I am on an E-3 working visa and I want to leave my job and travel around the US. I understand I can lodge a petition to USCIS with a form I-539, Change of Visa Status. I saw on their website:

Until you receive approval from USCIS, do not assume the status has been approved, and do not change your activity in the United States. For example, if you are currently a nonimmigrant tourist, do not begin attending school as a student until you have received authorization from USCIS to change your status. If you fail to maintain your nonimmigrant status, you may be barred from returning to and/or removed (deported) from the United States. Your authorized status and the date your status expires can be found in the lower right-hand corner of your Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record.

Would it be risky to quit my job and start travelling before receiving approval for a change of status from USCIS?

Thank you!

  • 1
    "do not assume the status has been approved, and do not change your activity in the United States" seems to be rather clear and straightforward. Jun 12, 2018 at 7:17
  • @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas it's not apparently as straightforward as you think. See my answer.
    – phoog
    Jun 12, 2018 at 8:39
  • You realize that you will remain in status for 60 days after you leave work (unless your I-94 expires earlier), right? So you want to stay in the US past that?
    – user102008
    Jun 12, 2018 at 18:32

1 Answer 1


"Do not change your activity" means "do not start doing anything that is forbidden under your current status." Tourism is, however, allowed in E-3 status. Furthermore, there are some statuses where maintenance of the status depends on staying employed, but at the end of the employment there is a grace period within which one must leave the country or file an application to change status. As long as the application is filed before the end of the grace period, it is not necessary to leave the country, and as long as one can be in the country, one can travel.

So yes, you can stop working.


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