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For many people who want to visit and eventually live in the United States, obtaining a J-1 visa can open up numerous opportunities. It is a visa designed to help promote the exchange of various ideas and cultures through study and  is geared primarily toward students and others in various professions. Yet in many cases, the J-1 visa has attached to it a two-year foreign residency requirement, meaning most J-1 visa recipients must return to their home country and remain there for two years prior to being allowed to apply for a green card. However, as with most areas of immigration law in the U.S., there are exceptions. Should you want to request such a waiver, you will need legal immigration help Los Angeles clients know have experience in this complex area. Contact our visa attorneys Los Angeles today.

J-1 Visa What to Know

Since a J-1 visa can be an incredibly important step in helping to obtain a green card, it is crucial to know whether or not you may be subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement. In most cases, you will be required to return to your home country if your visit to the U.S. was paid for by the U.S. government or your home country’s government, if you have a specialized skill deemed essential for your home country, or if your stay in the U.S. was to allow for your participation in medical school or other graduate studies. Since confusion can sometimes arise as to whether a person is required to leave the U.S., have your questions answered by a well-known and respected immigration lawyer in Los Angeles.

What if I Have Dependents with Me?

If you possess a J-1 visa and believe you are subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement as required by federal immigration law, this will also impact any dependents who may also be living with you in the United States. Should these dependents possess J-2 visas, they too will be required to leave the U.S. if you as the J-1 visa holder are considered to meet the foreign residency requirement. Since the lives of you as well as other members of your family can be impacted by this, contact law offices of immigration Los Angeles knows can correctly interpret the law on your behalf.

State Department Review

Since it can be confusing at times to know what may or may not apply to your situation, it sometimes becomes necessary to have your J-1 visa lawyers in Los Angeles request a State Department review of your case. This review, known as an Advisory Opinion, will be conducted by the State Department’s Waiver Review Division. If the review is in your favor, the waiver will be granted. To win such a case, you need the very best legal immigration help Los Angeles has to offer, which is why you should immediately consult with attorneys at Alami Law.

What if Citizenship or Nationality has Changed?

Should you along the way change your citizenship or nationality from your original home country, this can make the foreign residency requirement even more confusing. When this happens, the country you as a J-1 visa holder listed on Form DS-2019 will be the country in which you will be required to fulfill the two-year foreign residency requirement. If you have concerns about this, speak with an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles who can determine how to proceed.

Postponing the Residency Requirement

While it may appear you have little choice in the matter of returning to your home country, there are in fact certain ways in which the two-year foreign residency requirement may be postponed. For example, if you can acquire certain types of visas such as E, F-1, J-2, TN, or O-1, this may work in your favor. But to do so, you will most likely need to prove returning to your home country due to the residency requirement would create a major hardship for you and your dependents, or that doing so would place your life in danger. Since so much will be riding on this postponement, let law offices of immigration Los Angeles trusts such as Alami Law handle your case and protect your rights.

Ways to Obtain a Waiver

If you are determined to obtain a waiver of the foreign residency requirement, you must work with your J-1 visa lawyers in Los Angeles on many fronts. One of the most common ways to get this waiver is to have your home country’s government provide you with a No Objection Statement, meaning it has no issue with you seeking permanent residency in the United States. Also, you can obtain a waiver from the U.S. government, especially if you are working in a situation where the government deems your skills to be essential. Along with these two options, if you can prove your leaving would lead to persecution in your home country or would create a significant hardship on your family members who are with you in the U.S., a waiver may be possible.

Waivers for Medical Graduates

Since medical personnel are considered so valuable to all nations, it can be difficult to obtain a waiver from the two-year foreign residency requirement if you are a medical student or professional. However, it can be done under certain circumstances. In many cases, this will initiate at the state level with your employer, such as a hospital. While all medical professionals may be able to possibly obtain a waiver, you will stand a much better chance if you are a primary care doctor, since almost all states grant this waiver upon request.

Since you have now been living and working in the United States and feel there is no justifiable reason to return to your home country, it may be to your benefit to do everything possible to obtain a waiver connected to your J-1 visa. Should you wish to pursue this matter, make sure you schedule a consultation with Alami Law. In doing so, you will be working with highly-experienced J-1 visa lawyers in Los Angeles.