Frequently Asked Questions - J-1 Visa

Form DS-160 (1)

Online Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application can only be used by visa applicants applying at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate which has converted to the new electronic fully online form and process. For more information visit travel.state.gov DS-160 informational webpage for a listing of embassy locations using Form DS-160. Next, visit one of the U.S. Embassy websites using the Form DS-160 and where you will apply, to review detailed nonimmigrant visa how-to-apply instructions, in addition to these FAQs.

1. Where can I find the DS-160?
You can access the DS-160 from the Consular Electronic Application Center website or from the link on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website.

Form DS 2019 (1)

A form issued by school or sponsor for applicants to obtain a J Visa.

Change in J-1 Status
I came to U.S by J-1 visa and now I am married to a U.S citizen.I got married in the first month here and my DS form will expire after 2 months. What will be my status?

Two concerns:

1. Your J-1 visa must not be subject to the two-year HRR; and

2) You must not have had a pre-conceived intention to get married when you entered the USA.

Both are serious issues. Consult a lawyer please.

J-1 extension beyond 5 years
My J-1 at Cornell Psychology Department expired on Aug 31 2011 after 5 years. Currently I'm spending my grace period. I'm exempt from the 2 years rule. I was wondering if it could be further extended. If not, would it be possible for my department to issue a new DS-2019 (J1) instead? I have only been working here for about a year and have been at a different university before.

Extension is possible only if the program rules permit it. The worst case scenario in extension or new 2019 as I see it can be only that you have to go get a new via stamp.

Regarding J-1 HRR Waiver
An experience from our community reader: I did not have to go through the grueling J-1 HRR process from India. A matter of fact for your reference, a lot of students coming from India to US on J-1 for internship or completing their last semester are put on J-1 HRR directly without any inquiry into their application at the visa window. This causes a lot of stress to individuals under J-1 HRR and very few know that J-1 HRR Advisory opinion exists. I had been reading a lot of articles and on the USIEF website when I came to know about this and applied to see after 2 months that the J-1 HRR was never applicable to me.

Rajiv's Response:

Thanks for sharing. People, note, it is a good idea to confirm whether or not you are in fact subject to the HRR. We have been doing that for years in cases where there is a likelihood that you are not subject to HRR. Two typical situations where you may NOT be:

1. No US federal government funding (reinforced by suffix "P" instead of "G" in your program number) and

Change in J-1 Status
I came to U.S by J-1 visa and now I am married to a U.S citizen.I got married in the first month here and my DS form will expire after 2 months. What will be my status?

Two concerns:

1. Your J-1 visa must not be subject to the two-year HRR; and

2) You must not have had a pre-conceived intention to get married when you entered the USA.

Both are serious issues. Consult a lawyer please.

Changing from J-1 to O-1
Can I change from J-1 to O-1 without meeting the home residency requirement or getting a waiver?

You can apply for the O-1 category and, upon receipt of the approval notice, you will be required to obtain the O-1 Visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.

Starting a Business on J-2 Visa
I will have a J-1 visa when I come to the US, can my spouse on J-2 start a sole proprietorship as consultant? Would he have to get the EAD first? He will work for the same company as he works for now, only as a consultant.

Under the law (8CFR 21A.2(j)(1) (v) (A)), a J-2 holder may use the earnings to support the J-1 visa holder. The earnings must be used for the “Family's customary recreational and cultural activities and those related travel.”

Two-Year Home Residency Requirement
Let’s say that a J-2 visa holder enters the United States as a derivative of a J-1 principal who is subject to the two-year home residency requirement of INA 212(e). Without leaving the United States, she later changes status from J-2 to J-1. The J-1 program in which she participates as the principal is also subject to INA 212(e). Thus, the person is independently subject to INA 212(e) based on two separate programs – her husband’s (as a J-2 derivative) and her own (as a J-1 principal). Please confirm that this person may file a single DS-3035 form that includes all DS-2019s from both programs and receive a single waiver covering both programs.

