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Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq., Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 108690
Experience:  10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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Guillermo, I am on a J-1 visa from InterExchange, effective

Customer Question

Hi Guillermo,I am on a J-1 visa from InterExchange, effective 5 November 2015. I entered the country on 26 November 2015. My DS-2019 became valid on 30 November 2015, and will expire 26 February 2016, the same as my visa.My employer has agreed to extend my contract with them to the maximum time a J-1 visa allows which is 12 months. The paperwork for this will be filed next week. Assuming it is approved, the new end date on my DS-2019 form will be 30 November 2016.My employer has also expressed their interest in keeping me full-time. They would like to file for an H-1B visa on 1 April 2016. My passport and DS-2019 form both state that I am not subject to section 212(e); I am not subject to the 2-year home residence requirement. This means I am legally allowed to change status in the US.InterExchange has mentioned that the J-1 visa is a cultural exchange visa and that I am "expected" to return home after my program ends so that I can apply my newfound skills and share my experiences.My employer's legal counsel believes if InterExchange found out about my intent to apply for a dual-intent visa, they could report me to the DHS, but I am not sure on what grounds. They also believe that I would need to visit the US Consulate General in my home country in order to receive the H-1B, but I read that since I am legally allowed to change status in the US, I do not need to visit a consulate. Is there a difference between changing status and getting a visa? Would I only have to physically get my H-1B visa stamp if I decide to leave the US (so that I can re-enter at a later date), otherwise I am fine without one?Finally, when my employer e-mailed their employment lawyers, the lawyers stated that trying to change a J-1 to an H-1B can cause their law firm or my employer (I forgot which) to be blacklisted from being able to receive future J-1 interns. I have never read about this occurring and therefore have trouble believing it.I need some advice regarding the legality of changing a J-1 visa to H-1B while being present in the US on a J-1, specifically one originating from InterExchange on their "cultural exchange" where they expect me to return, and whether I am able to advise InterExchange of my interest in applying for an H-1B or if they would be able to hold it against me in any way.I would also like for you to confirm that my plan is legally possible:
- Apply for 3-month J1 (done already)
- Apply for 9-month J1 extension (in progress)
- Apply for H-1B while on a J-1
- Receive H-1B while J-1 still valid (assuming lottery success)
- J-1 expires, but H-1B is valid, so no problem
- Continue working for employer until H-1B needs to be renewedCould you also let me know if changing a J-1 to an H-1B is "frowned upon", which is what my employer's legal counsel has stated? I have seen many reports of J-1 to H-1B conversions so it's hard to see any real problem with this other than the fact that InterExchange would really like it if I returned home after my program ends.Please do your best to answer all of my questions in a detailed manner for a good rating. If there is anything additional you need from me, please let me know.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would like to add that my J-1 visa is of the INTERN type.
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello! Thank you for requesting me. I am a licensed attorney with more than 13 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help.

IF you can get your J-1 extended until November 2016 and your J-1 is not subject to 212(e), then you can file the H-1B April 1, 2016 and if chosen in the lottery and approved, you can change status to H-1B on October 1, 2016, but you must maintain your J-1 status until then. Filing for an H-1B from J-1 is not a violation as the H-1B is a dual intent visa and that does not conflict with a non-immigrant intent visa. So no, that is not frowned upon. If the J-1 is not extended or you are not able to continue on your J-1 until October 1, 2016, then you will have to leave the U.S. to get H-1B stamping to come back, if your H-1B is approved, of course.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions and there is no additional charge. Also, should you need to chat on the phone, private email or need help reviewing documentation, I am happy to do so for a small additional cost. Let me know if you are interested in these – I am happy to give you more details! When we are done, if you would be so kind as to leave a positive rating for my service, I would sincerely ***** ***** You can do that by clicking on the 3rd, 4th or 5th stars if you see them, or the smiley faces if you see them. You can even ask additional questions without additional charge even after leaving a positive rating. Thank you for your understanding.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Legal Research on Case Law, Codes, etc. + Legal Discussion by Email + Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Sure. I will send that now.

Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Did you receive the request for a phone call? If you don't want to do it, we can continue here without additional charge. Please let me know. Thank you.

Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello. I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help? Please let me know. Thank you!

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