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J2 IGA (Over 21) Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement, Interested Government Agency Approval for Chinese Client in New York

by JP Sarmiento on February 16, 2017

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CASE: J-2 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement / Over 21-year-old dependent child

NATIONALITY: Chinese

LOCATION: New York, NY

Our client is a citizen of China who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in November 1996.  She came with her 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, she was attending a school and her family moved back to Canada after her father’s research scholar period was ended. Our client came back to the United States in 2014.

She turned 21 in March 2009. This year, her employer wants to 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 her 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 March 2009.

Our firm was retained to do his J-2 waiver, and on December 14, 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 January 23, 2017, the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver.  On February 15, 2017, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice for our client’s waiver request.

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