J- 1 Waiver Persecution

J-1 visa holders are all subject to the two-year foreign residency requirement. The two-year foreign residency requirement requires the visa holder to reside in his or her home country for a minimum of two years when the J-1 visa has expired. This must be conducted before the holder is eligible to return to the United States. However, the two-year requirement is capable of being waived if the holder is categorized under the J-1 Waiver Persecution category.

J-1 Waiver Persecution Requirements:

Demonstrating a case for Fear of Persecution is somewhat similar to demonstrating a case for asylum, however, some professionals believe it’s more difficult to prove persecution.

  • The Persecution category is a probable option if the applicant feels that he/she will be oppressed based on the applicant’s race, religion, or political beliefs. Other factors may include economic hardship, medical, social, psychological, etc. Due to the subjective nature of these cases, it’s important to look at the case from two angles. The first angle being the effect on the qualifying family members should the J-1 visa holder be forced to return to their home country. The second facet to consider is how the family member(s) would be affected should they have to leave the U.S. with the visa holder.

  • Prosecution/oppression must occur from the home country’s government or a rebel group that the government is unable to control.

  • The applicant is obligated to provide evidence of probable persecution.

J-1 Waiver Persecution Application Process:

Step 1: Complete Forms

Biographical Documentation

  • Copy of biographical passport page (page that contains picture I.D. and personal information)
  • Copy of U.S. Visa I.D. Page (if applicable)
  • Copy of I-94 Arrival/Departure Record (if applicable)
  • Copy of form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status
  • Copy of birth certificate and translated version

Evidence in Support of Persecution Claims

  • Written statement detailing the circumstances arising from your persecution claim if you were to return to your country to fulfill the two-year rule.
  • Medical reports and evaluations from healthcare professionals.
  • Pictures and detailed affidavits from applicant, close friends, and family – establishing that applicant has suffered harm
  • Police reports – indicating applicant’s involvement
  • Government established documents – establishing the applicant’s ethnicity, religion, nationality
  • Proof of applicant’s party or group membership or affiliations
  • Proof of attempts to obtain documents
  • Form G-28 or letter from a law office, if you designated an attorney to represent you
  • File Form I-612 (Application for Waiver for the Foreign Residence Requirement) directly to the USCIS.

Step 2: Mail Petition

  • Mail both the waiver application with the bar code, nonrefundable fee payment, and supporting documents to one of the following addresses:

Via postal service:

Department of State J-1 Waiver
P.O. Box 979037
St. Louis, MO 63197-9000

Via courier service to:

Department of State J-1 Waiver
P.O. Box 979037
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101-1200

  • Mail form I-612 directly to USCIS at one of the following addresses:

Via US Postal Service to:

USCIS California Service Center
I-612 Unit P.O. Box 30112
Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-0112

Via courier service to:

USCIS California Service Center
24000 Avila Road
2nd floor, room 2312
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

The U.S. Department of State Waiver Application has the option of either being filed before the applicant submits the I-612 form to the USCIS or after the USCIS has given its decision. Though it’s important to note that if the applicant submits the Waiver Application to the Department of State prior to the submission of the I-612, the Department of State will not refund the fee even if the USCIS does not find a case of persecution.

Step 3: Forward Supporting Documents

  • It is your responsibility to ensure that supporting documents are forwarded to Waiver Review Division on your behalf by the USCIS and mailed to:

Waiver Review Division
U.S. Department of State
CA/VO/DO/W
SA-17, Floor 11
Washington, DC 20522-1711

Step 4: Check Status

  • After submitting the application and ensuring that supporting documents were forwarded, you can then check your application status to confirm that your fee payment, application, and supporting documents has been received.

Step 5: Final Decision

  • Estimated processing time: three to four months with exceptions depending on the case.
  • When the Waiver Review Division completes the waiver recommendation review process under the Persecution category, they’ll forward their favorable or unfavorable recommendation to USCIS. The applicant will also receive a copy of the recommendation to the address listed on the online form DS-3035.
  • If the USCIS finds that the applicant is liable to persecution, the USCIS will notify the applicant of approval or denial at the listed address.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I allowed to submit a waiver that is on the grounds of both fear of persecution and exceptional hardship?

No, it’s not advised to combine these two waivers.

Am I allowed to appeal the denial of my waiver based on fear of persecution?

The USCIS does accept appeals for denials on the basis of J-1 waiver persecution.

Is it advised for Form I-612 to be submitted prior to Form DS-3035?

You can either file them simultaneously or file DS-3035 after receiving approval for I-612. If you submit the Waiver Application to the Department of State prior to the submission of the I-612, the Department of State will not refund the fee even if the USCIS does not find a case of persecution.

How Our Immigration Lawyers Can Help:

At SGM Law Group, our immigration attorneys are highly knowledgeable on J-1 Waiver Persecution cases. Our lawyers understand the necessary documentation and government forms required for a successful petition. If the applicant experiences a case denial, our immigration attorneys have the resources and experience to assist with a persecution reconsideration.

Our J-1 visa lawyers are capable of providing legal representation for complex and difficult circumstances. We understand that the J-1 Waiver Persecution process can be challenging, but our lawyers have an in-depth comprehension of the required procedures in order to avoid potential delays.

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