J-1 Exchange Visitors in the Research Scholar or Professor Category may hold J Status for a maximum of 5 years. Scholars interested in changing their immigration status should reach out to their inviting department.

J-1 to H-1B Timeline

Exchange Visitors must have one of the following if they wish to change to H-1B status:

  • Advisory Opinion stating that they are not subject to the 2 Year Home Residency Requirement
  • Minimum of a Waiver Recommendation from the US Department of State / Ideally a Form I-612 Approval Notice from USCIS as well
  • Documents which prove that the J-1 Exchange Visitor fulfilled the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement in the J-1’s country of last legal residence upon completion of most recent J program 

Applying for an Advisory Opinion

  • Immigration documents might state that a J-1 is not subject to the requirement, but it could be incorrect or outdated.
  • J-1 Scholars in the 3rd or 4th year of their J program who wish to remain in the US after completion of their J Program should request an Advisory Opinion from the US Department of Statue (DOS) to officially determine if they are subject.

Applying for a Waiver of the 2 Year Home Residency Requirement

  • If the J is subject to the requirement, Department should extend the J Program to the 5th year as soon as possible. The J-1 can then submit a Waiver Application to DOS.  It cannot be done in the opposite order. Waivers can take almost a year                                                                                            so do not wait until it is too late!
  • Do not submit a waiver application before contacting ISSS as we cannot extend or transfer a DS-2019 once DOS recommends a Waiver.
  • Apply for a waiver online  at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/exchange/waiver-of-the-exchange-visitor/how-to-apply-waiver.html