In this situation, the applicant’s J-1 waiver does not cover her period in J-2 status. 9 FAM 41.62 states that if an alien is subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement, the spouse and child of that alien are also subject to that requirement. Thus, the individual you have described would need a separate waiver to cover the time that she spent in J-2 status that subjected her to the two-year home residency requirement.Two separate DS-3035 applications would therefore be required in this circumstance.

Exceptional Hardship Waiver
What examples has the Department of State (DOS) provided of program and policy considerations other than program funding that might lead to an unfavorable J-1 waiver recommendation, despite a favorable recommendation from USCIS?

The exceptional hardship waiver is a three-step process. The applicant must first submit an I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement, directly to USCIS. If USCIS determines that there is a possibility that the applicant’s U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or child may experience hardship if the applicant returns to the home country to fulfill the two-year home residence requirement, USCIS forwards the application to the State Department for a waiver recommendation.

Withdrawal of a Pending J‐1 waiver
What procedure should a J‐1 waiver applicant follow in requesting withdrawal of a pending J‐1 waiver application?

A waiver applicant who has a pending waiver application in the State Department’s Waiver Review Division (WRD) should send an email to WRD via FMJvisas@state.gov to request withdrawal of a pending case. WRD updates the applicant’s case file and posts the withdrawal request on its online status checking system on http://travel.state.gov.

Two-year home residency requirement
Can I obtain an F-1 if I have a two-year home residency requirement on my earlier J-?

Yes.  F visa is NOT forbidden.  But you will not be able to get an H-1, L-1 or green card unless you address the HRR through compliance or waiver.

J-1 visa waiver concerns
I had come to US in September 2008 for 30 days externship (as short term visiting scholar) on J1 visa. After that I went back to India in October and came again in January 2009 on F1 visa to do PhD in animal science program. My concern is do I need to apply for J1 waiver before joining a job or a post doc here in USA? If yes, how should I go about it?

The 212(e) can attach to even a short program. Step one, ask DOS for an advisory opinion whether you are subject to the Home Residency Requirement. The detailes are here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1288.html

Canadian with J-2 visa
I am a Canadian with J2 visa. I am an engineer and want to work in US to keep up with my career. I am going to apply for EAD. If I don't get, can I switch from J2 to TN. Can my kids still stay on J2?

You can switch back to TN from J-2. What you do has no effect on the children. They derive their status directly from your J-1 spouse.

J-1 extension beyond 5 years
My J-1 at Cornell Psychology Department expired on Aug 31 2011 after 5 years. Currently I'm spending my grace period. I'm exempt from the 2 years rule. I was wondering if it could be further extended. If not, would it be possible for my department to issue a new DS-2019 (J1) instead? I have only been working here for about a year and have been at a different university before.

Extension is possible only if the program rules permit it. The worst case scenario in extension or new 2019 as I see it can be only that you have to go get a new via stamp.

I was on J-1 visa
I was on J-1 visa for 18 months of training in a dental lab as a dental technician .I got my waiver on my J-1 visa .I came back from USA to India and applied for the F-1 visa in a community college .But I was denied f-1 visa on bases of section 214(b) of immigration (possible immigrant).What can I do next to get back to USA?

If the consulate is not convinced of your nonimmigrant intent (214(b)), it is extremely difficult to remedy that. Usually, people in that situation should explore options like H-1, L-1, green card - all of which do not require a nonimmigrant intent (intention to remain in USA only for a brief period of time).

File I-485 while J-1 waiver is pending
I am currently in the US under the VWP which expires March 15. I was about to apply for a marriage-based GC but I just found out that I am subject to 2-years HRR. I applied for a waiver (no objection). A lawyer told me today that I should still file the I-485 and just leave the question "subject to" blank or check "yes" and add "waiver pending". Is that going to work? I don't want to overstay the VWP. How many days does it usually take to find out that I-485 submission got accepted and I can legally overstay the VWP?

To the best of my knowledge that information is incorrect. You can file AOS only after the waiver is approved.

