CASE: J-1 Waiver of the Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement, Exceptional Hardship
LOCATION: Seattle, WA
Our client came from the Philippines on a J-1 visa in 2008. She got her J-1 status as a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship in the United States and her J-1 status made her subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement. Later, she changed her status from J-1 to F-1 and maintained her non-immigrant visa status. In 2012, she married her U.S. citizen husband. She would like to file her adjustment of status application along with her husband’s I-130 petition for her. However, due to her two-year foreign residency requirement, she has to get the waiver or fulfill the requirement before she files the adjustment of status application.
Unlike our other J-1 clients, our client could not pursue her waiver under No Objection Statement or Interest Government Agency (IGA). Our client also received government funding (Fulbright Scholarship) for her research programs which made her case tougher for the No Objection Statement or IGA waiver route. Our client, though, would like to pursue her J-1 waiver based on exceptional hardship standard. In fact, our client’s U.S. citizen husband is experiencing exceptional medical hardships.
According to 8 C.F.R. Section 212.7(c)(5), “an alien who is subject to the foreign residence requirement and who believes that compliance therewith would impose exceptional hardship upon her spouse or child who is a citizen of the United States… may apply for a waiver on Form I-612.”
Some of the factors in analyzing exceptional hardship are as follows: age of the subject, family ties in the U.S. and abroad, length and residency in the U.S., health / medical conditions, conditions in the country of removal – economic and political, financial status – business and occupation, position in / ties to the community. Matter of Anderson, 16 I&N Dec. 596 (BIA 1978).
After she retained our firm, we prepared and filed a waiver request through an exceptional hardship basis. On September 10, 2015 the J-1 Waiver (Form DS-3035) Application was filed to the Department of State. Thereafter, our office prepared affidavit of our client, extensive brief in support for our client’s J-1 waiver application, and other supporting documents. Our client provided us with extensive medical documents and doctor’s reports for her U.S. citizen husband’s medical conditions. On September 24, 2015, our office filed I-612 application to the USCIS and asked for them to issue and recommends this waiver based on the fact that our client’s husband would experience exceptional hardship if our client needs to go back to the Philippines for two years.
Eventually, the USCIS approved her I-612 waiver on December 15, 2016. Now that our client’s two-year foreign residency requirement is waived, she can file her adjustment of status application along with her husband’s I-130 petition.