CASE: J-2 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement / Over 21-year-old dependent child
LOCATION: Lincoln, NE
Our client is a citizen of Malaysia who came to the U.S. on a J-2 Visa in 1990. She came with her step-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 remained here beyond the expiration of her authorized period of stay. She completed her secondary schools and pursued her graduate program in the United States as well.
He turned 21 in 1997. Nonetheless, she did not know of the waiver process, and just stayed in the United States without any legal status.
Our client married her current U.S. citizen husband in August 2015. She would like to get a waiver because she can get a green card based on her U.S. citizen husband’s I-130 petition. 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 1997.
Our firm was retained to do her J-2 waiver in August 2016. On August 5, 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 August 26, 2016, the DOS recommended to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that our client be granted a waiver. On November 4, 2016, the USCIS issued an I-612 approval notice for our client’s waiver request.