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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 05-29-2010, 10:34 AM
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BimmerFAn will become famous soon enough
Default J-2 to H1-B Change of Status (It's possible)

I am posting this so that others may benefit from my experience and also not repeat the same mistakes that I made.

I originally came to the United States when I was 9 years old in 1996 as a J-2 Dependent. I finished my grammar school, high school and college here. I started working on OPT and tried to figure out a way to get an H1-B visa since I knew that I was subject to Sections 212(e) – 2 year home residency requirement, which prohibited me from obtaining H or L status or pursuing permanent residency.
It was only after I consulted with a top tier immigration attorney that I found out that in certain circumstances J-2 dependents can apply for a waiver separately of the J-1 principal. The waiver for a J-2 dependent falls under the same procedures as an Interested Government Agency (IGA) waiver, except that if selected for a waiver, the Department of State will act as the IGA on your behalf. The attorney told me that the process to obtain a waiver could take anywhere from 3 months to a year, with 6 months being the projected average.

To apply for the waiver I had to send the DOS mine and my family’s visa history, complete photocopy of my passport, translated copy of my birth certificate, a printed copy of the application I had to fill out online through the DOS website, and a statement of reason (SoR). The SoR is the most important document since it gives you a chance to persuade the Waiver Review Board that you should be allowed to remain in the United States. Basically, since I came here when I was very young, I wrote about my academic, charitable and professional contribution to American society over my 14 years here. I mentioned that I had no ties to my former home country and was financially independent from my parents. I also wrote about how my career as a CPA benefits US companies and US economy, and how US financial reporting standards are vastly different that those of my home country etc. Moreover, I submitted other materials supporting my SoR such as my academic transcripts, employment offer letter, paystubs, CPA license, letter supporting my involvement with various charities, and a letter from the J-1 principal explaining their program and my relationship to them.

The Department of State recommended me for a waiver in just 2 business days after they received my documentation. The USCIS approved the waiver a week after receipt. The attorney submitted an H1-B petition for change of status (premium processing) as soon as the DOS sent the Favorable Recommendation to the USCIS. In most cases, to apply for an AOS all you need is a copy of the favorable recommendation the USCIS will adjudicate both simultaneously under premium processing. The USCIS took 14 nerve racking days to process it, but ultimately they approved the petition.

Overall, the process to waive the 2 year HRR and obtain an H1-B visa took me only 1 month and I count myself very lucky. I wish I had acted on it sooner, but before speaking to the attorney’s I had no idea a waiver was even an option and could only think of nightmarish scenarios. I will monitor my post in order to answer any questions you may have. I would want nothing more than for others to learn and benefit from my experience and save themselves the agonizing stress that I went through.

Please find the complete timeline for my process below. From speaking with my attorney I heard that my timeline is rather extraordinary so please do not think that all processing times are exactly the same.

Applied for a Waiver with the DOS: 4/22/10
Received by DOS: 4/30/2010
Response: Favorable Recommendation 05/04/2010
Received by the USCIS @ VSC: 05/07/2010
Waiver Approved by USCIS: 05/15/2010
H1-B Filed under PP with the USCIS: 05/07/10
H1-B Received by the USCIS: 05/11/10
Decision: H1-B Approved 05/25/10
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 06-09-2010, 04:09 AM
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branpaul_guiao is on a distinguished road
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BimmerFAn View Post
I

Applied for a Waiver with the DOS: 4/22/10
Received by DOS: 4/30/2010
Response: Favorable Recommendation 05/04/2010
Received by the USCIS @ VSC: 05/07/2010
Waiver Approved by USCIS: 05/15/2010
is there a premium processing for waiver application?

I applied for J-1 waiver 3 months ago through No Objection Statement. My home country has already confirmed that they sent the NOS letter to State Dept Waiver Review Division last month, but until now the State Dept hasn't given any update. I checked online and it says documents pending.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 06-13-2010, 02:45 PM
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BimmerFAn will become famous soon enough
Default

No there is no premium processing process for waiver applications. There seems to be no apparent order in the order they are adjudicated. Once the Department of State recommends you for a waiver you may apply for H1B change of status with the recommendation alone. If ur H1B application is filed for premium processing then the USCIS might adjudicate the waiver within 15 days as part of the h1b processing.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 06-13-2010, 05:00 PM
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harrydr is a jewel in the rough harrydr is a jewel in the rough harrydr is a jewel in the rough harrydr is a jewel in the rough
Smile Can you assist me with my request

BimmerFan, my wife is planning to apply for the med school and mostly the hospitals tend to apply for J visa instead of H1-B. Of course my preference is to get H1-B for her to avoid the J1 waiver process and who knows how tough their policy might turn out to be once you apply.

