Please visit the ISSSO website for general information about the J-1 classification. This section contains answers to specific J-1 situations. Questions and answers in this section are in no particular topic order and do not constitute legal advice.
Q: My J-1 is subject to 212(e) two-year foreign residency requirement. What does this exactly mean and how does it affect my ability to apply for the H-1B classification?
A: It means that the J-1 exchange visitor must "reside and be physically present" in their "home" country for an aggregate of two years before being eligible for certain immigration benefits. This is necessary to apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the J-1 program in the U.S. In some cases, this requirement can be removed through a J-1 Waiver process in which the exchange visitor’s government issues a letter of no objection to removing the requirement. ISSSO can assist internationals wanting more information on 212(e) waivers. Once the waiver is approved, no more J-1 program extensions are permitted. Those subject to this rule seeking H-1B or immigrant status would have to either meet the requirement or obtain a waiver. You may also request an advisory statement from the Department of Labor to confirm whether or not you're subject to 212(e)--in some cases, the DOS statement will say you're not and hence J-1 waiver is not necessary.
Q: Is there a grace a period for a J-1 worker?
A: 30 days from the end of the J-1 period.
Q: What are the key differences between the J-1 Professor or Research Scholar and H-1B classifications?
Wage: J-1 does not have prevailing wage requirement.
Validity Period: The J-1 is normally valid for up to 5 years whereas the H-1B is normally valid for up to 6 years.
Dual Intent: J-1 does not allow you to process a permanent resident application while in the U.S. in J-1 status.
Foreign Residency Requirement: If applicable, the J-1 212(e) home residence requirement is 2 years, but a waiver may be obtained from US Department of State.
Repeat Participation: Some individuals in J-1 status may face a one-year or two-year bar on repeat participation, preventing them from returning immediately after completing a previous J-1 program. An individual who has spent at least 1 full year outside the U.S. may "reset" the normal 6 year H-1B clock and become eligibile for a new period in H-1B status; additionally, an H-1B worker with an employment-based green card application (I-140 pending for at least 1 year or approved I-140) may be exempted from this limit.
Spousal Work Authorization: The J-1 employee's dependent spouse holding J-2 status may apply for an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) to work in the U.S. The H-1B dependent spouse holding H-4 status may not normally work in the U.S., except in special circumstances when an EAD may be applied for.
Q: How can I apply for the J-1 waiver?
A: UH J-1 holders can schedule an appointment with a Responsible Officer in ISSSO for more information. Individuals who obtained their DS-2019 from another institution should contact the international office that authorized their J-1 participation.
Q: How can I request an advisory statement from the Department of State?
A: ISSSO can assist UH J-1 holders wishing to pursue an advisor statement from the Department of State.
Q: I think that I'm exempted from paying taxes, but my paycheck shows that taxes were deducted. How can I have UH stop deducting taxes and how can I get refunded for the taxes I've paid?