How to Request a J1 Visa Waiver and Obtain US Residency
The J1 visa is issued to those individuals selected for work or study programs in the United States. It is a non-immigrant visa that promotes cultural exchange and helps people receive training for better prospects in the US or their home country. Unlike the H-1B, K and, L class visas, the J1 is not a dual intent visa, whereby foreign nationals can apply for permanent residency without certain restrictions.
Generally, J1 visa programs require applicants to return to their country of origin for 2 years once their stay in the sponsoring program ends. However, one can obtain a J1 visa waiver and obtain US residency without having to return home. Here we explain how the process.
The Green Card Process
The green card process begins by qualifying under one of the categories established by law. These categories are mainly petitions from relatives, employers, or humanitarian petitions. This usually involves having a US citizen or green card holder submit a petition on your behalf and applying for a green card that allows you to stay in the US. The petitioner may be a US employer or a qualifying relative that is a US citizen or permanent resident.
For example, suppose your employer wants to hire you for a permanent, full-time position. In that case, your employer has to prove to the Department of Labor, via a lengthy process, that their J1 status employee needs to become a permanent resident because no US citizens are willing or capable of taking their position. If all goes smoothly, you can receive a green card under one of the employment based categories like EB-2 or EB-3.
The employment based route is ideal for those individuals with specialized or managerial skills. Your employer may require you to continue working; therefore, they must submit the I-140 form while the J1 visa holder files for the I-485 form concurrently. After processing by the USCIS, you may have to go for an adjustment of status interview which will determine if you qualify for the green card and to request a J1 waiver to exempt you from the two-year physical presence requirement in your country of origin.
You may get married to a US citizen while you hold a J1 visa. Your spouse can then file the I-130 form, sponsoring you. At the same time, you have to submit the I-485 form. The adjudicating officer will ask you to submit the waiver form to exempt you from the two-year physical presence requirement in your country of origin.
How to Apply for a J1 visa Waiver con USCIS?
To request a waiver, you must submit Form I-612 to USCIS. This form is submitted along with all the evidence that supports the reason why you are unable to return to your country of origin and complete the preliminary agreement to return to your country of origin for two years. Every situation is different and you must offer your specific reasons for not meeting this requirement to the satisfaction of the US government. If your waiver request is accepted by USCIS, they will forward your waiver to the Department of State to consult the case.
Once your case is received by the Department of State in the waivers division, a case number will be assigned to you. You can then start this part of the process by submitting the DS-3035 along with the supporting documents required by the form and the application fee. Please note that you can only apply for the exemption if you qualify under the following categories:
- No Objection: A candidate’s home country’s government may have no objection to returning under the mandatory requirement;
- Persecution: An applicant believes that they are under threat of persecution if they return to their home country;
- Interest: When a Federal Government Agency requests your presence for their interests. A state public health department may also request the may show similar interest, making you eligible for a waiver;
- Hardship: If your dependents are US citizens and your return home will cause them undue hardship.
We highly recommend seeking the help of an immigration lawyer to analyze your specific situation. At Terra Immigration, we have helped individuals from all over the world receive their visas and green cards. It is important that you work with a professional that can give you an honest assessment. As well as help you achieve your objectives. If you have any questions, you can speak to Attorney Ileana Rivera or Ingrid Perez. Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 407-818-1244.