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Student filing the Form I-539.

What is the Form I-539?

July 18, 2013

If you are an F or M student and you need to extend your stay in the United States or change your nonimmigrant status, you need to file a Form I-539, “Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status,” with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will also need to file this form if you are have fallen out of status or if you are in the United States in another status and you would like to become a student at a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school.

If you arrived in the United States for a reason other than studying, the Form I-539 will allow you to apply to change your status to F or M so that you can study at an SEVP-certified school. For example, if you are a B-1 or B-2 visitor and want to study, you must file a Form I-539 and receive approval to change your status to F-1 before attending classes. In this situation, make sure you talk to the designated school official (DSO) at your school, because B-1 and B-2 visitors also have other special instructions from USCIS to follow.

If you are an M student and you want to extend your student status to accomodate a longer program or you want to transfer to a different SEVP-certified school, you must file a Form I-539. Your DSO can guide you through this process.

To file by paper, see the USCIS Form I-539 webpage. Your DSO can answer any questions you have about completing this form. If USCIS approves your application, you will receive a Form I-797, “Notice of Action.”

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