An alien present in the U.S. may apply to the USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over their place of residence for a change of status. The benefits of J-1 status are not available until the change of status application is approved by USCIS.
Procedure to change to J-1 status
To apply for a change of status, submit:
- Form DS-2019 for the exchange visitor and a separate form DS-2019 for each dependent signed by the program sponsor.
- Proof of having paid the SEVIS I-901 fee https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/
- Form I-539 completed by prospective exchange visitor, including information for any accompanying dependents.
- Form I-539 filing fee in the form of check or money order http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=db029c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD&vgnextchannel=db029c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD
- Copies of financial documents
- Photocopy of both sides of Form I-94 and any other document that establishes current maintenance of nonimmigrant status
- A letter requesting the change of status and explaining why you are requesting the change
- Copies of passport(s) and visa(s)