Can I change from a J-1 visa to an H1-b visa?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I change from a J-1 visa to an H1-b visa?

I’m from Portugal and this is my third year in the U.S. with a J-1 visa as a teacher in NC. Can I be hired by another school and change from J-1 to an H1-b visa or do I

have to leave the country for 2 years and apply again? Additionally my husband, also from Portugal, has the J-2 visa now as my dependent. Can he apply for an H1-b visa? If he gets the H1-b visa, can I have the H4 and be able to work?

Asked on December 10, 2016 under Immigration Law, North Carolina


SB Member California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

FIrst of all, you can only change to H-1B if your J-1 does not have the 2 year conditional residency attached to it.  Secondly, you can only change to H-1B when there are visa numbers available.  As you may know, the past few years there has been a H-1B lottery because there were many more petitions filed than visas available.  It will probably be the same situation this April.  The earliest possible filing date for a new H-1B (assuming you are not subject to the 2 year conditional residency) is April 1, 2017.  If your husband gets a H-1B through the lottery, then wonderful.  If not but you do, in H-4 status he is NOT eligible to work whereas he IS as a dependent J-2 status.

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