Change My Employment-Based Nonimmigrant Status
If you are in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant employment visa, and need to change to another nonimmigrant employment visa, your employer must file the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, on your behalf.
Your employer can apply to change your current nonimmigrant status if:
- You were lawfully admitted into the United States with a nonimmigrant visa;
- Your nonimmigrant visa status remains valid;
- You have not committed any crimes that make you ineligible for a visa;
- You have not violated the conditions of your admission; and
- Your passport is valid and will remain valid for the duration of your stay.
Your change of status request depends on your nonimmigrant status. Your employer should complete Form I-129 if you are in one of the following employment-related categories:
- E-1 or E-2 (treaty traders, treaty investors, and employees of treaty traders and treaty investors);
- E-3 (skilled professionals from Australia);
- H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, or H-3 (temporary skilled or unskilled workers and trainees);
- L-1A or L-1B (intracompany transferees);
- O-1 or O-2 (aliens with extraordinary ability and their assistants);
- P-1, P-2, or P-3 (athletes and entertainers);
- Q-1 (international cultural exchange visitors);
- R-1 (religious workers); or
- TN-1 or TN-2 (Canadians and Mexicans under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)).
You are not eligible to change your nonimmigrant status if you were admitted to the United States in the following categories:
- Visa Waiver Program (VWP);
- Crew member (D nonimmigrant);
- In transit through the United States without a visa (TWOV);
- Certain spouses of U.S. citizens or dependent children (K-3 or K-4 nonimmigrant);
- Fiancé of a U.S. citizen or dependent of a fiancé (K-1 or K-2 nonimmigrant); or
- Informant (and accompanying family) on terrorism or organized crime (S nonimmigrant).
If you are an international exchange visitor (J-1 nonimmigrant), you cannot apply to change your nonimmigrant status if you:
- Were admitted to the United States to receive graduate medical training, unless you receive a special waiver; or
- Are an exchange visitor and are required to meet the foreign residence requirement, unless you receive a waiver.
- If you do not receive a waiver, you may only apply to change to a visa for diplomatic and other government officials (A visa), or representatives to international organizations (G visa).
How to File
Your employer must:
- Read the instructions for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker;
- Complete and sign your Form I-129;
- Pay the filing fee, if applicable; and
- Provide all required evidence and supporting documentation.
Each visa category has specific requirements and limits, including how long you can stay in the United States. For more information, contact your employer, a licensed attorney, or a BIA-accredited representative.
After You File
Once we receive your form, we will send your employer a:
- Receipt notice confirming we received the petition;
- Biometric services notice, if applicable;
- Notice to appear for an interview, if required; and
- A notice of our decision.