Can you Adjust Status if you've overstayed your J-1 visa?

One issue that came across my desk recently is whether you can adjust status if you've overstayed your J-1 visa. Now I'm going to give you that famous lawyer answer - "It depends!"

It depends on the original purpose of your J-1 visa, and whether the visa you were issued is subject to the 2-year residence requirement, meaning that you have to return to your home country or country of last residence for two years. If you are subject to the 2-year residence requirement, then you may be eligible for a waiver. There are a couple of bases that may allow for you to get a waiver:

  • Exceptional Hardship on your US Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident Spouse or Child
  • No-Objection Waiver - if your home country issues a no-objection statement regarding your decision not to return home
  • Request by US Federal Executive agency
  • Waiver for International Medical Graduates
  • Possible Persecution (these are rare and take a long time to process)

If you or someone you know has overstayed their visa and wants to adjust status, you should contact a lawyer for a consultation, since this can be a very complicated issue.