Family-based green card with J1 waiver
I just got my green card process finalized, and I found it helpful the posts with the timelines for each step. So, I decided to share my experience here, as well.
I came to the US with a J1 visa with the 2-year foreign residency rule. Thus, before I could apply for the green card, I had to first apply for the 2-year rule waiver.
When I finished my Ph.D. I extended my J1 visa based on an Academic Training (AT), the J1 equivalent of an OPT for the F1s (This does not require an EAD card, only an extension on the DS-2019). After I had my AT approved, I received a new DS-2019 with an extension so I could complete the AT. I waited 90 days after the date the new DS-2019 was signed by the university to apply for the waiver. After the 90 days, I then filled out the online form in the Department of State (DOS) website and followed the instruction on how to file the waiver request. The timeline for that process went as followed:
April 16th – Completed online the waiver request form on the DOS website (as soon as you finish the form you are given a case number that can be used to check the process status online)
April 17th – Mailed the requested documents to DOS
April 17th – Requested to my home country embassy (Brazil) to submit the J Visa Waiver No Objection Statement to the DOS. As soon as I sent the request, I received an email back from the Brazilian embassy confirming they received it, and a promise that it would be processed within 5 business days
April 17th – I received a copy of the No objection Statement the Brazilian Embassy had submitted to the DOS
May 2nd – First update online showing the DOS received my documents and fee payment
May 22nd – No Objection Statement from home country marked as received
July 18th – DOS sent to USCIS the favorable recommendation to waive the 2-year rule
July 23rd – USCIS received the recommendation from DOS to waive the 2-year rule
July 25th – USCIS made the final decision to waive my 2-year rule
July 27th – Received notice from USCIS on the mail to state they received a favorable recommendation from the DOS; and also a separate notice with their final decision approving the waiver of the 2-year foreign residency rule
After I received the notice waiving the 2-year rule, I started to assemble the package for the Family-based - Adjustment of Status (AOS). We were, at the time, residents of Mississippi.
Timeline for AOS:
September 16th – Submitted all the paperwork for concurrent filing with overnight shipping to the National Benefits Center
September 17th – USCIS received the package, and this became our priority date
September 27th – Received the notices on the mail with all the case numbers
October 16th – Biometrics appointment set for Birmingham, Al. However, notice for the appointment did not arrive until the afternoon of October 18th, therefore, I missed my original biometrics appointment
October 18th – Contacted USCIS to get an info pass for biometrics, but I was not able to since it was late on the day and only tier 1 agents were available
October 20th – Talked to a tier 2 agent and was able to get an info pass for new biometrics appointment for October 25th
October 25th – Biometrics appointment, early morning
October 25th – Fingerprints review was completed by the FBI, late afternoon
November 11th – Case ready for the interview
December 3rd – Interview was scheduled
December 6th – Received noticed on the mail with interview date and place
January 7th – Interview at Memphis, TN. Our interview was very relaxed and quick. We were not asked for any extra documents or photos. The interview did not take but 7 min to be completed, and in the end, the officer congratulated me on becoming a permanent resident. She then handed me the approval notice and said that within two weeks, I should receive the card in the mail.
January 7th – Status updated online that the case was approved
January 10th – Card was mailed to me
January 13th – USPS picked up the parcel
January 15th – Card delivered
I never received the EAD/Travel document combo card. On the day my green card was approved, the status for the forms I-765 and I-131 changed to let me know that the requests were terminated, since I received the benefit by having the green card approved.
Best of luck to everyone going through the process!