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J2 IGA (Over 21) Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement, Interested Government Agency Approval for Filipino Client in San Francisco California

by JP Sarmiento on December 4, 2017

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


LOCATION: San Francisco, CA

Our client is a citizen of the Philippines who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in November 2015.  He came with his mother who came on a J-1 Visa for her teaching 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, F, 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 wanted to change his status from J-2 to F-1 in the United States.

He turned 21 in September 2017. He would like to get a waiver because he wanted to change his status from J-2 to F-1. However, because of his 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 September 2017.

Our firm was retained to do his J-2 waiver, and on September 22, 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 October 16, 2017, the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver.  On November 14, 2017, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice for our client’s waiver request.

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