Margaret W. Wong & Associates - Immigration Lawyers
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Success Stories: J-1 Waiver

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Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC is a full-service immigration law practice that provides legal advice and representation to people and companies in the United States. The firm has over 200 years of combined legal experience among its attorneys and serves its clients from offices in Cleveland, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville, Columbus, Minneapolis, and Raleigh. Contact us here to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs. 

jordanian Cardiologist's J-1 Gets Residency Requirement Waived Due to Work in Under-Served Region

A Jordanian alien on a J-1 visa who is a foreign trained physician in cardiology was being sponsored by an employer in the Louisiana Delta region of the US. Our office was retained to work on this complex matter to get the two year home residency rule waived under his J-1, permitting him to participate in the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) Delta Doctors program for foreign born. Because this alien will work in a medically under-served area in Louisiana (the Delta region is economically depressed), he can be granted a J-1 waiver, then subsequently an H-1B. We filed the DRA waiver on May 11, 2017. It was approved June 23, 2017 and gets sent to the US Dept of State and after that the I-612 will be approved and H-1B will be done. The alien's work will be well received for the indigent patients of the area. 

Adjustment of Status Approved for J-1 Visa Holder with no I-612 Waiver Approval

Young Mr. Z, of China, entered the U.S. as a J-1 (Exchange Visitor non-immigrant visa) high school student. His visa stated clearly that he was “subject to 212(e),” meaning that he was required to return home to China for two years upon completion of his studies.

But life had other plans, and Mr. Z married his high school sweetheart, a U.S. citizen. The two were concerned about Mr. Z’s old J visa. What would happen to their young relationship if Mr. Z had to return to China? The couple came to the New York office of Margaret Wong and Associates for assistance.

Fortunately, one of our attorneys noticed something odd about Mr. Z’s J-1 visa. Even though the visa in the passport stated that Mr. Z was 212(e)-subject, nothing else indicated that he should be! The DS-2019 issued by his school didn’t say whether he was subject or not. And according to paperwork, Mr. Z paid all of his school fees through family funds. He neither accepted money from a government source, nor did he learn any specialized skill listed on China's and the Department of State’s Exchange Visitor’s Skills List. Could it be possible that a mistake was made at the consulate in Guangzhou?

We wrote to the Department of State for a special “Advisory Opinion Letter.” To our delight, the DOS wrote back stating that they felt Mr. Z should NOT be required to return home for two years! This is completely different from obtaining a waiver of the J visa’s home residency requirement – instead, Margaret Wong and Associates proved that the requirement never existed in the first place, regardless of what Mr. Z’s visa said.

Just last week Mr. Z and his wife attended their Green Card interview in New York. Attorney Joseph Fungsang attended with them. Mr. Z’s Green Card was approved on the spot, and the couple is overjoyed to be relieved of the stress of Mr. Z’s immigration status, especially since they just became the proud parents of newborn twins!

J-1 Waiver for Mexican Doctor Based on Hardship

Dr. Q of Mexico has spent nearly his entire life in the U.S. He came here as a small child and has rarely visited his country of birth. However, he and his family were not permanent residents. In order to remain in a lawful status, Dr. Q had attending college as an F-1 student. In order to attend medical school, he accepted a J-1 visa.

When he came to the Law Office of Margaret Wong and Associates, he admitted that he hadn’t fully understood the implications of a J-1 visa. Now that he was married to a U.S. citizen (who was also a doctor) and nearing the end of his medical residency, he realized that under Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act he was required to go home to Mexico before pursuing his green card through his marriage to his U.S. citizen wife. In consultation with Dr. Q, we found that his wife was just beginning her own medical career, and that she had struggled with health conditions that were exacerbated by stress. She also had elderly parents who relied on her presence here in the U.S. She was also fearful of living in Mexico, which had been reporting heavy drug-trade violence and kidnappings. She did not speak Spanish, and a move would be a serious disruption to her budding medical career.

Based on these and other hardships Dr. Q’s wife would experience if he were required to return to Mexico without her for two years or, in the alternative, if she were to move to Mexico with him, Atty. Rebecca Tseng in our Los Angeles prepared a careful I-612 Application to File Foreign Residence Requirements. The application was filed in January and approved cleanly in June of 2015, with no requests for further evidence from the USCIS.

