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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 August 7, 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 City, NY

Our client is a citizen of China who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in October 1995.  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’s father’s J-1 program was completed, his family moved to Canada. Our client came back to the United States with an H-1B visa after he obtained his current employment in New York.

He turned 21 in 2001. He would like to get a waiver because he has an approved I-140 petition for him. However, because of his two-year foreign residency requirement, our client cannot file an 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 November 2001.

Our firm was retained to do his J-2 waiver, and on May 17, 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 June 9, 2017, the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver.  On July 27, 2017, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice for our client’s waiver request.

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