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Disclaimer: The contents in this web site are only for your information and are not intended to be legal advice. While many of our applicants successfully obtain their I-140 approvals, the information here should not be considered as a guarantee of your green card application outcome.

Can my wife (J2 holder) get Green card if I get a Green card while on J1?

Question:

I am a postdoc in US with J1 visa without 2 years residency requirement. My wife is in J2 and also without residency requirement. My question is if I am able to get my Green card through EB1A, can she also get a green card as well?

Additionally, when I am applying for EB1A, will I be in J1 status and my wife is in J2?

Answer:

The usual procedure is that the primary applicant (you) applies for I-140 and the derivative (your wife and children) and primary apply for I-485. Both of you would get green cards after I-485 is approved. At first, when you apply for I-140 alone, both your status remains unchanged. When you apply for I-485 the status is “pending adjustment of status”. This status is convenient and both of you can get EADs for work and AP for travel abroad. You can apply for I-485 at the same time as I-140 (depending on priority dates) or after I-140 approval.

You can find answers to common questions in a free PDF book on our website at greencardforphd.com

Sincerely
Green card for Phd Team
Helping NIW and EB1A applications
with our DIY packages

38 Responses to Can my wife (J2 holder) get Green card if I get a Green card while on J1?

  • Nit Chauhan says:

    Dear Green card for Phd Team,

    I am a adv.Master in engineering from UK + 10 years Exp presently i’m in US with J1 visa without 2 years residency requirement. My question is if I am able to get my Green card through EB2 or self petition ?

    Additionally, when I am applying for this ,is there change in J1 status?

    • admin says:

      Hi

      USCIS has two self-petitioning categories EB1a and EB2-NIW. Please see the criteria for these categories and check if you can meet 3 or more criteria. If yes you can petition in one of these categories.

      During the application process your visa status does not change. During the i-485 application, you request for a change of status from J1 to permanent resident.

      Since J1 is for workers with no immigration intent, once you apply for green card (which express immigration intent), it may be harder for you to extend the J1 visa if necessary. If you don’t think this is a problem, you can apply while on J1.

      Best of luck.

  • Peter says:

    Hello! Great site ! I just want to ask one question before getting started with the self-petition.
    My wife is working as a postdoc fellow in Northwestern University since June 2012. She has J-1 and I’m J-2. We want to fill self-petition as NIW for her. She has one publication as a postdoc and several publications from her Master and PhD. She was a judge in the poster session and had won several prizes , but not in US. Her current supervisor said to her that she has no case to fill I-140 form. We wanted to hear your opinion. Do we have any chance to get i-140 approved in our case?
    Does it matter from what period of her study she will bring the evidences?

    • admin says:

      Hi Peter

      Usually NIW is relatively easier than EB1a. From your description she satisfies 2 of EB2 criteria. Probably she satisfies more if you made a list of all her achievements. We suggest you look at USCIS NIW requirements and some example petitions to make a better decision. For NIW she would need to satisfy 3 criteria and in addition show that a) her work has national in scope b) important to US national interest and c) benefit derived from her application outweighs not needed labor certification. With careful preparation, these criteria are not usually hard for most post-docs. Hope this helps.

      Best of luck

  • Deepak says:

    hello,

    i recently joined as a postdoc at NIH( Postdoc visisting fellow) on J1 visa. My question is whether I can apply for for green card under this J1 status? If so whether there will be problem with my current work as federal empoly? If there will be problem then how can a avoid this and can apply? I heard that there will be problem for my position if i apply now for greeen card so could you explain clearly???

    • admin says:

      Hi Deepak

      You can certainly apply on your own. However you would need to get a J1 visa wavier if your country or visa has a 2 year residency rule. Once you have a wavier you can apply on you own. Being a NIH postdoc is not a problem in fact it would work in your advantage (national interest).

      Hope this helps.

      Best of luck
      GC for phd

  • Atanu says:

    Hi All,
    A quick question regarding my present situation. I did apply for EB1A (green card) about 3.5 months ago which is currently under review. Now I’ve been working as a Post Doc and my extended OPT is ending on 14th January. So, I wanted to apply for J1 in the mean time but our university international center is advising us that if I submit it now, then J1 would be denied because that’s a non-immigration visa. But my understanding is that J1 takes about suppose 2 months to process and by then I probably will get the green card application outcome. So if green card is approved everything would be fine, and if not, then I’ll still have the J1 pending. That way I would decrease the work authorization time lag.
    Please let me know your opinion. My boss agrees with the international center and is saying that we should wait until green card result is given.
    But to me, that’s uncertain and we should proceed with J1, especially when I know I can’t work beyond 14th January. So my question is whether or not there is any risk of submitting paperwork for J1 while my EB1A is pending. Please advise.
    Thanks for your time!

