Waiver of Two Year Foreign Residency Requirement (I-612 Waiver) for J-1 Visa Holder
May 5th, 2021
We would like to share the story of one of our clients who we helped obtain a waiver in a complex immigration process.
Danny was born in the Philippines. During his secondary studies in his country, at which he excelled, he caught the attention of his teachers and peers. When he graduated high school, he began working with the government, and was offered the opportunity to come to the United States as an exchange student to attend Harvard University with all costs paid by his government.
Danny entered the United States in the early eighties as a J-1 exchange student and began his studies at Harvard University. During his third year in Harvard, he learned that his mother back in the Philippines passed away. He decided to stay in the United States because he could not bear the thought of returning to the Philippines and not seeing his mother there.
He remained in the United States past the expiration date of his J-1 status, and built a new life. In 2010 he met Paul and they immediately fell in love. They began a relationship and eventually moved in together. Later, they got married once same sex marriage was federally recognized in the United States.
Paul’s plan was to file a petition for Danny to become a lawful permanent resident as the spouse of a US citizen. Unfortunately, because Danny entered the United States as an Exchange Student on a J-1 visa and the Philippine government had paid for the education program, Danny was required to leave the United States and remain in the Philippines for two years before being eligible for a Green Card in the United States.
With the help of the Boston immigration lawyers at Fitzgerald Law Company, Danny and Paul learned that they could request a waiver of the two year foreign residence requirement. One of the grounds to obtain such a waiver is by showing that a US Citizen would suffer extreme hardship if their spouse is required to spend two years abroad. With the help and advise of the Boston attorneys at FitzGerald Law Company, they argued that the government and the society of the Philippines was hostile to same-sex couples, to the point that same sex marriages are not even recognized there. That meant that Paul could not accompany Danny to the Philippines because he would not been seen as Danny’s legal spouse. The immigration attorneys supported their allegations with evidence showing that a two year separation would be devastating for Paul due to his dependence on Danny.
The immigration attorneys at FitzGerald Law Company submitted the waiver request to the Department of Homeland Security and sought an advisory opinion from the Department of State. The Department of State issued a recommendation for approval of the waiver, and the Department of Homeland Security issued the waiver.
Now Danny and Paul can remain together in the United States and continue to pursue their dreams as a family.
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