• Hours & Info

    (562) 495-0554
    M-F: 8:00am - 6:00 p.m.
    Sat: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Social

  • Past Blog Posts

USCIS Announces Workload Transfer for Certain I-539s from VSC to TSC

USCIS announced that on September 17, 2018, it transferred certain Forms I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, for F, M, J, or B nonimmigrants from the Vermont Service Center (VSC) to the Texas Service Center (TSC).

Changing Status of Filing an EB-5?

USCIS announced that on June 15, 2015, it stopped accepting electronically filed Forms I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, and Forms I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. Paper versions of the forms must be used while USCIS updates the online filing system. USCIS also discontinued the EB-5 Regional Center Document Library. USCIS stated that pending or draft cases that were created prior to June 15, 2015, will not be adversely affected, and individuals will have 30 days to complete and submit draft cases.

Can I still Change my Status?

Question: I know that the immigration laws now only allow me to come into the U.S. on a Visitor Visa for only 30 days. I was planning to go to the U.S. to visit, and then later, if I found a good job offer, to change my status to some type of working status. Additionally, if I later decided, I was going to change my status to that of a student. Can I still do this?

 Answer: It appears that it will be much more difficult to change your status in this type of situation. Normally, when visitors came to the U.S. under the B1/B2 Visa, they had six months. At some later point after entering, they would be able to change their status. Please note that some rumors have been spreading that there is no more change of status applications being accepted. This is simply not true. Rather, it is the effect of applying for a change of status once you enter the U.S. that is the problem.

Question: Can you elaborate on what exactly is the problem?

Answer: Actually, when you come in on a Visitor Visa, you are supposed to be doing exactly that. VISITING! That means going to Disneyland, visiting relatives, and having a good time. It does not mean going to school, getting a job or applying for the Green Card. If you come to the U.S. and within 30 days apply for a change of status to some other type of status such as student or worker, the INS may not believe that you intended to ever really visit the U.S. They may assume that you used the Visitor Visa as a means to get into the U.S. so that you could do what you really wanted to do (such as work or go to school.)

 Question: What are the consequences of doing the change of status right after entering the U.S.?

Answer: First, they could deny your change of status application and you could go out of status. Next, the INS may very well assume that you committed fraud. That is, when you got the Visitor Visa and entered the U.S. that you did not really intend to visit, but rather, intended to go to school or to work in the United States. If that happens, you could be deported because you committed misrepresentation and fraud. The fraud will stay with you forever and never goes away. If you ever want to reenter the U.S., you will need to get a Fraud Waiver. Those are not easy waivers to obtain.

Question: What is the best way to avoid these drastic consequences?

 Answer: First, the way that people come into the U.S. is probably going to change. You must decide whether you want to go to school or work since these are the options you might be considering. If you are intending on going to school, then you should get the I-20 and apply for the Student Visa from your home country. Then, when you enter the U.S., you will be entering as a Student, not a Visitor. Alternatively, if you want to work in the U.S., you should have your sponsor file the petition prior to you getting to the U.S. Therefore, you will not have any allegations by INS that you committed fraud. You need to be very careful if you come to the U.S. with a Visitor Visa and then change your status right away. Obviously, since you only will be getting 30 days in the U.S., you must strongly consider not getting a change of status in the U.S.

Title: You mean I don’t have to go back?

Question: I have been here for several months on a Visitor Visa and have found that I love the U.S. I do not want to return to my home country. I have a Visa that states it is a Multiple Entry Visitor Visa for the next ten years. However, when I entered the U.S., I was given a white card that states that I must leave by next month. Is there anything I can do?

Answer: First, while you get the Visa at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy, it is the INS who actually controls how long you will stay in the U.S. They are the organization that you must pass at any port of entry into the U.S. A port of entry can be by road (i.e., from Canada or Mexico), or by airport (anywhere in the world.) When you enter the U.S., the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) will issue what is known as an I-94. This is a white card that is stapled to your passport. It will state exactly when you are authorized to stay in the U.S. If the visa in your passport lasts longer than the I-94, that is irrelevant. Further, if your passport expires during your stay in the U.S. that is also irrelevant as long as the time on your I-94 is still available.