    • admin says:

      Hi

      By applying for a green card, you have expressed an intent to immigrate. This would be in the records of USCIS. When you apply for J1, they may notice this and deny the J1. The denial can occur irrespective of green card outcome, because your intent conflicts with J1 visa holder intent. So J1 is not a good option.

      We suggest you should ask your university to sponsor you a H1b visa.

      Best of luck
      GC for phd team

  • Abdulraouf says:

    Dear Green card for Phd Team,

    I’m a postdoc with J1 visa without 2 years, I hold a Syrian nationality, My J1 visa is expired two months ago, and my DS 1920 got renewed until December 31 2014. My question is If I can change my visa from J1 to H1 without leaving United States, because I can’t go back home, what would be the best solution in my case? Thank you very much

    • admin says:

      Hi

      You can change your legal status from J1 to H1 without traveling back home. You need a sponsor for your H1B visa (non-profit organizations like university or a for-profit company). If you want visa stamping (H1B) in your passport you would travel to your home country (after H1B status is approved).

      Best wishes

  • THIYAGU says:

    Hi,

    I’m in J-1 visa working as postdoctoral research associate (with two year residency rule) residing in USA for last three years. Recently got two year waiver documents from home country (Didn’t apply to department of state to get the waiver). My wife in J-2 visa with valid EAD card (exp feb 2015). Recently she got job in USA and started working.

    I have extended my J-1 until 2017 (total five years) and got DS-2019 valid until 2017.

    I have several publications and number of citations with International research award which is hard to get.

    I discussed with the lawyer (free consulation) and he suggested that I’m qualified to apply for E1Ba (extraordinary abilities) category.

    I want to get the green card directly (with J-1 visa) without affecting my wife’s EAD card.

    What is the best way to apply. Do I need to skip to H1B or can apply from J-1 itself (I don’t like to get H1B because my wife status will become new (H4 visa) and she can’t work.

    If I apply to green card from J1 what will happen to my wife’s working status.

    she is having EAD card upto feb 2015. If I started filing I-140 and I-485 together right now (april) howlong it will take to get the green card. My only concern is to hold my wife’s EAD card valid until the end.

    Expecting your esteemed suggestions at the earliest.

    Thanks

    THIYAGU

    • GCforPhD says:

      Right now EB1a is current for all nationalities. So if you applied now and if all the approvals happen in time you can expect a Greencard in 3 to 9 mo period.

      Once you apply for a green card, your existing J1 and J2 visas are generally not affected. However if you wish to renew or extend the visa (or get a stamp in the passport) while the green card is being processed, it “may” be hard.

      Also once you apply for I-485 your status stays J1 and J2, unless you start to use the EAD that comes with green card application. If you use the EAD from green card application then your status becomes “pending I-485”.

      Hope this answers your questions

      best wishes
      Green card for Phd

  • khalid says:

    Hello sir my name is khalid
    I have a indian passport
    I’m on j2 visa which is valid for 2years
    I have just turned 18 on dec26
    I’m in a high school in america
    My question is that. I want to apply for green card
    On my j2 visa
    Can u tell me what steps must I follow.
    And how much time does it take to get the gree card
    And what is requried

    • GCforPhD says:

      Hi

      If you are planning to self-petition in the employment based categories, you need to show evidence in the NIW (national interest category) or extraordinary ability (EB1a). You can find the uscis criteria for these in the links above. If you think you satisfy those criteria, you can apply.

      We have not come across high school students applying in these categories. However if you think you satisfy uscis criteria you can apply. If you do not satisfy these criteria, then you would have to look for a sponsoring employer who can apply for a green card for you.

      Best wishes
      GCforPhD

  • Amulek says:

    Hello, my wife is on J2 visa with EAD working as embryologist currently and I am on J1 studying in university, our visa will expired in 2017. we are not subject to two years residency requirement. My question is which way is best or faster way for us to receive a eligible status to work after 2016 where my school end. Does she apply H1 from J2, or apply N.I.W better? Prior to her employment in US, my wife had more than 7 years experience as embryologist and some research improvement on lung cancer field. If she is going to file N.I.W and meet 3 of criteria requirements, is it possible that the verification documents are from foreign country instead of US.

    • GCforPhD says:

      Regarding your first question on continuining to work after 2017, you have enough time to apply and obtain either a NIW (EAD or green card) green card or H1B (you would need sponsorship by the university or a hiring company).

