U.S. immigration laws related to change of visitor's status

A British Columbia resident who is in the United States as a nonimmigrant and wishes to change that status may need to gather knowledge on the required steps to follow. Any change in U.S. immigration status must be done through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The appropriate forms must be filed with USCIS to change the purpose of a visit.

If for example, a British Columbia tourist is in the United States but then wishes to enroll as a student at a U.S. establishment, an application must be filed, and no change must take place until such a request is officially approved. If a nonimmigrant tourist starts to attend a college as a student before such approval of status change is received, he or she may be deported and barred from ever returning to the United States. For that reason, it is always best to apply to change visitor's status well in advance.

To be eligible for a status change, the person must have entered the United States on a valid nonimmigrant visa. Furthermore, that status must remain valid, the conditions of the status must not have been violated, and he or she must not be involved in any criminal activities. A person who has a business visa may continue as a visitor until the business visa expires -- with no need to apply for a status change.

Other exceptions exist for circumstances in which it is unnecessary to apply for authorization to change the purpose of the visit. Similarly, there are certain circumstances under which a visitor may not apply for a change in status. The most appropriate way to ensure compliance with U.S. immigration laws may be to seek the support and guidance of an immigration lawyer who is experienced in dealing with the laws on both the British Columbia and United States sides of the border.

Source: uscis.gov, "Change My Nonimmigrant Status", Accessed on Dec. 1, 2017

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