I'm asking about transferring my J1 to F2 within the US. I'm subject to 212(e) restriction. Currently I'm a J1 doctoral student at Rice University, at the end of my second year. However, as my PhD qualify exam was not passed, I'll not be able to continue my studies as a J1 student. My current DS-2019 is from 2020 to 2026, but the school asked me to depart no later than August 15 (I asked the international office of my university that I will not have another DS-2019 form). My wife is now on a F1 student visa from Trine University (she also has the day1 CPT and has been working for an international company). I would like to transfer my J1 status to F2 status within US. I find that I need a J1 waiver to do it, so I just started the process yesterday and now has the Barcode from DoS, and submitted my application to China Embassy for NOL. However it may take time to get it. Therefore my question will be, can I apply the change of status from J1 to F2 and submit my I539 form as soon as I get my F2 I20 before August 15, so that I can stay in US lawfully after August 15? I know that I will not be granted the change of status without a J1 waiver, but can I apply it first to gain some days of lawful stay (while I'm also applying the J1 waiver)? Presumably by the time DoS requires further evidence from me, there are chances that my J1 waiver would be approved. Apart from this, I would also want to know whether my J1 waiver application could be affected if I for some reasons leave US before I am granted the J1 waiver. I'm asking this because my wife is now discovering an opportunity to ask her company to relocate her to Singapore for one and a half year, and I would then accompany her as a dependent to Singapore. It could happen soon or later or not at all, but I want to know if I cannot afford the time to wait for the J1 waiver to be approved before I leave the US, will my application be still considered? I know that my J1 to F2 change of status will be considered withdrawn if I leave the country soon, but I would still need the J1 waiver to get back to US in the near future with a H4 or L2B visa if my wife gets an H1B or L1B from her company when she worked in Singapore for more than one year. Thanks so much for your time and I'm looking forward to talking to you!
The I-539 change of status application can be submitted without a J1 waiver, which can buy you some time, but keep in mind that the USCIS will eventually issue a Request for Additional Evidence asking for that waiver, so you will need to provide it at that time to avoid your application getting denied. As long as you've submitted the J1 waiver request while you are in the states you should be fine to travel.
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