People who enter the US on a J-1 visa are generally not allowed to extend their stay in the US after the completion of their J-1 waiver status. Instead, they are expected to return to their home countries for at least two years. The US offers five major bases upon which you can apply for a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement.
Who Needs to File Form I-612?
You need to file USCIS Form I-612 if you, having lived in the US on a J-1 visa, seek a waiver based on (i) legitimate fear of persecution if you return home or (ii) exceptional hardship to your US citizen spouse or child.
Form I-612 is also required for waiver applicants who are spouses of J-1 visa holders (in J-2 status) who are no longer married to the J-1 spouse at the time of the waiver application; or children of the J-1 or J-2 visa holder who are themselves married or who are over 21 years of age. As with the J-1 waiver application, Form I-612 is only needed if the basis for the waiver is fear of persecution or exceptional hardship (to the J-2 applicant, not the J-1 visa holder).
J-2 spouses who are still married to the J-1 holder, and unmarried children of the J-1 holder who are under 21 need not file Form I-612, as long as you file Form I-612 and include their names and information in your application. If you fail to do so, they will have to file their own Form I-612 to remain with you in the US.
The filing fee for Form I-612 is $930, and it is non-refundable even if the application is rejected. This amount does not include the filing fee for Form DS-3035 ($215).
Specific Instructions for Form I-612
Although you may either type or print the application, you must use black type, and all entries must be legible. Do not leave any item blank — write “N/A” (not applicable) if a question doesn’t apply to you. If you need to add extra pages, print your name and Alien Registration Number (A-number) on each additional sheet, sign and date each sheet, and make it clear to which part of the application your response refers.
Print your USCIS Online Account Number (if you have one) and your A-number in the spaces provided. Thie USCIS Online Account Number is not the same as your A-number. Make sure your mailing address is accurate, and make sure you notify the USCIS if it changes, because this is the address where the USCIS will send you mail.
You must identify the reason why you believe you are subject to the two-year home residency requirement. Optimistically, it is possible that you are not even subject to this requirement.
Part 3 requires you to identify your basis for seeking a J-1 waiver (fear of persecution or exceptional hardship). You will need to explain in detail why you believe that you are eligible for a waiver on this basis, and you must include any available evidence with your application. Remember, you don’t need to file Form I-612 if you are applying for a waiver on some other basis (a no objection statement, a request by an IGO or a Conrad Waiver).
In Part 4, you must include information about your spouse and children, if you want your J-1 waiver to apply to them as well. If you are claiming exceptional hardship as the basis for your waiver request, it is particularly important that you provide citizenship or permanent residency information about your spouse and children.
You must sign and date Form i-612 yourself (even if someone else prepared it for you), except that a parent or legal guardian can sign on behalf of a minor child. You must also provide accurate contact details.If an interpreter helped you complete the application, the interpreter must sign the form as well and provide identification and contact details.
Supporting Documents for Form I-612
Depending on your circumstances and the specific basis upon which you are applying for a J-1 waiver, you may need to include the following evidentiary documents:
Your I-94 Arrival/Departure record, as well as your spouse’s I-94 if he or she is not a US citizen or permanent resident;
Your marriage certificate;
Evidence of termination of any previous marriages that either you or your spouse entered into;
Your spouse and childrens’ birth certificates;
Other evidence of birth if a birth certificate is unavailable;
Naturalization certificates or evidence of lawful permanent residency for your spouse and children, especially if you are claiming exceptional hardship;
If you are claiming exceptional hardship, you should include detailed financial information about the income and savings of you and your spouse.
Proof of all entries and exits to and from the US by you, your spouse and your children;
Copies of Forms DS-2019/IAP-66, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, for you and your spouse (if applicable);
Any evidence that your fear or persecution is legitimate, if you are using this as the basis of your waiver request;
Any evidence of exceptional hardship, if you are using this a the basis for your waiver request;
Other documentation, depending on your circumstances.
You will need to send Form I-612 to the USCIS, not the US State Department where you send the rest of your application. File Form I-612 either (i) after you file your J-1 waiver application with the State Department Waiver Review Division, or (ii) before you file your J-1 waiver application, in which case you must wait for the USCIS to approve Form I-612 before you can file your J-1 waiver application.
Save a copy of Form I-612 and all supporting documents for your own records. You might need them later.