organizations such as religious charities, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations may also be eligible for a fee waiver or reduction.

In order to apply for a fee waiver or reduction, you must submit Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, to the USCIS along with your Form I-539. You must also provide proof of your eligibility for the fee waiver or reduction when you submit your application.

Additionally, if you are under the age of 14 or over 80 years old, you may qualify for a reduced filing fee. Please refer to the USCIS website for more information on fee waivers and reductions.

What is the Form I-539 Processing Time?

The processing time for Form I-539 varies and is dependent on the individual case. Generally, it takes USCIS between 4 and 6 months to process Form I-539. However, processing times can be longer depending on the complexity of the case and the USCIS processing times in your area. It is important to note that USCIS may also require additional documents or information to process your application, which can further delay the processing time.

Form I-539 Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Form I-539?
Form I-539 is a USCIS form used to apply to extend or change your nonimmigrant status.

2. Who should use Form I-539?
Form I-539 should be used by individuals who are currently in the United States and are seeking to extend or change their nonimmigrant status. This form is not used to apply for a new nonimmigrant visa.

3. How do I submit Form I-539?
Form I-539 can be submitted either by mail or online. If you are submitting by mail, you must send it to the USCIS Service Center that serves your area, along with the filing fee and any additional documents required. If you are submitting online, you must create an account with USCIS to access the online filing system.

4. What is the filing fee for Form I-539?
The filing fee for Form I-539 is $370. This fee may vary depending on your situation, so please be sure to check the current fees before filing your application.

5. How long does it take to receive a decision on my application?
The processing time for Form I-539 varies depending on the USCIS office handling your case. Generally, it can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to receive a decision on your application.