From your expreince it seems like you have lived this process inside out. Can you please PM me with your phone number so that i can have a more private correspondence with you. I would be greatly thankful to you for assisting me with this.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 06-15-2010, 06:42 PM
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BimmerFAn will become famous soon enough
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Hey, I would like to help you but I know next to nothing about J-1 Physician waivers. It is a completely different system. My understanding that the best way to get a waiver is to go through the Conrad 30 program if your wife works in a hospital in an underserved area. I would encourage you look through this forum for individuals who would know more about the process. Likewise, I would also suggest that you consult with an attorney. I used one of the best attorney firms in the world and it was relatively inexpensive. Attorneys really do wonders in these cases bacause they understand this process inside and out and know exactly what the Department of State is looking for.

Best of luck!
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 07-20-2010, 02:04 PM
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Hi there
thank you for the information you provided above. and congrats on your h1b.
my question is: i'm j1 and mu husband is j2, and he's been working with his ead for the last 4-5 years. we are subjected to 2 year HRR. in order for my husband to get h1b, we need the waiver. can he apply for the waiver independently? just like you did - independently from your j1 principal?

can his company apply for a H1B just after he gets the favorable rec. letter? or doeshe have to wait for the final decision from USCIS? or application for H1B with the fav.recom. letter is only ok if we are doing premium processing? because i get different answers from different lawyers about this. one says we have to wait for the final decision from uscis, one says different....

thank you.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 07-20-2010, 03:12 PM
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BimmerFAn will become famous soon enough
Default Hi

Hi Gkaplan,

Unfortunately, as far as I know the only way your husband can apply for your waiver independently is in the event of a divorce from or death of a J-1 Principal. Other than that, he can not apply for his own waiver independently of you. However, that said, you could always apply for a waiver. It does not have to be in the form of a No Objection Letter from your country. I heard the process for IGA waivers is substantially easier. Even though there are only a few IGA's that have official J-1 waiver channels, just about any IGA can apply for your behalf, so in reality you have a very big pool to chose from. You just have to find a few in you relevant field of study and convince them that your work here will benefit their mission.

You can apply for any change of status as soon as an H1-B a favorable recommendation is granted. You do not have to wait for the final USCIS waiver. You just have to make sure whatever center is processing you knows that you have this waiver waiting at the Vermond Service Center, VSC. The Department of State only sends these recommendations to the VSC. In fact, you can apply for an H1-B visa without the waiver if you select to have it processed ouside of the country at a consulate. Later, you can supplant the waiver in your application when you go interview with the consul.

I am not an attorney and don't claim to have any extensive knowledge of immigration law outside of my own personal experiences, so please do not take my suggestions to be 100% accurate. I would recommend you go speak with a good attorney.. By that I don't mean someone you looked up in the yellow pages or via an internet ad. You need to speak with someone from preferably a big immigration firm who will have J-1 Waiver experience and be able to handle your case properly. Big firms have research assistants who make less than minimum wage and just look up case law and different cases. Ultimately, big firms are far more useful and can offer real advice. That i definately know from my own personal experiences.

Best of luck!
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Old 12-06-2010, 05:55 PM
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Dear BimmerFan,
Thank you very much for sharing your experience !!

I am in F-1 Visa and finishing my PhD and I have recently received a job offer to start next June.

The J1 waiver process is related to two visas J-1 that I had before I applied to the PhD program: I came to US in 2006 as exchange visitor scholar to do a research project for six months at X University with a J-1 visa, after this I came back to my country for 1 month and applied to another J-1 visa from August'06 through Dec'06 because I was invited again to continue doing research at this university (while applying to the PhD); after this I went my country and changed my visa to F-1 to start my PhD studies. I was aware that all J-1 visas have a restriction called two-year rule "INA 212(e)" but I did not have any problem to issue my F-1 visa in 12/2006.

