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

$370

$85

CNMI initial grant of status

$370

$85

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

Free

Free

All other filing types

$370

Free

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.