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Fluffinhos

J1 Visa waiver timing questions

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Hello VJ,

I have some questions on behalf of a coworker who is seeking a waiver to the 2 year home residency requirement following a J1 visa. Because my English is better than his, and he knows I’m involved with immigration issues because of my fiance, he has some questions for me, which I am turning over to the experts here.

Here is the situation:

The coworker received a J1 visa (‘short term scholar’), and his wife received a J2. They entered the United States early 2010, and now have a USC child. He and his wife are Israeli citizens. His J1 fellowship is funded by the US government, so he is subject to the 2-year home residency requirement after the fellowship is done.

The coworker’s fellowship and J1 status ends May 25, 2015. He is in the process of obtaining a No Objection Statement from the Israeli embassy, and is preparing the paperwork to send to the US Department of State requesting the waiver as soon as possible. The Israeli embassy appears to have a reputation for issuing No Objection statements within a few days.

He would like to remain in the United States, and work as an H-1B highly-skilled worker. He easily qualifies for several such jobs here, but the timing of getting such a position is uncertain. His main preferred employer expects to have an opening for him by approximately August 2015, but this is uncertain.

Here are the questions:

1) Is there enough time for him to get the waiver? My understanding is that he has a 1 month grace period after his fellowship ends, so he can legally remain in the US until about June 25, 2015. If he must leave the US before the waiver is issued, does this constitute abandonment of the waiver request? Or, can the waiver be issued while he is abroad, and allow him to re-enter the US (provided he has obtained an appropriate visa for the re-entry)?

2) Are requesting the waiver and obtaining the H1-B separate events? Meaning, can he simply request the waiver on the basis of ‘seeking to continue research on this project within the US’, without any mention of later US employment of a job offer?

3) I have read that it is possible or even likely for the waiver to be denied if petitioned for using a No Objection Statement- because US Government funding was used for the J1 fellowship. Is this true? If so, would it be better for him to request the waiver based on hardship due to having a USC child?

I hope this situation and the questions are clear.

Thank you!

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His main preferred employer expects to have an opening for him by approximately August 2015, but this is uncertain.

Is this a non profit?


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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1) Is there enough time for him to get the waiver? My understanding is that he has a 1 month grace period after his fellowship ends, so he can legally remain in the US until about June 25, 2015. If he must leave the US before the waiver is issued, does this constitute abandonment of the waiver request? Or, can the waiver be issued while he is abroad, and allow him to re-enter the US (provided he has obtained an appropriate visa for the re-entry)?

2) Are requesting the waiver and obtaining the H1-B separate events? Meaning, can he simply request the waiver on the basis of ‘seeking to continue research on this project within the US’, without any mention of later US employment of a job offer?

3) I have read that it is possible or even likely for the waiver to be denied if petitioned for using a No Objection Statement- because US Government funding was used for the J1 fellowship. Is this true? If so, would it be better for him to request the waiver based on hardship due to having a USC child?

I hope this situation and the questions are clear.

Thank you!

1) After the Department of State receives the no objection statement, it can take 6-8 weeks according to their website. After that, the Department of State Recommendation is sent to USCIS and that can take another 4 weeks (no posted timelines for that). That plus the mailing times can make this easily a 4-6 month process, but I've seen people getting their approval in under 3 months. Leaving the US doesn't abandon the waiver process at all, but it's important that he updates the address so that he receives the relevant paperwork.

2) The hive mind of the internet thinks that the Statement content doesn't matter in "No Objection" cases. I'd go with a couple of honest paragraphs stating the reasons. It matters more in hardship waivers (since there the Statement + Evidence is the heart of the petition).

3) While the law isn't explicit, the DOS interpretation is that the purpose of the US Government funding matters. If the goal of the funding is an exchange program, it's likely that it'll be denied. When it's old fashioned research grant it's likely that it will be approved. The test seems to be "did this guy get funded because he is foreign?". He can apply to a hardship and a no objection at the same time as well.

Edited by blahblahblog

May 29th, 2015 - Sent AOS package

June 1, 2015 - Package received by USCIS

June 4, 2015 - Biometrics Fee Accepted

June 20, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment Letter Received

June 30, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment

August 6, 2015 - I-131 approved

August 6, 2015 - Your card was ordered

August 7, 2015 - I-765 approved

August 20, 2015 - EAD received

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Re: Boiler:

I am not sure. It is a position as a staff scientist (employee) in a research lab within the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, which is believe is a non-profit institution, OR it is a position as an employee in the private company of the person who runs that research lab (this would be for-profit). My coworker would take whichever of these options becomes available first.

Most other employment possibilities for my coworker (with other potential employers) are similar to this; either a position within a research lab based in a university, or a position at a private company.

