J-1 | Change of Non-Immigrant Status
There are two methods that can be used to change your status to or from J-1 status.
1. Outside the U.S.
Application is made for a visa for the new status at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
2. Within the U.S.
Applications are submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to request a change from one status to another. For example, an individual may want to change from F-1 to J-1 or from J-1 to B-2. There are four primary steps to every change of status application. The fifth step only applies to dependents (F-2, J-2, H-4, etc).
- USCIS Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
- $290 filing fee
- Evidence applicant is eligible for the requested status
- Evidence applicant is maintaining current status at time of application
- If applicant's current or requested status is dependent on someone else's status, it is necessary to show that person is also maintaining status (For example, an J-2 status is derivative of an J-1 status; therefore, the J-1 must maintain status in order for the J-2 to be in status).
It is important to understand that one is NOT applying to change visas but to change status. Please read Visa vs. Status for further explanation of the difference. If a change of status is approved, the applicant will not receive a new visa, but rather a new status. The applicant is eligible for all the benefits of the newly approved status; however, if the applicant travels outside of the U.S., it will be necessary for he/she to obtain a new visa while abroad in order to re-enter with the newly acquired status.
For more details or if you would like an ISSS advisor to review your change of status application before you submit it to USCIS, please call ISSS at (785) 864-3617 for an appointment.
Two Year Home Residency Requirement-INA Section 212(e)
Some J-1s are subject to this requirement and some are not. Students receiving direct funding from the U.S. government or their home government will be subject. There is also a Skills List, established between the U.S. government and the individual student's home government. Students studying a skill on the list for their country will be subject to the requirement. Those individuals who are subject must return home for two years before they can apply for permanent residence, an H visa or an L visa. If subject to the two years, exchange visitors cannot apply for any type of change of status from within the U.S. Waivers of this requirement are few, difficult and time-consuming. If the J-1 is subject to the two years, all J-2 dependents are subject as well. An on-line survey to help determine if the two- year requirement applies can be found at the J-1 Visa Waiver Recommendation site. For further information about the waiver process, refer to the U.S. State Department's website.
COS J-1 to F-1
Additional handouts available in ISSS.