Can a Tourist Visa be Converted to an Employment Visa in the USA?

Yes, you can change your non-immigrant B2 visa into a work visa, such as H-1B or O-1 visa, in the United States. For this, you will have to file an application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Here are the steps you need to follow to change of visa status.

Step 1

Check the expiry date of your current visa on the I-94 form. You need to apply for a change of status at least 45 days before the expiry date.

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Step 2

Check your eligibility for the change of status. The conditions include not committing a crime in the US, entering the country legally and adhering to underlying conditions of your tourist visa.

Step 3

Download and fill in Form I-539. You will need to enter your I-94 record number, foreign address, personal information, passport number with expiry date, criminal record (if any), prior application details and your current address.

Step 4

Explain the reason for your request in detail. Also, mention how you will sustain yourself financially during the stay. The latter can be shown through documents such as employment offer letter or proof of family support of any kind.

Step 5

Show your ties to your home country that will convince the USCIS that you will return home even if your visa status is changed.

Step 6

To support the statements made in the affidavit, you need to provide supporting documents, such as bank account statements, property records, a letter from friends or relatives agreeing to support you financially, or a letter from a foreign employer interested in hiring you after your return.

Mail all these documents to the USCIS. Make sure you do not start working before you receive an approval for visa status change from the USCIS.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.