If I had a J-1 visa which expired 4 years ago, what can I do to become a legal resident of the US?

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If I had a J-1 visa which expired 4 years ago, what can I do to become a legal resident of the US?

I haven’t left the country since then.

Asked on January 18, 2012 under Immigration Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Valid, bona fide marriage to a US citizen is probably your only option at this point in time, given the current immigration laws.  You are out of status since you are no longer in a J-1 program but you may not be unlawfully present, if your I-94 did not indicate a specific expiration date but was instead D/S for duration of status.  Assuming it is the latter, you can still depart the US and if you are not subject to a 2 year home residency requirement as part of your J-1, you can then return to the US on any other type of visa, such as H-1B (provided you have an approved work visa petition filed by an employer on your behalf), etc.


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