Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Agonizing Journey Toward Immigration Part 2

J-1 Waiver- J-1 签证豁免

I'm a citizen of the PRC- People's Republic of China, and entered U.S. with a J-1 visa as a student. I thought it was just one of the many kinds of student visa that gets me here to study, and never! never have I heard of a "2-year foreign residence requirement." That apparently comes with it. If I tell you all about how and where and how long it took me to figure this out, that will probably take up too much of a disk space and they'll have to shut my blog, but here is what you need to know.
  • Find out if the 2-year rule really applies to you. (1) Check your visa and see if you can find: 212 (E) TWO YEAR RULE APPLIES. If you don't have it printed on your visa, even if you are a J-1, the 2-year rule has nothing to do with you. (2) If you do have it, you may still not subject to it, and there's a way to find out. It's called the advisory opinion. I will talk about it in depth in another post.
  • How much time do you have to get the waiver? On your I-94, which is the little piece of paper that got attached onto your passport, or a J-1 admission stamp in your passport (no card), depending on when you travel to the U.S. and where you arrive. The admission stamp or I-94 care record the date of your entering the country, your immigration status (for example, J-1 or J-2), and authorized period of stay (indicated by "D/S", meaning duration of status). You can basically work on your waiver as long as it takes if you don't have an exact date on it. But you should always try to get it done as soon as possible. 
  • Depending on the basis for which you request a waiver of the two-year rule, you will need to have supporting documents sent to the Waiver Review Division by others as applicable.
  • Most of the people I know, including me have applied for the No Objection Statement from home country's government, so I have most of the information you need on how to obtain a No Objection Statement. For other waiver basis, I'm sure there's other resources you can find.
Step 1 - Complete the online J Visa Waiver Recommendation Application

J Visa Waiver Online is where you complete an online application for a J-1 waiver recommendation. You will need to frequently come back to this site to check your status. Once you have completed the application, you will print it out and mail it.

Step 2 - Mail your Waiver Application and Fee Payment

Make sure that you keep the last page for your record, which includes your case number.

 Here's a copy of my packet assembly checklist for the waiver, if you are also applying for the no objection waiver, you should get the same kind of document at the end of your online application. As you mail out your application, make sure you have all the required document for packet 1 which is to be sent to the Department of State.You'll also need to send a packet to your Embassy, with the Third Party Barcode Page, which also comes with the online application, make sure you follow the detailed instructions on that page.

Step 3 - Submit supporting Documents
No Objection StatementYour home country’s government must issue a No Objection Statement through its Embassy in Washington, DC that it has no objection to you not returning to your home country to satisfy the two-year home-country physical presence requirement and no objection to the possibility of you becoming a U.S. lawful permanent resident. The No Objection Statement must be sent directly to the Waiver Review Division. (Note: The No Objection Statement cannot be provided to you, the waiver applicant, to submit to the Waiver Review Division.) You must contact the consular section of your home country’s embassy in Washington, DC to make this request. The No Objection Statement may alternatively be issued by a designated ministry in your home government and sent to the U.S. Chief of Mission, Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy within that country. The U.S. Embassy would then forward it directly to the Waiver Review Division.Note:  U.S. law does not permit foreign medical physicians who acquired J-1 status on or after January 10, 1977, for the purpose of receiving graduate medical education or training to request waivers under this basis.

I will have another post for Chinese students with the details of receiving the No Objection Statement. 

Step 4 - Check your Waiver Request Status and Update your Contact Information.

Go to the J Visa Waiver Online webpage and selecting "Check the status." After you have entered your case number, the system will indicate if your application, fee payment, and No objection Statement have been received.

Step 5 - If the Waiver Review Division Needs More Information from You

They will contact you using the contact information you provided on your online DS-3035.

Step 6 - Wait, and wait some more...

The processing time does NOT begin till the Department of State get your No Objection Statement from your Embassy. Once it's received, Department of State send a recommendation to the USCIS, and you will receive a copy of that recommendation. USCIS is the final waiver authority, and most likely will issue you your waiver once you have a favorable waiver recommendation from the Department of State. The usual processing time for No Objection Statement is 6 to 8 weeks. If you are lucky, you may get it sooner.

Good luck! 

1 comment:

  1. Dear Yingzi~ I have a question, did you finish with waiver application before you left Hawaii? I am aware that there is a condition for waiver application - one needs to apply at least six months before one's visa expires. I am running short on time but I'm not sure if that's an absolute.