Dr. Q is now free to pursue his Green Card through marriage with his citizen spouse.

Cardiology Researcher, Chinese National, Stays in US, Married with Child

Mrs. P came from China to the USA on a J1 visa to further her studies on the relationship of heart disease to Lipoprotein sub-groups. She needed to learn new techniques in her field and then return home, to her relatives, friends and university job in China. She never expected to fall in love or even get married to a foreigner (non-Chinese person). Her J1 visa required her to go back to China for 2 years before returning to the USA. Since her husband was in the middle of his doctoral studies, he would have had to abandon his research to join his wife.

Ms. Wong was able to get a J1 wavier for Mrs. P. Ms. Wong’s office was very professional and kept our clients up-to-date on the case with the immigration department. Ms. Wong also prepared the couple for the immigration interview, which went well. Ms. Wong made a hard, and at times impossible, process go smoothly. Our client’s husband was able to continue with his studies, and Mrs. P was able to stay. They now have a lovely and happy daughter.

Pediatrician Awarded J Waiver Under Conrad 30 Program

Dr. J, a pediatrician from India, came to the U.S. with a J-1 visa. This type of visa allows medical students to study in the U.S., with the requirement that they return to their home country for at least two years after completion of studies. The idea is that the home country should have the benefit of the education the visa holder received in the U.S.

Dr. J, however, had a job offer from a medical facility in an underserved area of the U.S. Medically underserved areas are those that have trouble finding enough doctors to service the population. In order to attract and retain qualified doctors like Dr. J, the U.S. offers a waiver of the J-1 two-year home residence requirement (aka a “J waiver”). This program, called the Conrad 30 Program, was introduced by Senator Kent Conrad (ND) in 1994 and currently allows each state’s Department of Health to sponsor up to 30 doctors each year for waivers (hence the name of the program). Doctors accepted to the program must work in the underserved area in H-1B status for a minimum of three years, after which they are released from their 2-year home residence requirement.

In March of 2014 our office filed the appropriate paperwork with the state Department of Health, the Department of State and the USCIS to obtain the J waiver. It was successfully approved – – Dr. J’s H-1B was filed in August and approved in October of 2014. Dr. J is now practicing medicine under the Conrad 30 Program, helping children and families who might not otherwise have access to a qualified physician.

J-1 Passes Away, but J-2 still Gets Waiver

Our Peruvian client came to USA under a J-2 visa, as a daughter of a J-1 (exchange) visa holder. The father, a university teacher, died later and the family continued to live in USA for some time. She got engaged to a US Citizen and got married in March 2006 and therefore wanted to stay in the country. Due to her status as J-2, she was subject to the J-1’s original obligation of having to return to their country for at least two years, and she needed to waive that before trying any other petition to stay.

We filed a Waiver (I-612) in September 2006 and it was granted two months later so she became exempt of the two-year residence in Peru requirement. In mid 2007 we simultaneously filed I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), I-485 (Adjustment to Permanent Resident) and I-765 (Working authorization). She had her fingerprints taken in October 2007 and received her working authorization (I-765) the last day of year 2007. She and her husband had their interview on February 21 2008. In less than a month after that, her I-130 and I-485 petitions were approved and our client received her green card.

Russian J-1 waiver

Russian client’s J-1 hardship waiver application was filed but denied. We filed appeal, which was approved. Our office persistently followed up with DOS and finally won the waiver.

I-612 J-1 waiver approved

We recently received another J-1 hardship waiver for an Israeli client. We commenced this case by sending out forms and fees to DOS and Vermont Service Center in March 2006. DOS issued recommendation for waiver in due time and VSC sent out I-612 approval in March 2007.

J-1 for Canadian Client Allows Immersion into American Work Force

A Chinese born Canadian citizen here on a TN visa hired us to file for his J-1 waiver. His first US entry was on a J-1 and he was subject to the two year home residency requirement based on his program. We filed to waive the two year home residency requirement based on the exceptional hardship that his US citizen son will suffer if the applicant had to return home for two years. We filed the waiver to USCIS on November 13, 2009. USCIS and DOS worked to recommend and grant the I-612 which occurred on April 19. 2010. The alien is extremely happy with our diligence and thorough work. He is now able to have his employer file for an H-1B for him and subsequent I-140 and green card applications.

