Options to apply for a new status

There are two ways to obtain a new non-immigrant status:

1) Leaving the US, applying for a new visa and re-entering the US in the new status.

You may obtain another status by traveling abroad and scheduling an appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for the appropriate visa for the status you wish to have granted upon re-entry to the US. You will need to have the appropriate documentation for the visa you wish to apply for.

LSU International Services recommends that you apply for a visa in your home country, though some embassies and consulates can process third country national requests. If you intend to apply for a visa at an embassy or consulate outside of your home country, contact that specific embassy or consulate to make sure they process third-country nationals and the required documentation.

2) Applying for a change of status while remaining in the U.S.

Submit a change of status (COS) application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) while remaining in the U.S. The USCIS reviews applications for changes of status based on the applicant's ability to document and justify a change of primary purpose for being in the U.S. since last arrival.

You must be in lawful non-immigrant status to be granted a change to a different status. USCIS must receive your COS application while your current status is still valid, and you may remain in the U.S while your application is pending. You will have officially exited your current status on the date noted on USCIS approval notice. If you are in the United States unlawfully or have overstayed your current status, you are ineligible to apply for a change of status from within the Unites States.