Edited by Fluffinhos

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Thank you blahblahblog,

It's an old-fashioned research grant, not part of a mutual exchange program with Israel. He didn't get funded because he is foreign, however he was paid from a separate pool of government money than I as a USC am being paid.

If it helps anyone who has expertise in this area, we are both postdoctoral fellows at the National Institutes of Health, and applied and were accepted in the same way. The only differences are that he is an Israeli citizen and I am a USC. I am an IRTA (Intramural Research Training Award), and he is a Visiting Fellow.

Although the US government has funding set aside for IRTAs and Visiting Fellows in separate pools, and we are paid out of different pools, our application process was the same and everything else is the same. The Israeli government was not involved in my coworker getting this fellowship.

Is there a good way to express this within the Statement of Reason?

How can one apply for both hardship and No Objection at the same time? By submitting separate applications (one for Hardship, and one for No Objection), or by choosing one of them and including the other within the Statement of Reason?

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Re: Boiler:

I am not sure. It is a position as a staff scientist (employee) in a research lab within the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, which is believe is a non-profit institution, OR it is a position as an employee in the private company of the person who runs that research lab (this would be for-profit). My coworker would take whichever of these options becomes available first.

Most other employment possibilities for my coworker (with other potential employers) are similar to this; either a position within a research lab based in a university, or a position at a private company.

He does not need a waiver unless there is a reason for it.

The reason seems to be a change of status.

He will not be working other than in a non profit if he is looking at something this year on a H1b, so kinda important.

I assume maybe wrongly that you needed the reason for the waiver first.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Thank you blahblahblog,

It's an old-fashioned research grant, not part of a mutual exchange program with Israel. He didn't get funded because he is foreign, however he was paid from a separate pool of government money than I as a USC am being paid.

If it helps anyone who has expertise in this area, we are both postdoctoral fellows at the National Institutes of Health, and applied and were accepted in the same way. The only differences are that he is an Israeli citizen and I am a USC. I am an IRTA (Intramural Research Training Award), and he is a Visiting Fellow.

Although the US government has funding set aside for IRTAs and Visiting Fellows in separate pools, and we are paid out of different pools, our application process was the same and everything else is the same. The Israeli government was not involved in my coworker getting this fellowship.

Is there a good way to express this within the Statement of Reason?

How can one apply for both hardship and No Objection at the same time? By submitting separate applications (one for Hardship, and one for No Objection), or by choosing one of them and including the other within the Statement of Reason?

In his situation, he should be able to get the waiver with "No Objection" statement. He sends the application to the Department of State and requests the Israeli embassy to send a No Objection Statement. Department of State will then request "Sponsor Views" letter from NIH, which will respond by saying that they are fine with you staying. Your friend should get in touch with the NIH contact with DoS to be sure that he's on the clear and to hurry the process if it takes too long. Once DoS is satisfied they send their recommendation to USCIS which will then give the final waiver. You can lay all that information out on the Statement of Reason, but I don't think it will matter. DoS is going to ask directly to NIH anyway.

I don't know if he should try the hardship application along with this one because the No Objection seems straightforward and his case with hardship will be pretty weak. His wife is also under J1, so the hardship has to be to the USC child. But if he wants to do that, the hardship application is sent to USCIS, which first agree that there is indeed a hardship and then asks DOS what they think. USCIS than does the final decision.

The Statement of Reason here is going to need to prove that that:

(a) his USC son will suffer exceptional hardship if he's left alone in the US without his parents (straightforward to show that) AND

(b) his USC will suffer exceptional hardship if he moves with his parents to Israel. This is going to be very hard because hardship must be exceptional (he has an illness with a treatment that only exists in the US). Google Hake scale to learn more.

If he wants to send both applications, I recommend going to a lawyer that is good with J-1 issues because I doubt it's going to be easy.

Edited by blahblahblog

May 29th, 2015 - Sent AOS package

June 1, 2015 - Package received by USCIS

June 4, 2015 - Biometrics Fee Accepted

June 20, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment Letter Received

June 30, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment

August 6, 2015 - I-131 approved

August 6, 2015 - Your card was ordered

August 7, 2015 - I-765 approved

August 20, 2015 - EAD received

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This may be relevant for your friend: http://dis.ors.od.nih.gov/pdf/nihnoswaiverpolicy.pdf


May 29th, 2015 - Sent AOS package

June 1, 2015 - Package received by USCIS

June 4, 2015 - Biometrics Fee Accepted

June 20, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment Letter Received

June 30, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment

August 6, 2015 - I-131 approved

August 6, 2015 - Your card was ordered

August 7, 2015 - I-765 approved

August 20, 2015 - EAD received

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