International Student Services
J-2 to J-1 - Change of Nonimmigrant Status
Contact International Student Services (ISS) as soon as you know you must obtain J-1 status in order to discuss your options. Generally J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors who are subject to the two-year home-country residence requirement are prohibited from changing status within the U.S., except to A or G status. It may be necessary to return home and apply for the new visa type there.
Obtain a DS-2019 from UW (if UW will be your J-1 program sponsor).
If you have recently been admitted to the UW, request your DS-2019 from the Admissions office.
If you are currently studying at the UW in J-2 status and wish to obtain J-1 status, request a DS-2019 from the ISS office: complete the Change of Status Request Form and submit it to ISS with supporting financial documentation and a copy of your passport identification page. Allow 1 week for processing. You will receive an email from ISS when your DS-2019 is ready for pick up.
- Review your options for obtaining J-2 status. Decide which option to use: "Travel and Reentry" or "Change Status in the U.S."
- Prepare the required documents and follow next steps for obtaining J-1 status (details below).
Option 1: Travel and Reentry
Review the ISS Visas page. Plan your travel and J-1 visa appointment accordingly.
Option 2: Change of Status in the U.S. (Check Eligibility*)
*Eligibility: J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors who are subject to the two-year home-country residence requirement are generally prohibited from changing status within the U.S., except to A or G status. It may be necessary to use the "Travel and Reentry" option to obtain J-1 status.
Submit your application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by mail.
(The online USCIS ELIS application option is no longer available).
Mail the following documents to the USCIS Lockbox.
- Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
- USCIS filing fee: check or money order payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”
- Original I-94 card or photocopy of admission stamp and paper printout of I-94 record
- Photocopy of the visa page and identification page in your passport
- Photocopy of the DS-2019 listing you as the dependent of the J-1
- Photocopies of your spouse's (or parent's) DS-2019 and I-94 card (front and back)
- Photocopy of signed DS-2019 issued in your name by your exchange visitor sponsor
- Evidence of financial support
- Detailed letter requesting and explaining the need to change status
- Photocopy of proof of payment of SEVIS fee
J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors who are subject to the two-year home-country residence requirement are prohibited from changing status within the U.S., except to A or G status.