J2 IGA (Over 21) Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement, Interested Government Agency Approval for Vietnamese Client in Honolulu Hawaii
CASE: J-2 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement / Over 21-year-old dependent child
LOCATION: Honolulu, HI
Our client is a citizen of Vietnam who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in July 2004. He came with his father who came on a J-1 Visa for his research program in the United States. Both were subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement, meaning they had to go back to their home country for two-years before they can apply for permanent residency or some non-immigrant visa such as the H, L, and O visas.
After our client came to the United States, he completed his high school and was admitted to the University to pursue his bachelor’s degree. He changed his status from J-2 to F-1.
He turned 21 in 2011. He would like to get a waiver because his prospective employer will file an I-129 petition for our client’s H-1B visa. However, because of her two-year foreign residency requirement, our client cannot change his status in the United States without the fulfillment of requirement or the waiver.
Although J-2 dependents cannot independently apply for a waiver, in cases where a J-2 child reaches 21, the Waiver Review Division may consider requests for waivers on behalf of the J-2 dependent. The Department of State’s policy allows for that process in instances where the J-2 dependent obtains a divorce form the J-1 principal, the J-1 principal dies, or in cases where the J-2 dependent turns 21, which is our client’s case. In fact, our client turned 21 in December 2011.
Our firm was retained to do his J-2 waiver, and on October 6, 2016, the J-2 Waiver application (Form DS-3035 and supporting documents) was filed to the Department of State. We also sent a request to the DOS to be an interested government agency and recommend this waiver based on the fact that our client reached the age of 21 and was not a dependent of a J-1 visa holder anymore. Eventually, on November 6, 2016, the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver. On February 1, 2017, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice for our client’s waiver request.