The I-539 form is for the change or extension of nonimmigrant status. The H4 visa allows you to go to the U.S. if you are married to an H visa holder. The F1 visa is given to international students attending an academic program or English Language Program at a college or university in the United States. If you are converting from an H4 to F1 visa, you will have to fill out form I-539 to apply for this change. We are here to explain this process.
About the F1 Visa
- F1 is more expensive than an H4 visa but provides opportunities to become a Teacher’s Assistant (TA), Research Assistant (RA) or to do an Optional Practical Training (OPT).
- If you want to stay in the U.S. after your studies finish and want an H1B visa, then the F1 visa is the better option.
Converting from an H4 visa to an H1B visa is a very complicated process. Converting from an H4 to an F1 and then from an F1 to an H1B is much easier.
Your goal should be to get an H1B visa which will allows you to potentially stay and work in the United States once your studies are finished.
- You are on your H4 can now apply for an F1 visa.
- You can then do a Curricular practical Training (CPT) or an Optional Practical Training (OPT). These can be done on an F1 visa only.
- Now from the OPT you can get an H1B visa
The fee is $370. The fee for biometric services is $85.
The fee for biometric services is $85.
Documents Required for I-539
- Copy of I-20 from the University
- Acceptance letter from the University granting you the admission
- Copy of Sevis fee receipt. Currently Sevis fee is $200 and it can be paid online
- Copy of most recent I-94
- Copy of your passport – include only first page, last page, and all visa stamp pages
- Copy of all prior I-797A approvals if you had filed any H4 visa extensions
- Proof of funds to cover tuition and expenses. Include your H1B spouse’s bank statements for last 3 months. The bank balance should be more than the amount mentioned on I-20
- Cover letter explaining why you are applying for the change of status from H4 to F1. Since F1 is a non-immigrant visa, you need to prove your intent to return back to your home country after completing your degree
- Copy of your marriage certificate
- Copy of H1B spouse’s passport – include only first page, last page, and all visa stamp pages
- Most recent I-94 of your H1B spouse
- Last 3 pay stubs of your H1B spouse
- Cover letter from H1B spouse that they are sponsoring your education
I-539 Processing Time
How to Check USCIS Case Status Online
Follow the below steps to check your USCIS case status online.
1. Go to my USCIS Case Status. Search Case Status Online.
2. Enter your 13-digit receipt number in the box below “Enter your receipt number”.
3. Be sure to enter your number correctly with all 13 letters as printed on our receipt notice.
4. Enter the number without any spaces.
5. The field is not case sensitive so you can enter your number in all caps or small letters.
6. Click on the “Check Status” button and wait.
7. Once the page refreshes you will see information about your case.
8. You may register for an account to receive e-mail notifications whenever your case status changes.
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It is $370.
It is $85
The I-539 application is for the change or extension of nonimmigrant status.
It is 3-9 months.