To summarize, the J-1 Exchange Visitor category should be used to bring in individuals who will "promote interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills, and the interchange of developments in the field of education, the arts and sciences." While it is not explicitly stated in the regulations, it is understood that the only way there can be an "interchange of knowledge" is for the Exchange Visitor to depart the United States upon completion of his/her program and return to "share" the knowledge/expertise s/he obtained while in exchange visitor status. The H-1B employment visa is simply a visa category which allows Temple University to hire non-immigrants who will "perform[s] services in a specialty occupation."
Advantages of H-1B status include the following:
- Individual can hold H-1B status longer than J-1 Status: While temporary, it allows a maximum period of stay of 6 years, whereas J-1 visiting professors and researchers are admitted for up to 5 years. If someone holding an H-1B has had a combination of a Labor Certification and/or an I-140 (Application for Permanent Resident or "green card") pending for 365 days or more, ISSS can request yearly extensions of H-1B work permission until s/he adjusts to Permanent Resident
- H-1B Status Does Not Have the Two Year Home Residency Requirement, unlike a J-1: An H-1B alien may apply for adjustment of status to permanent resident or for change of status to another nonimmigrant classification, whereas some J-1 aliens are prohibited from such changes because of the 2-year home-country physical presence requirement
- H-1B is a Working Status - J-1 is for the purpose of exchange: The Department of State and USCIS make a distinction between the H-1B alien who comes specifically to perform services and the J-1 exchange visitor who comes as a participant in an exchange visitor program designed to "promote interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills, and the interchange of developments in the field of education, the arts and sciences," in such a way as to promote "mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries." [22 CFR 514.1]
- H-1B has Dual Intent which means it's acceptable to file for a green card while holding H-1B status: J-1 status has "Non-Immigrant Intent" which means that the individual in J-1 exchange status is encouraged to depart the United States upon completion of his/her objective. It is difficult to apply for a green card while holding J-1 status
Advantages of J-1 status include the following:
- J-1 status does not require an LCA, unlike the H-1B; ISSS does not need to prove that Temple University is paying the higher of the Prevailing and Actual Wage
- Issuing a DS-2019 is faster than waiting for an H-1B Approval Notice from USCIS: Obtaining H-1B status takes more processing time than is required for J-1 status
- USCIS must approve a petition for H-1B classification before an alien may apply for a visa: An alien may apply for a J-1 visa stamp at a US Consulate Abroad immediately upon receiving Form DS-2019 from our office
- There are no application or Anti-Fraud fees associated with the J-1: A fee is required for an H petition and for extension of stay in H status. There are no application or Anti-Fraud fees associated with the J-1
- It is much easier for J-2 Dependents to obtain work permission from USCIS. H-4 Dependents cannot apply for work permission until the H-1B primary has submitted an application for US Permanent Residency (green card) to USCIS.