Expensive Sophie: Is there a technique to preserve working within the US after my J-1 visa expires?

Right here’s one other version of “Expensive Sophie,” the recommendation column that solutions immigration-related questions on working at expertise corporations.

“Your questions are important to the unfold of information that enables folks all around the world to rise above borders and pursue their goals,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration legal professional. “Whether or not you’re in folks ops, a founder or searching for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d like to answer your questions in my subsequent column.”

TechCrunch+ members obtain entry to weekly “Expensive Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Expensive Sophie,

I’m a Fulbright scholar on a J-1 visa. I’ve been instructed that after my J-1 ends, I’m required to return to my nation for 2 years.

Is there a means I can keep within the U.S.? Can I apply for an O-1A or inexperienced card even when I’ve to return to my nation?

— Looking for to Keep

Expensive Looking for,

Congrats on becoming a member of the ranks of the Fulbright students! This can be a nice accomplishment that can doubtless bolster an eventual inexperienced card utility!

Nevertheless, being a Fulbright scholar additionally comes with a price: I’ve by no means seen a Fulbright scholar get a 212(e) waiver for the J-1 two-year overseas residency requirement. (In case you are a Fulbright scholar who received the waiver accredited, please message me!)

I just lately spoke with Anthony Pawelski, the senior worldwide adviser at Mass Normal Brigham, which consists of 16 establishments together with Harvard- and Tufts-affiliated instructing hospitals. In that function, Pawelski prepares 1000’s of J-1 and different non-immigrant visa purposes annually, however he says he has solely seen waivers granted to Fulbright students a number of occasions. Even waiver requests for Fulbright students that had been filed by NASA and the Nationwide Science Basis have been denied.

Pawelski additionally notes that India is not going to help J-1 waivers for medical docs educated in India, and that Thailand and the Philippines are very strict about supporting waivers.

Earlier than I share extra about your visa and inexperienced card choices to work within the U.S. after your trade go to ends, right here’s a primer on the J-1 two-year dwelling residency requirement, and the method to hunt a waiver for individuals who are eligible. A phrase of warning: The J-1 is a non-immigrant intent visa, so individuals who intend to hunt a inexperienced card or stay completely within the U.S. are denied J-1 visas.

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Picture Credit: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

Two-year dwelling residency requirement

As you most likely know, the J-1 instructional and cultural trade visa has a number of advantages, equivalent to being open to people in a spread of fields, and permitting a J-1 visa holder’s partner to use for a piece allow. Whereas its advantages can far outweigh the drawbacks, the largest limitation of the J-1 is the one you’re going through: the two-year dwelling residency requirement.

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