Information For Visitors Thinking About Extending Their Visit or Changing to Student Status
Published: September 8, 2010

Foreign nationals entering the U.S. on a B-1/B-2 visa are generally granted 6 months at their port-of-entry to accomplish the purpose of their trip, be it for pleasure or business. Most visitors for business or pleasure do not remain in the U.S. for the entire 6 months, since they have work and/or residences to return to overseas. For those seeking to remain in the U.S. for the entire 6 month period, or possibly extend or even convert their stay to another status, such as F-1 student, a variety of current trends and rules must be kept in mind. Featured below are some of the most up to date trends, policies and conditions impacting individuals entering on B-1/B-2 visas:

  • Applications (Form I-539) to extend visits beyond a grant of 6 months are heavily scrutinized and granted only in the rarest of circumstances, such as where unexpected health problems or business conditions have arisen.
  •  Applications to change from visitor, B-1/B-2 to student F-1 status continue to be viable, but applicants should be aware of the vast minefield at play, including: 
    • prohibition generally, against applying to school, or filing the change of status application (I-539) within 90 days of entering the U.S. and
    • prohibition against enrolling in school or commencing studies prior the approval of a change of status application

An applicant for a change of status who commences studies prior to approval will end of up having their application denied. Additionally, foreign nationals seeking to extend their visitor status will also be denied in the event they enroll in school during the term of their visit, since CIS considers such enrollment to constitute a status violation.

Copyright © 2010, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois