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Change from F1 to J1 back to F1? Is it possible with 2 yr J1 requirement?

Atlanta, GA |

I am on OPT working for a govt funded research program. The program has told me that they can help with switching me to J1 once my OPT expires so that I can continue working with them. If I switch to J1 (with 2 yr requirement )will I be able to change back to F1 after the research program ends? If I do change back to F1, will I still be subject to the 2 yr requirement from the previous J1 after I graduate? and If i get married to a citizen before I finish my F1 will I be able to adjust to permanent resident? or will I have have to fulfil the 2 yr requirement from the previous J1?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. One subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement cannot change status from J-1 to another nonimmigrant visa status (except A or G visa status) in the United States, unless the person obtains a J-1 waiver. See INA 248(a)(3). That said, if you do change to J-1 status, you can get an I-20, depart the United States, and apply for an F-1 visa stamp abroad. This is called consular processing.

    You will remain subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement until you obtain a waiver or fulfill the requirement. This is true even if you change back to F-1.

    Being subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement creates several legal disabilities that do not go away until you obtain a waiver or fulfill the requirement. These are (one subject cannot): (1) apply for H or L visa stamps; (2) apply for a green card; and (3) apply for an immigrant visa.

    I hope this helps.

    Brian Schmitt
    Hake & Schmitt
    Attorneys at Law
    P.O. Box 540 (419 Main St.), New Windsor, Maryland 21776
    Phone: 410-635-3337
    http://www.hake.com/pc/

    Required Disclaimer: This information is generalized and should not be relied upon as legal advice; and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  2. I concur.

    NYC EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS www.myattorneyusa.com; email: info@myattorneyusa.com; Phone: (866) 456-­8654; Fax: 212-964-0440; Cell: 212-202-0325. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.


  3. You cannot change status to any status.

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