      You should only consider applying for NIW if you do not think you would extend you J1 based visa or work permit while NIW is being processed.

      You can always include evidence documents from a Forign country. If the USCIS officer feels a need for documents verified by a US sources USCIS would send a RFE. However if it is easy to get the documents verified by a US source that would be even better.

      Best wishes
      GCforPhD

  • Maggie says:

    Hi,
    I was browsing the web for a while and cannot find the answer for this particular question. My husband and I are both biomedical scientists (Europe) and decided to apply for EB-2 NIW. We are finalizing our application package. My appointment with university ends sooner than my husband (he is in the process of extending his J1, not subject to 212e, until October 2016), so we decide to go with him as a primary and have me switch to J2 and apply for EAD. We want to file I140 as soon as I enter US on J2. Question: will filing I140 by him, affect my ability to get EAD as a J2. If we file both within a week, would my J2 EAD request get denied because our J status is not nice and clean anymore (aka. Immigration intent) .
    Thank you!
    Maggie

    • GCforPhD says:

      Hi Maggie

      You are correct there is a possibility USCIS can deny the EAD based on immigration intent. However will it certainly happen? it is hard to say. Has it happened in the past? We are not aware of similar cases. If you want to play it safe, get an EAD and then apply the I-140. Alternatively if you are confident of the EB2-NIW case, you can concurrently file for your I-485 and get an EAD based on pending I-485. Obviously the later approach costs money upfront.

      Best wishes
      GCforPhD

  • valeria says:

    Congratulation for the website, it’s really helpful.
    My husband has a J1 and he will apply for the GC as a private petitioner. I’m a J2 and I’m working with my EAD.
    I’m wondering what happens to my visa and EAD after my husband will apply for the I-485. I understand that my status will be “pending adjustment of status”. Can I go out from USA in the period between the I-485 application and the GC approval? What happens if the GC is rejected..we will mantain our J1 and J2?
    Thank you in advance.

    Valeria

    • GCforPhD says:

      Hi

      As long as you both keep using your J1 and EAD from J2, your status will still be J1 and J2 respectively. However, if your husband starts to use EAD from I-485 then your status will become “pending adjustment of status”. While on “pending adjustment of status”, you can obtain an EAD and advanced parole. Once on pending AOS, you have yo use EAD/AP to work and travel.

      GC can get rejected at I-140 or I-485 states. Usually the later is very rare.If there is no immediate need to travel, best approach is to wait till I-140 approval to start using EAD/AP (from pending AOS).

      If I-140 is rejected then it would be harder to extend the J visas. It may be hard to travel on a J visa. In this situation, it is better to change to a H visa.

      Hope this helps.

      Best wishes
      GCforPhD

  • dm says:

    Hello,

    My wife is a J1 holder with baby born here in US and I am J2 holder, both of us without 2 years residency requirement. We extend J status every year, but our J visas are expired couple years ago.
    I have started GC process and my employer filed PERM application back in March 2015. If I go out of US for business purposes, will I be able to get a new J2 visa into my passport in another country? Seems like I will not be able to get a new visa because I exposed my immigration intent with PERM application. Please confirm.

    Thank you!

    • GCforPhD says:

      This is a tricky question. USCIS “may not” deice to approve a J2 visa stamp. The reasoning behind this is J visas holders, as you are aware, are expected not to have immigration intent. But by applying for a green card you have expressed an intent. So it is up to the USCIS if they will or will not approve a visa extension.

      If there is a possibility you should try to switch to a H1 visa and then travel.

      Best wishes
      GCforPhD

  • Maria Soriano says:

    Hi, my husband is a J2 visa , i am petitioning him now through family base , I am a US Citizen, does he need to fulfill the two year rule ? Even if I am petioning him already?

  • Hanin says:

    Hello,
    My husband is a J2 visa ,I am j1 that will expire in 2017.i will apply for h1b so he will be H4.so his work may sponsor his H1b ,
    My question will his h1b application affect his chances to get EAD this year while he is on j2 status ?thank you

    • GCforPhD says:

      Short answer is his pending H1b application will not affect his chances of getting a EAD derived from J2 visa.

      Best wishes
      GCforPhD

  • Sherif Ahmed says:

    I’m currently postdoc research scientist on j-1, 3 years of being in US and planning to apply for a green card very soon. My fiance is a Syrian/French girl that is currently living in Cairo/Egypt. we are expecting to marry at any point very soon. but before we do that, I want to ensure that she has a chance to come here after marriage. I heard (not sure though) that applying for a green card may make it difficult for her to apply for visa to come here? I I’m wondering about what path we should follow in order to bring her here or get her US visa and at what point we can start the green card application?

