Can someone on a J1 visa be sponsored by their parent without leaving the country? 9 Answers as of January 16, 2011

My friend came to the US with a J1 visa and is not subject to 2 years residency. Can her green card parents sponsor for her so that she can get a green card without going back to her home country?

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Carlos E. Sandoval, P.A.
Carlos E. Sandoval, P.A. | Carlos Sandoval
No, rsons and daughters of residents don't have a visa available immediately, and she would have to exit the country while she waits for the availability of a visa.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 1/16/2011
Pacifica Legal Services
Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
Normally a J-1 visa holder cannot adjust status until they return to their country at the end of the program for the 2-year residency, unless they can renew the J-1 to adjust to 5 years, or unless they are successful to getting their 2-year residency requirement waived. However, if not subject to the 2-year requirement, and it affirmatively says so on the face of the visa, then yes, the J-1 visa holder can sponsor her to adjust status, if they were USA citizens. But wait, they are green card holders, they can petition, yes. But she is then placed on a preference status, which is going to be 2B status, in the case of an adult over age 21. That will mean a wait of several years. So she will have to return after all. Sorry.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/10/2011
Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC
Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC | Lynne Feldman
A green card parent may file an I-130 (first stage of permanent residency ("PR") ) for their unmarried child without the child leaving the U.S.; HOWEVER, just by filing an I-130 the J-1 child does not get the right to remain in the U.S to await a current Priority Date and ability to file the second stage of the permanent residency. The J-1 will need to continue to maintain some nonimmigrant status until it is time to file the second stage of PR. Another concern is that the J-1 is a type of nonimmigrant which requires her to show nonimmigrant intent - filing an I-130 shows immigrant intent so it would be best to also change to another nonimmigrant classification which permits dual intent.

Issues are complicated and should be discussed in more depth with an immigration attorney to determine the best and safest strategy after knowing your friends qualifications, goals, etc. You may arrange a consultation by contacting me - see details below.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/29/2010
The Vega Law Firm
The Vega Law Firm | Linda Vega
Yes but it depends on whether you have a restriction on you J-1 Visa. Please consider calling our office for assistance.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 12/28/2010
Pauly P.A.
Pauly P.A. | Clemens W. Pauly
No, as long as the parents are not US citizens, there will be no immediate immigrant visa available for your friend and she needs to maintain her J visa status or switch to another nonimmigrant visa status as long as she wants to be here. Once her parents (or one of them) is a US citizen, they can apply for an immigrant visa for her, but there will be waiting periods since I assume that she is already older then 21 years. Best contact an immigration lawyer to get advice on the best immigration strategy for your friend.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 12/28/2010
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Yes, but since her parents are not citizens, it could take years for her to get a visa priority date.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 12/27/2010
    Law Office of Immigration & International Trade Law
    Law Office of Immigration & International Trade Law | Linda Liang
    As long as her J1 visa is valid, she can stay. Or once her I485 petition is filed, she get temporary pending status until I-485 is decided.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/27/2010
    Fletcher, Tilton & Whipple, PC
    Fletcher, Tilton & Whipple, PC | Kirk A. Carter
    Yes, her green card holding parents can sponsor her so long as she is unmarried and remains unmarried, but she will be subject to a waiting list and will face a lengthy wait, upwards of 7 to 8 years before a green card becomes available unless her parents become citizens, at which time she will move into a shorter line, but will still face at least a 5 year wait. Once her place in line is reached she will have to leave the US and return to her home country to be processed for her green card. If she returns to her home country within her period of authorized stay she should have no problem . She does not face the 2 year foreign residency requirements, but this really won't matter because she will likely have to wait there for a minimum of 5 years. If she does not return and overstays her visa here, but returns home in 5 years, she still might not have a problem. While most people would face a 10 year bar from having overstayed their visa by more than a year, J-1 visa holders do not have an end date or expiration date on their I-94. Instead they are allowed to stay for the "duration of status" which is denoted by a "D/S" on their I-94. Unless USCIS orders her to leave, deports or a judge removes her, she will not face that bar and can return to her home country for her interview. She will still have to deal with other issues of admissibility, i.e. criminal record, health issues, support, past immigration violations, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 12/27/2010
    Nicastro Piscopo, APLC
    Nicastro Piscopo, APLC | Louis M. Piscopo
    Unless protected under Section 245(i), the child of a Green Card holder must be in status to apply for their Green Card in the U.S. In status means that the non-immigrant status they came to the U.S. on has not expired and they have not violated their status (ex. by working without authorization). If you friend meets these requirements, she may be able to get her Green Card in the U.S. without returning home.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/27/2010
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