J-1 Waiver Granted Through Quick Connection With Client

Ms. C came from Mauritius on a J visa and wanted to pursue permanent residency upon completion of the program. We chose the alternative of getting no objection letter from her government. After the J-1 waiver request was filed with DOS, our client returned home briefly. While she was in her home country, we received Request for Evidence. We immediately contacted our client and asked her to contact her government and her embassy in Washington. In December 2006 we received DOS confirmation that they received the letter and we kept pushing the case until in March 2007 DOS recommended that the waiver be granted to our client.

J-1 Visa Recommended for Hardship of Wife

Client entered on a J-1 visa as a medical resident. Our firm was retained on December 2005 to file a J-1 waiver due to hardship to her LPR husband and USC children should she return to India, her home country, to fulfill the 2 year residency requirement. On February 7, 2007, the waiver was recommended by the Department of State.

J-1 Approved for Client Under Voluntary Deportation Status

Our client was under Voluntary Departure status since January, 1993 when she retained our office. Married to a United States Citizen so we filed I-130 on January 24, 1994 and it was approved by LN on February 28, 1994. She must have left the country and re-entered US on April 7, 1993 with visitor’s visa. She could not adjust because she must have been under J-1 status at some point in time. No objection J-1 waiver denial recommendation was issued on 12/3/01. Between 12/01 to 8/03, our office must have either filed MTR on the no objection denial or J-1 waiver based on hardship. On 7/6/04, J-1 waiver was approved. We filed I-485/765 in 6/05 and PR approved on 3/6/06.

Client Trying to Continue Fellowship Gets Necessary Extension

Our office was retained to assist our client in continuing his fellowship program. His permission to remain in the US ended on June 30, 2005. He was not being permitted to continue his program because he had previously been granted a waiver of the two year home residency requirement that is applicable to J-1 physicians. Although he never complied with the waiver since he did not start with the contracting employer, he was ineligible to receive a new DS-2019 to continue his fellowship due to the grant of his waiver. Before he retained our office, he had tried unsuccessfully to have the waiver revoked for almost one year. Despite his repeated requests, he was not permitted to withdraw his previously granted waiver.

As June 30, 2005 approached, our office determined that the only possibility that our client had to continue his fellowship would be to file a writ of mandamus in the United States District Court asking the Court to compel CIS to allow our client to withdraw his waiver. Our client would be forced to depart the United States on July 31, 2005 if his waiver was not revoked (there is a 30 day grace period for those who are on J-1 visas once their authorized stay in their program expires. We filed a Writ of Mandamus and a Motion for an Emergency Hearing with the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The Court granted the request for an emergency hearing. Approximately ten minutes after the hearing was supposed to begin, the parties received a fax from US CIS stating that our client would be permitted to withdraw his previously granted waiver. This allowed him to begin his fellowship.

J-1 Waiver Approved in Two Months!

The client retained our office for filing a J-1 Hardship Waiver based on his U.S. citizen children. As a physician specializing in dermatopathology, the client worked for a private medical practice. We quickly prepared and sent out the J-1 application by March 11, 2005. Because the process usually takes over a year to review such applications, we were pleased to receive a notice of approval from the State Department on May 23, 2005. The review process had taken barely more than two months.

Push by Firm Concludes in Court Re-Evaluating its Decision, J-1; Naturalization Approved

Our client filed a naturalization application with US CIS, The application was denied because CIS believed that our client had not fulfilled his 2 year foreign residency requirement as he came to the US on a J-1. CIS also contended that he lacked good moral character, We filed an appeal of the decision (N-336) which was also denied. We then filed a petition for review of the naturalization denial with the United States District Court. After filing the petition with the District Court, CIS reconsidered its decision and granted our client’s application for naturalization.

Five J-1 Waivers Approved at Once

Our office has received approvals for four Ohio State J1 and one Nevada State Waiver for physicians. These petitions were filed between February and April 2000. Each petition was approved on June 22, 2000. Nevada does not have any remaining slots, but Ohio still has waiver numbers available.