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Immigration Issues/Fulbright J1 visa 2 year HRR

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Question
Hello,

I am on a Fulbright J-1 visa as a cancer biology Ph.D. student in America. I
would like to become exempt from the 2 year home residency requirement or
satisfy the cumulative requirement over several decades. Ideally, after
receiving my degree in the next couple of years, I would like to stay in America
for post-doctoral research (because of funding opportunities, which don't exist
in my home country). It is not my intent to be relieved of my commitment to the
Fulbright program, but I believe that I can give the most back to my home
country by going back to lecture throughout my lifetime. As you know, my desire
is complicated by a number of visa issues:

As I understand it, I cannot obtain an H1 visa as a J1 holder. If I switch to a
F1 now, will I become eligible for a H1 following my graduation?  

If I do gain an H1 visa via this route, will I be able to travel back to my
country to cumulatively fulfill my two-year HRR as a H1 visa holder?

If these options won't work, do I have a decent chance of getting an exemption
under the condition that I will give back to my country as my career in science
progresses?

Do you see any other way that I can fulfill (or become exempted from) my
Fulbright HRR requirement without abandoning my dreams?

I appreciate your time and look forward to learning from your expertise.


Answer
Jo,
Depending on your credentials, you may be eligible to apply for an O visa to continue working in the US.  You may have to leave to country briefly (maybe to Mexico or Canada) and reenter on an O visa once it has been approved.
As for your J1 waiver, it would be difficult but you could do so once your O is approved.
Mark Ashley
www.ashleykrishnan.com

Immigration Issues

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Mark Ashley

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Business Immigration. My practice focuses on representing researchers, scholars, and other advanced degree professionals with filing NIW, EB-1,O-1, H-1, L-1 petitions. I am a founding partner in the immigration law firm Ashley & Krishnan,www.ashleykrishnan.com.

Experience

18 years as a practicing attorney.

Organizations
Member of AILA

Education/Credentials
JD from St. Mary's University, Texas.

Awards and Honors
American Jurisprudence Award recipient

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