Ellis + Alcorn immigration law

Laid Off? Extend Your Time in the U.S.

Laid off from Google, Coinbase, Twitter, Stripe, Lyft, Affirm, CloudKitchens, etc and need more time to find a job? Follow our step by step guide on filing for a change of status to a B-1/B-2 visa or book a free consultation with our partners at Alcorn Immigration Law.
Guide on Filing a change of status to a B-1/B-2 VISA Step-by-Step Video
After losing the H1-B visa lottery, I faced the threat of deportation and only had 60 days to come up with a plan to stay in the country.

I used the "Change of Status to B-1 visa" tactic which bought me an additional 6+ months in the country while I started Ellis, raised $5.6M for the business, and secured my O-1 visa.

I recommend this to anyone looking to buy more "time runway" while they figure out a more permanent solution to their immigration problems.

Sampei Omichi
Founder & CEO — Ellis

How do I file for a Change of Status to B-1 or B-2 visa online?

Follow the steps below to file online via the USCIS system

step 01

Gather the
required documents

  1. Passport biographical page from your valid passport along with page containing visa stamp for your last U.S. admission
  2. Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Card obtained from U.S. CBP here.
  3. All USCIS Approval Notices (i.e., Form I-797)
  4. Bank statement(s) to show you have sufficient funds (e.g., $10,000 USD) to remain in the U.S. for up to 180 days.
  5. Evidence that you intend to depart the U.S. in the next 180 days (i.e., receipt for one way plane ticket home).
  6. A statement of the reason for your B-1 or B-2 change of status request.
  7. A statement of why your requested stay would be temporary, including what arrangements you have made to depart the U.S. (i.e., copy of one way flight reservation for a trip home in the next 180 days)
  8. Any effect the extended stay may have on your foreign employment and residency (i.e., include a statement that you have not violated the terms of your non-immigrant status and have sufficient funds to remain in the U.S. short term)
step 02

Create or log in to your online USCIS account

After you have gathered the required documents, create an online USCIS account here. For additional information on “How to create a USCIS Online Account” visit this website.
step 03

Begin your application

  1. After you have logged in, select “File a Form Online” under “Select What You Want To Do.”
  2. Under “File a Form,” select “Application for Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (I-539).”
  3. You will be brought to a page with an overview of the online filing process, including eligibility requirements, required documents, payment details, and action items you may need to take after submitting Form I-539.
step 04

Completing your application

Note that your responses to Form I-539 will be automatically saved. If you log out, you may log back in and resume where you left off last time. Please note detailed instructions for completing Form I-539 can also be found here.
step 05

Receipt notice

Upon submission, you will automatically receive your USCIS receipt number. You can find this receipt number on your online account home page, and you can find a copy of your receipt notice under the documents tab.
step 06

After submission

Following submission, you will receive a biometrics appointment notice to be fingerprinted and photographed at your local USCIS office approximately 2-4+ months following your Form I-539 online submission.

Last, current I-539 adjudication times exceed 180 days and you may seek to change to another status or depart the U.S. while your Form I-539 is pending. Upon approval of another non-immigrant status or after you depart the U.S., you may seek to withdraw your pending Form I-539.
The information provided by Alcorn Immigration Law is general guidance only regarding the steps to apply for a change of status to B-1 or B-2 status online. The information provided is not intended to constitute legal advice.


How do I extend my stay on the B-1/B-2 visa?

If you are nearing the end of your permitted stay in the U.S., and you wish to extend it, you can file for a change of status via the “Application for Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (I-539)." You are permitted to stay in the U.S. until you have a decision on your case + the 180 days for the B-1/B-2 visa.

What is the wait time for a B-1/B-2 visa interview appointment?

To check the interview wait time for your specific embassy or consulate, enter your city in this handy State Department tool under the section “Appointment Wait Time.” Note that if you are applying for an interview in a country other than your home country, wait times may be longer.

How long can I stay in the U.S. on the B-1/B-2 visa?

If you are currently in the U.S., you are permitted to stay in the U.S. after you have filed for a change of status via the “Application for Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (I-539)." You may stay in the United States legally until you have been approved.

If you enter outside the U.S., you must have an approved B-1/B-2 visa to enter the country. A customs officer will give you authorization to stay in the U.S. for up to six months.

Should I apply for a B-1/B-2 visa or ESTA?

If you are a citizen of one of the 38 countries that are part of the ESTA program, then you have the option of applying for an ESTA instead of a B-1 visa or B-2 visa. Both allow you to enter the U.S. for the same reasons of tourism or business. Entering the U.S. with ESTA only permits you to stay for up to 90 days, however, if you would like to stay in the U.S. for travel or business purposes for longer, the B-1/B-2 visitor visa may be an option for you.

What are the filing fees for a B-1/B-2 visa?

You must pay the USCIS filing fees of $370 and $85 with a valid credit or debit card. After you make a payment, the Form I-539 will be submitted.