    • GCforPhD says:

      Hi

      If you marry before applying for a green card then that would not cause any problems. However if your green card is approved before your marriage then your spouse would have to apply in a limited category which may take long time to get approved. So your spouse may not be able to come here soon. So it is better to apply after the marriage.

      Best wishes
      GCforPhD

      • Sherif Ahmed says:

        So You think that we should marry, get her the J-2 spouse visa, come here to US then I include her in my green card application? Does she have to be in US while my green card application in process or I can include her in my application while she is abroad? do you think J-2 visa will take long time to be issued or its fast ? Im now between marrying and applying her J-2 then green card or marrying and including her in my green card application straightaway without the J-2 step ? Im a bit confused with this one.

        • GCforPhD says:

          Hi

          Generally that is preferred approach (apply for I-485 after marriage). Your spouse need not be in the US for your GC application and to include her name in the I-140 or I-485. There are two approaches to bring your spouse to the US a) apply for a J2 visa, after the J2 is issued then apply for a green card b) concurrently file for a green card (i-140 and i-485) and after the EAD and advanced parole (AP) are issued then bring your spouse using the AP documents. In the second case your would have to wait till you finish filing and the AP is approved. In this case you will no longer be in J visas.

          The first case is easier and could quicker, considering most applicants spend time to prepare a good petition.

          Best wishes
          GCforPhD

  • GCforPostdocMarried says:

    I am a postdoc on J-1 visa (valid until Oct 2016) and my fiance, also a postdoc but with F1 OPT, has his NIW I140 approved. I am not subject to 2-year home residency requirement. My question is that if we get married, can we both apply for adjustment of status? He has not applied yet. Can I stay on J-1 visa until it gets approved?

    Thanks.

    • GCforPhD says:

      Hi

      Yes. Your spouse would have to add you as a derivative applicant in i-140, after marriage and before applying for adjustment of status. Once the adjustment of status is applied both of you have a choice of staying on your current visas or if any one of you uses EAD (from green card application) or AP then your status becomes “pending adjustment of status”.

      Best wishes
      GCforPhD

      Best wishes
      GCforPhD

  • Vinay says:

    Hi,
    My wife got approval of I140. I am in Finland and want to shift with my wife in US. My wife has J1 visa and I am on J2 visa.
    1. Can I apply for EAD from J2 visa and my wife apply for I485 concurrently?
    2. If my wife apply for I485 and we both apply for EAD from I485. Is it possible if I am residing to US ? Is it also like if I stay with her for at least 60 days then I will not consider as residing US.
    Please reply.

    Thanks
    Vinay

    • Tigran Kalaydzhyan says:

      Hi Vinay,

      The easiest scenario is the following: you enter the U.S. on J2, wait for at least 60 days and file I-485+EAD together with your wife (each of you has to file an individual I-485). The 60 days waiting is related to the possible misrepresentation of your intent while entering U.S. on nonimmigrant visa, see source by the link.

      Answering your second question, you must be in the U.S. to file I-485+EAD. There is no such thing as number of days after which you are not staying in the country if you are actually being physically present.

  • Sumanta Dey says:

    Hi,
    I am on a J1 VISA and I am planning to initiate the waiver process here in USA. I have collected all the required documents and now I need to file DS3035. My wife is on J2 and she applied for her EAD renewal. Her case is pending. If I file DS3035, will her EAD application be affected? Do I need to wait until she receives her new EAD?

    Thanks for your attention.

    Sumanta

    • Tigran Kalaydzhyan says:

      To my knowledge, DS3035 has no effect on the spouse’s EAD. By filing DS3035 you ask for the waiver of the 2 year home residence requirement for yourself and your wife, not for the status change.

  • dr k says:

    hello,
    I have a j1 visa working as a university post doc in usa. My wife worked in usa with h1b visa last year but went to home country india to change her h1b to j2 as her term ended. Now she applied for a j2 visa though the case is still pending under administrative decession. In this meantime can I apply for green card or need to wait until she got the news for j2 visa. need kind help. my term is upto next year 2018 in j1 visa and I am excemted from home country requirement.

    • Tigran Kalaydzhyan says:

      You can file I-140 and this should not affect your wife’s J-2, because you are filing it only on your behalf. If it is approved and your priority date is current, then it is better to wait until your wife enters the U.S. and stays here for at least 60 days, and only then you should file I-485 (adjustment of status) for both of you. The reason for waiting while being in the country is to minimize the suspicion about the misrepresentation in front of the border officer (because your wife will declare the nonimmigrant intent by entering the U.S. with J2 visa).

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