J2 to H1B for a spouse of J1 MD


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Does anyone know if a spouse on J2 can apply for own H1B visa BEFORE J1 holder gets the waiver approved? Do I need to transfer into H4 status first? If so, I'd most likely miss on H1 for this year as the waiver won't be processed until late June (most likely)? Can I apply for H1 while the waiver petition is pending?

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Typically, a J-2 nonimmigrant is not permitted to change status, apply for an H or L visa, or apply for immigrant visa/adjustment of status until the J-1 nonimmigrant's home residency requirement waiver is approved or the J-2 fulfills the home residency requirement. It is not typically possible to apply for a change of status in anticipation of a waiver approval. Also, current USCIS adjudication trends reflect that a former J-2, even after approval of the principal J-1's waiver of the home residency requirement to provide clinical medical services in a federally designated underserved area, is not permitted to change status to any status other than a H-4. It may be helpful to schedule a consultation with a qualified immigration attorney to discuss this matter in greater personalized detail.

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