Recently, I have found out that I need to issue a waiver for the two-year rule in order to be able to apply to a visa H-1B that my employer will sponsor after my OPT. I am preparing to apply now to the waiver, asking a No Objection Statement (NOS) from my embassy, I was planning to send the application next week to so that it doesn't delay my H-1 visa application next year and I don't have money to pay an attorney so I wanted to send it myself.

I am not sure if I should mention or not my offer of employment as one of the reasons of requesting the waiver ? Do you think it could be good or bad ??

Do you think I should pay an attorney ? of it is okay to do it independently ?

I do not have any commitment with my home country and I have not received any sponsorship from my country or US government during these programs. This rule applied to me because my profession is written in the Exchange Visitor Skill List of the US. Department of State.

Please advise,

Thanks !!!
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 10-29-2013, 10:55 AM
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svars422 is on a distinguished road
Default J2 to H1-B

Quote:
Originally Posted by BimmerFAn View Post
I am posting this so that others may benefit from my experience and also not repeat the same mistakes that I made.

I originally came to the United States when I was 9 years old in 1996 as a J-2 Dependent. I finished my grammar school, high school and college here. I started working on OPT and tried to figure out a way to get an H1-B visa since I knew that I was subject to Sections 212(e) – 2 year home residency requirement, which prohibited me from obtaining H or L status or pursuing permanent residency.
It was only after I consulted with a top tier immigration attorney that I found out that in certain circumstances J-2 dependents can apply for a waiver separately of the J-1 principal. The waiver for a J-2 dependent falls under the same procedures as an Interested Government Agency (IGA) waiver, except that if selected for a waiver, the Department of State will act as the IGA on your behalf. The attorney told me that the process to obtain a waiver could take anywhere from 3 months to a year, with 6 months being the projected average.

To apply for the waiver I had to send the DOS mine and my family’s visa history, complete photocopy of my passport, translated copy of my birth certificate, a printed copy of the application I had to fill out online through the DOS website, and a statement of reason (SoR). The SoR is the most important document since it gives you a chance to persuade the Waiver Review Board that you should be allowed to remain in the United States. Basically, since I came here when I was very young, I wrote about my academic, charitable and professional contribution to American society over my 14 years here. I mentioned that I had no ties to my former home country and was financially independent from my parents. I also wrote about how my career as a CPA benefits US companies and US economy, and how US financial reporting standards are vastly different that those of my home country etc. Moreover, I submitted other materials supporting my SoR such as my academic transcripts, employment offer letter, paystubs, CPA license, letter supporting my involvement with various charities, and a letter from the J-1 principal explaining their program and my relationship to them.

The Department of State recommended me for a waiver in just 2 business days after they received my documentation. The USCIS approved the waiver a week after receipt. The attorney submitted an H1-B petition for change of status (premium processing) as soon as the DOS sent the Favorable Recommendation to the USCIS. In most cases, to apply for an AOS all you need is a copy of the favorable recommendation the USCIS will adjudicate both simultaneously under premium processing. The USCIS took 14 nerve racking days to process it, but ultimately they approved the petition.

Overall, the process to waive the 2 year HRR and obtain an H1-B visa took me only 1 month and I count myself very lucky. I wish I had acted on it sooner, but before speaking to the attorney’s I had no idea a waiver was even an option and could only think of nightmarish scenarios. I will monitor my post in order to answer any questions you may have. I would want nothing more than for others to learn and benefit from my experience and save themselves the agonizing stress that I went through.

Please find the complete timeline for my process below. From speaking with my attorney I heard that my timeline is rather extraordinary so please do not think that all processing times are exactly the same.

Applied for a Waiver with the DOS: 4/22/10
Received by DOS: 4/30/2010
Response: Favorable Recommendation 05/04/2010
Received by the USCIS @ VSC: 05/07/2010
Waiver Approved by USCIS: 05/15/2010
H1-B Filed under PP with the USCIS: 05/07/10
H1-B Received by the USCIS: 05/11/10
Decision: H1-B Approved 05/25/10


Hi Thanks for your post It might very helpful for me can you tell we will need to waiver from our home country or I need to apply waiver in US separately?? I am on J2 dependent visa and living in US
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