Office of International Affairs

Change to J-1 Status

Aliens who are in good standing in any nonimmigrant classification (other than those listed as restricted below) may apply to change to any other nonimmigrant status for which they qualify.

In any application for change of status, the alien should explain satisfactorily why he or she did not originally enter the U.S. in the status now being requested. A change of circumstances or intention should be documented or explained to make the application acceptable. USCIS may deny a request by an F-1 student to change to J-1 student status if the adjudicating officer believes that the reason for the change is principally to enable the dependents to apply for permission to accept employment.


Aliens holding nonimmigrant status C, D, K, WB or WT (transit, crewman, fiancee or fiance, waiver business, or waiver tourist) are not eligible for change to any other status within the U.S., including J-1. A J-2 who is subject to the 212(e) home residence requirement may not change from J-2 to J-1 status in the United States.

Required Documents

  • Form Ds-2019 properly completed by the RO and completed and signed by the exchange Visitor, as well as a Form DS-2019 for each accompanying dependent family member.
  • Proof of having paid the SEVIS fee.
  •  Form I-539.
  • Form I-539 fee. The proper fee, in the form of a check or money order payable to "USCIS".
  • Copy of financial support documents.
  • Copy of both sides of Form I-94 and any other documents that establish current maintenance of nonimmigrant status.
  • I-566 if changing from A or G status.
  • Copy of Visa Stamp.
  • Copy of Passport ID pages.
  • Letter from student explaining satisfactorily why he or she did not originally enter the U.S. in the status now being requested.

Make file copies of all documents before mailing them to USCIS. Use a receipt-based mailing option such as certified mail, so that there will be evidence that the documents were received by USCIS.

Mail to:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Nebraska Service Center
P.O. Box 87539 Lincoln, NE 68501-7539