Navigating Change or Extension of Status: A Comprehensive Guide

Root Law Group emphasizes the significance of starting early, staying informed about USCIS updates, maintaining legal status, and seeking professional advice, especially in complex cases. Navigating the complexities of H1B extension and change of status can be a manageable venture with the right information and preparation. The following serves as a reliable resource, ensuring that individuals remain compliant with USCIS regulations and successfully operate their immigration journey in the United States.

Understanding H1B Extension Status

What is H1B Extension Status?

H1B extension status refers to the process that allows H1B visa holders to extend their stay in the U.S. beyond the initial period granted. This is crucial for many professionals who wish to continue their employment in the U.S.

How to Apply for an H1B Extension

To apply for an H1B extension, the employer must file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the current H1B visa expires. It’s important to start this process well in advance due to processing times.

Required Documents for H1B Extension

  • Current H1B visa documentation
  • Employment verification letter
  • Updated resume
  • Pay stubs

Change of Status: An Overview

What is Change of Status?

A change of status (COS) is a procedure for visa holders in the U.S. to switch to a different visa category. For example, a student on an F-1 visa may seek to change to an H1B visa upon finding employment.

The Change of Status Form

USCIS handles the change of status applications. To initiate a COS, one must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, before the current visa expires.

Processing Time for Change of Status

The change of status processing time varies depending on the visa category and USCIS workload. Applicants can check current processing times on the USCIS website.

How to Apply for a Change of Status USCIS

Evaluating each step in the process of applying for a USCIS change of status in the United States:
  • Determine Eligibility: Ensure you meet the requirements for the new visa category. This step sets the foundation for the entire application process. Eligibility criteria can vary significantly between different visa categories, and not meeting them can lead to an immediate rejection. It’s important for applicants to thoroughly understand the requirements of the visa category they are applying to and ensure they meet all of them.
  • Complete Form I-539: Provide accurate and complete information. Form I-539 is the primary form used for changing or extending nonimmigrant status. Accuracy and completeness are essential here, as any errors or omissions can delay the process or result in a denial. It’s essential that applicants take their time to fill out the form correctly and check it for any mistakes before submission.
  • Gather Supporting Documents: This may include proof of financial support, employment offers, or school admission letters. This step is about substantiating the information provided in Form I-539. The supporting documents vary depending on the visa category and individual circumstances but are necessary to establish the credibility and legitimacy of the application. Applicants need to ensure that all necessary documents are also up-to-date and valid.
  • Pay the Application Fee: Fees vary based on the type of application. Failure to pay the correct fee or to follow the payment instructions can result in the application being returned or rejected. Applicants should verify the current fee for their specific application type and ensure payment is made as instructed by USCIS.
  • Submit the Application: File the form and documents with USCIS before your current status expires. Filing the application before the current status expires is critical to avoid any lapse in legal status, which could have serious consequences for the applicant. It’s also important to ensure that the application is sent to the correct address and in the correct format as specified by USCIS.

H1B Change of Status

Transitioning from Other Visa Categories to H1B

Individuals on different visa categories, such as F-1 (student) or L-1 (intra-company transferee), may apply for an H1B change of status to work in specialized occupations in the U.S.

Required Documents for H1B COS

  • Valid passport
  • Current visa documentation
  • Job offer from a U.S. employer
  • Educational credentials

Tips for a Smooth Application Process

  • Start Early: Begin the application process well before your current visa expires.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest USCIS updates and processing times.
  • Maintain Legal Status: Ensure you maintain your legal status throughout the application process.
  • Seek Professional Help: Consider consulting with an immigration attorney for complex cases.

Professional Advice

Navigating the intricacies of H1B extension status and change of status can be daunting. However, with the right information and preparation, the process can be manageable. Always stay informed, prepare your documents carefully, and consider seeking professional advice from immigration lawyers, such as Root Law Group, if needed. Remember, maintaining legal status and adhering to USCIS regulations is crucial throughout your stay in the United States.



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I recently had the pleasure of working with the incredible lawyers at Root Law Group, notably Daria. From my initial consultation until the successful resolution of my case, their expertise, professionalism, and dedication made a profound impact.
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Working with this highly professional team made difficult and long process of applying for EB-1 GreenCard easy, clear and fast. I felt calm and confidently on every step. I really appreciate all the hard work and patience that Khaled Kaoud shared while working with me. He was always available and answered every possible question that I ever had. Also thanks to Igor, William and Daria for help and support during the working on my case. Working with Root Law Group was the best decision I did. And I undoubtedly recommend this professional, reliable and perfect team!
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I am a business owner and operator abroad and I came to Root Law Group looking for immigration help. They told me that I was able to apply for EB2-NIW and they worked on my case nonstop. Even when USCIS requested more evidence, Daniel guided me throughout the entire process and helped ease my worries and concerns was an extremely helpful paralegal. After months of waiting, I was granted the I-140 Approval! I am extremely thankful for all the work Root Law did for me and super excited for adjustment of status when I become current. I look forward to working with Daniel, William and the entire team when that time comes and highly recommend their immigration services! This team cares and will try everything possible for your needs.
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