J1 overstayed by years, married to a greencard holder
I came to US in 2004, overstayed my J1 visa by 3 years and got married to a greencard holder in 2007. My I-130 was approved in 2008 . Is it possible to adjust status when my visa number becomes available. I have read on different sites that I'm not eligible since I have not maintained lawful status during my stay. Are there any loops?

Unless your spouse becomes a US citizen, nothing can be done as far as I can see. If you had a 2 years HRR, you have bigger problems.

Citizenship for Employees of Consulting Companies who have Projects in Different Cities after Green Card
My Question is after getting green card and leaving consulting employer after 14 months, when person applies for US Citizenship (8 years after getting green card) can USCIS ( knowing that sponsoring company was consulting) asks for client letter, contracts ( like H-1B documentation ) for the period when employee was working with GC employer( after GC approved) ?
AC21, changing jobs, when to file Supplement J
My EB2 priority date is June 2009. I filed for my I 485 in 2012 and since 2013 I have EAD and have been maintaining H1b status. In 2014 I changed my job from the original employer who started my GC process (with whom I have I 140). I sent AC21 when in 2016 I got the standard RFE to produce medical records and employment proof (since then the priority date had retrogressed again), and also have H-1B with my new employer. I have not started the new GC file with a new employer. Should I file supplement J now, proactively, or should I wait for another RFE from USCIS when my priority date becomes current in the future, to file for supplement J?
J-1 Physician applying for following to join after waiver
I am a physician currently in H-1B undergoing 3 years of J-1 waiver program which is set to be completed on July end of this year. My husband got his greencard through E-B2 category (rest of the world) in early 2013 When I was still in J-1. My name was included in I-140 but could not file I-485 due to my J-1 visa. I have been married since 2006 and came to the US initially on H-4 visa before getting residency in J-1 visa. Is there a possibility of filing my I-485 directly without waiting for the long I-130 approval process? Or is there any exceptions for a situation like mine such that spouse happened to be in J1 and could not apply for a change of status at the time primary applicant applied for I-485?
J-2 or J-1 with 212(e) HRR converting to F-1 student
I want to pursue MS Degree from US and presently I am living in the US on J-2 visa. My wife is working as a Post doctoral Fellow here on J-1 visa. We both are subject to two years Home Residency Requirement. My concern is that how can I change my visa status from J-2 to F-1. Do I need to get a waiver before applying -F1 visa?

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

https://youtu.be/ZvUVIGTM-Kk?t=520

Can a J-2 holder get a HRR 212(e) waiver without J-1?
My wife is working here in the US on J-1 visa as a Post Doctoral Fellow and She is subject to 2HRR requirement.I came to United States last year on J-2 visa from India and after few month I applied and got the EAD card and now I am also working for XYZ IT company here in the USA and I am subject to two HRR requirement as well. My employer wants to file H-1B visa for me but my wife does not have an offer for H-1B visa so in that case Can I (J-2 visa holder) file a waiver petition independently of the J-1 Principal?

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question. 

https://youtu.be/XAfykYM-cUQ?t=89

FAQ Transcript:

J-1 Physician in Waiver Job Applying for AOS/1-485
I am a physician completing my J-1 waiver ( on H-1B now in US, waiver will finish by June 2015). My wife became a U.S. citizen few months ago and she has filed I-130 for me. If I-130 is approved, do I have to wait till June 2015 to apply for adjustment of status or can I apply sooner ? If I have to wait till June to apply for I-485, will I be able to get EAD right away or will I need to be on H-1 for a while I-485 is accepted ?

 See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YV-qIlAEpI#t=1320

 

FAQ Transcript

Exhibiting Immigrant Intent
I currently have a J-1 (for four more years, no HRR). I am thinking about applying for an EB2-NIW. The question is, if I don't get the EB-2, will I have problems with traveling with my J-1? Can the officers at the airport know that I was denied an EB-2 and thus showed immigration intent?

Exhibiting immigrant intent CAN be a problem for J-1. It is not certain that you will have a problem, but the potential does exist.