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A Guide to Converting a US Visit Visa to a US Student/Work Visa

Planning to extend your journey in the U.S. for study or work? Our straightforward guide demystifies the visa conversion process, helping you to navigate from a B-2 Visit Visa to an F-1/M-1 Student or H-1B Work Visa with confidence. Learn about the eligibility, documentation, and application steps necessary to make your American dream a reality.

Table of Contents

Are you staying in US with a visit visa and you are willing to extend your stay for the purpose of education and work. There are few ways through which you can convert your visit visa into study visa or work permit by following certain steps. 

In this blog we will shall discuss the scenario of converting visit visa into study or work visa so you could stay in US for a longer period of time. 

Understanding Visa Types

First of all you need to understand different types of visa. The visit visa is known as B-2 visa, it is for holiday travel, visiting family and friend or for a medical treatment within US. For studying you need to acquire F-1 or M-1 visa, and for work visa you need to have H-1B and L-1 visa. There are many other employment based visas available.

Eligibility Criteria

You cannot simply shift from one visa type to another. There are certain requirement that you must fulfill. For student visa you must get yourself enrolled in a regular academic program, a language training program or a skilled program. For a work visa, you must hold a valid job offer from a US employer who will sponsor your visa.

Steps to Convert Your Visa

Step 1: Change of Status

For shifting from one visa type to another, you need to apply for a change of status (COS) with the US Citizenship  and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is different from applying for a new visa, infect it is a request to the relevant authority to change the reason of your stay.

Step 2: Required Documentation

For a student visa, you’ll need to provide:

  • Acceptance at a SEVP-certified school
  • Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status
  • Proof of financial support

For a work visa, the documentation includes:

  • A job offer from a US employer
  • Labor certification approval by the Department of Labor
  • Relevant documnets filed by the employer, like Form I-129

Step 3: Application Process

Fill and submit the Form I-539, an application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, with USCIS. This step should be taken before your current visa expires.

Step 4: Wait for Decision

After submitting the application, you will receive a notice from USCIS. Most probably they call you for an interview. After that you need to wait for the final decision from the authorized department. 

Important Tips

  • Don’t overstay on the basis your current visa. It can lead to denial of your COS.
  • Maintain your visitor status by following the rules of your B-2 visa.
  • You cannot start studying or working until you have the correct visa.
  • Consult with an immigration lawyer if you’re unsure about the process.


Converting your visit visa into other types of visa like study visa or work visa is not a challenging task, all you need to do is proper planning nd understanding of the conversion process. by complying with eligibility requirements and proceeding every step lawfully, you can secure a successful transition to a new visa category. 

Remember, this is a simplified guide. For more detailed information, visit the USCIS website or seek guidance from a professional immigration consultant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can a US Visit Visa be converted to a Student/Work Visa?
A: Yes, with proper eligibility and process adherence, a B-2 Visit Visa can be converted.

Q: What do I need to qualify for a Student Visa?
A: Acceptance by an SEVP-certified school and proof of financial support are needed.

Q: What documents are required for a Work Visa application?
A: A job offer, labor certification, and Form I-129 filed by your employer.

Q: How do I apply for a change of status?
A: File Form I-539 with USCIS before your Visit Visa expires.

Q: Can I start studying or working before getting the new visa?
A: No, you must wait until you have the appropriate visa.

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