The term Change of Status (COS) is the name given to the process through which a person can change from one temporary status (nonimmigrant) to another temporary status without having to leave the United States. Typical examples of this process are changing from a student visa status to H-1B. Usually, a successful COS is evidenced by the USCIS issuing you a new I-94.
Changing status from a temporary visa to a green card within the United States is also a change of status, but it is technically referred to as Adjustment of Status (AOS).
Specific Issues in Change of Status
- Certain categories of nonimmigrant visas are not allowed to change status (J-1 with HRR to another status).
- Change of status must be timely filed. That is, the USCIS must receive a complete application before the current status expires. Otherwise, you run the serious risk of accruing unlawful presence.
- While a COS is pending, another COS may not be allowed.
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