Foreign Residence Requirement Lawyers
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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 another visa. Exchange visitors who obtain a J-1 Visa are only permitted to 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 their home 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 that they obtained during their stay in the United States. This may require them to remain in their home country for two years before they can apply for any additional 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; or
- The Bureau of Consular Affairs has designated your country as requiring your skills.
Can I Apply for a Waiver?
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 an American government agency's request for a waiver for you which usually happens if you are engaged in a project of interest to that agency;
- You are sponsored by a state in the United States 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; or
- 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). In order to properly file the form, you must send the completed form by mail to the USCIS office serving your area. Make sure to submit the required documents, photos, and fees. You can obtain the form by calling 1-800-870-3676 or by requesting a form through the mail. If someone else, such as a 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 will be able to lead you through the process. Additionally, a lawyer will be able to inform you of your rights and responsibilities with relation to immigration and what you must and must not do. If you would like more advice, you may also wish to contact the nearest USCIS office.
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Last Modified: 05-20-2014 04:05 PM PDT
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