You can file for a change of status. What this means is that as long as the application to change your status is done PRIOR to the expiration of your current stay, you will be able to remain in the U.S. while that application for change of status is being ruled upon.

Question: I read somewhere that the INS wants these type of applications at least 45 days before the expiration of your status. Is that true?

Answer: Normally that is true. However, the law is very specific. As long as you are currently in status at the time the application is received by INS, it will be timely. As a matter of fact, there have been many occasion when my office gets someone in the day before expiration of their status. We prepare the application and actually have it hand delivered on the day of expiration. In that event, it is still timely.

Question: What are the possibilities for changing my status and what types of applications will work?

Answer: Actually, there is a variety of different applications you can do. There are many different kinds of work visas such as the H-1B, H-2B, O-1, P-1 and so on. You can also change to a Student Status such as F-1 or M-1. To change to a working status you would need an employer who would agree to sponsor you. To change to a Student Status, you would need to get the I-20 from a school and then have that submitted with the application for Change of Status.

Question: Once I file the application for Change of Status can I start working or going to school right away?

Answer: No. You must wait while INS rules on the matter. However, you are given an automatic extension of your current status while the Change of Status is pending. Therefore, if you want to stay in the U.S. and your current status is about to expire, there are many ways to change your status and you should take advantage of the appropriate one.

Immigration Article: Can I still Change my Status?

Question: I know that the immigration laws now only allow me to come into the U.S. on a Visitor Visa for only 30 days. I was planning to go to the U.S. to visit, and then later, if I found a good job offer, to change my status to some type of working status. Additionally, if I later decided, I was going to change my status to that of a student. Can I still do this?

Answer: It appears that it will be much more difficult to change your status in this type of situation. Normally, when visitors came to the U.S. under the B1/B2 Visa, they had six months. At some later point after entering, they would be able to change their status. Please note that some rumors have been spreading that there is no more change of status applications being accepted. This is simply not true. Rather, it is the effect of applying for a change of status once you enter the U.S. that is the problem.

Question: Can you elaborate on what exactly is the problem?

 Answer: Actually, when you come in on a Visitor Visa, you are supposed to be doing exactly that. VISITING! That means going to Disneyland, visiting relatives, and having a good time. It does not mean going to school, getting a job or applying for the Green Card. If you come to the U.S. and within 30 days apply for a change of status to some other type of status such as student or worker, the INS may not believe that you intended to ever really visit the U.S. They may assume that you used the Visitor Visa as a means to get into the U.S. so that you could do what you really wanted to do (such as work or go to school.)

 Question: What if I come to the U.S. on a Visitor Visa and then marry my girlfriend in order to get the Green Card?

Answer: Again, the INS would look at this as fraud. In fact, if you get married within less than 60 days after entry to the U.S. on the Visitor Visa, you are presumed to have committed fraud. Not only will the application for Lawful Permanent Residency be denied, you could very well get deported because of the fraud.

 Question: What are the consequences of doing the change of status right after entering the U.S.?

Answer: First, they could deny your change of status application and you could go out of status. Next, the INS may very well assume that you committed fraud. That is, when you got the Visitor Visa and entered the U.S. that you did not really intend to visit, but rather, intended to go to school or to work in the United States. If that happens, you could be deported because you committed misrepresentation and fraud. The fraud will stay with you forever and never goes away. If you ever want to reenter the U.S., you will need to get a Fraud Waiver. Those are not easy waivers to obtain.

 Question: What is the best way to avoid these drastic consequences?

Answer: First, the way that people come into the U.S. is probably going to change. You must decide whether you want to go to school or work since these are the options you might be considering. If you are intending on going to school, then you should get the I-20 and apply for the Student Visa from your home country. Then, when you enter the U.S., you will be entering as a Student, not a Visitor. Alternatively, if you want to work in the U.S., you should have your sponsor file the petition prior to you getting to the U.S. Therefore, you will not have any allegations by INS that you committed fraud. You need to be very careful if you come to the U.S. with a Visitor Visa and then change your status right away. Obviously, since you only will be getting 30 days in the U.S., you must strongly consider not getting a change of status in the U.S.

%d bloggers like this: