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

by JP Sarmiento on May 18, 2017

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

NATIONALITY: Honduran

LOCATION: Missouri

Our client was a citizen of Honduras who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in August 1991.  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 his father’s J-1 program was completed, his family remained in the United States.

He turned 21 in December 2000. He has a U.S. citizen fiancé who can file an I-130 petition for him after their marriage is entered. However, because of his two-year foreign residency requirement, our client cannot file his adjustment of status application 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 2000.

Our firm was retained to do his J-2 waiver, and on March 10, 2017, 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 March 27, 2017, the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver.  On April 5, 2017, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice for our client’s waiver request.

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