Foreign Residence Requirement Lawyers
What is the Foreign Residence Requirement?
Under the foreign residence requirement, an exchange visitor must return to their home country (after their stay in the U.S.) and remain there for two years before they can apply for a visa. Exchange visitors who obtain a J-1 Visa only temporarily enter the United States for a specific purpose.
What is the Purpose of the Requirement?
For exchange visitors, the specific purpose of their temporary visa is to promote relations and mutual understanding between the U.S. and foreign countries through exchange programs. These visitors may be subject to the requirement that they return to their home countries to share the knowledge and experience they obtained during their stay in the U.S. This may require them to remain in their home country for two years before they can apply for any visa, permanent residence, or change to a different nonimmigrant status.
Who Must Comply with the Requirement?
If you are an exchange visitor in the Exchange Visitor Program, you should be aware that you may be subject to the foreign residence requirement if:
- You came to the U.S. on or after January 10, 1977 for medical education or training
- A portion of your participation in the exchange program was paid for by your government or the U.S. government
- The Bureau of Consular Affairs has designated your country as requiring your skills
Can I Apply for a Waiver?
Yes, you may be able to waive the foreign residence requirement if:
- Your spouse or child is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
- The Bureau of Consular Affairs receives a U.S. government agency's request for a waiver for you (i.e. you are engaged in a project of interest to that agency)
- You are sponsored by a state in the U.S. to work as a doctor in an area of the state where there is a shortage of doctors
- Your home country does not object to the waiver
- Returning to your home country is not an option because you would be subject to persecution on account of your race, religion or political opinion
How Can I Apply for a Waiver?
You should file USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) Form I-612 (Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement). Send the completed form by mail to the USCIS office serving your area. Make sure to submit the documents, photos, and fees that are asked of you. You can obtain the form by calling 1-800-870-3676 or by requesting a form through the mail. If someone else (i.e. government agency or state) is requesting the waiver for you, make sure that they contact the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Do I Need an Experienced Immigration Lawyer?
An experienced lawyer would be able to lead you through the process. A lawyer would be able to inform you of your rights and responsibilities and what you must do. If you would like more advice, you may also wish to contact the nearest USCIS office.
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Last Modified: 12-16-2011 04:11 PM PST
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