2-year HRR and Marriage to a US Citizen: Take a Stand!

Discussion in 'J-1 Home Residency Requirement' started by TakeAStand, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. TakeAStand

    TakeAStand New Member

    Hi, all! I'm brand new to the Forum, and I'm so excited to share stories with others who are facing similar situations!

    I am a US citizen who just completed my PhD. My husband is a Fulbright scholar who is also about to complete his PhD. At the beginning of our doctoral programs, we met, began dating, and eventually got engaged. We have been married now for just under a year, and we're excited to finally be free of graduate school and truly beginning our life together.

    Unfortunately, like many other academic couples, we're currently facing the roadblock of Section 212e of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. According to this subsection of the Act, as I'm sure you're all aware (otherwise why would you be reading this forum?), J-visa holders are forced to return to their home country for a two-year residency, unless they obtain a waiver of the requirement. Like so many other facets of the U.S. bureaucratic nightmare, this waiver process is fundamentally flawed, and it regularly takes many, many months of waiting to receive a response (which all too frequently is a denial, even after obtaining the No Objection statement from the home country). My husband has currently been waiting 6+ months for the Department of State to obtain "sponsor views" (although the Fulbright Commission in his home country has repeatedly told him that they have received no request from the Department of State regarding this issue), and, despite repeated phone calls, has been given no answers from the people on the "help"line (the most ironic name possible for this entity). Instead, the poorly trained individuals on this "help"line (of course trained to do nothing except read verbatim from the computer screen in front of them) tell him that they're still waiting on sponsor views and become increasingly hostile (even to the point of simply hanging up) if he dares to ask who these mysterious sponsors might be or if they have any idea of the remaining time frame. I realize that the process takes time and that we're merely a file folder to them, but that file folder represents two lives which have been placed completely on hold while we wait for their decision. I was fortunate to obtain a post-doctoral position at a prestigious Ivy League institution right out of grad school, and I am unsure of even how long I can commit to this position, as my husband may have to leave the country. This forces me to make an impossible decision: the career I've worked for my entire life or keeping my small family together by remaining rightfully with my spouse. I feel like I'm being forced out of my own country against my will, and I'm willing to bet that I'm not the only one facing such an issue.

    Given that President Obama has lately been giving so much attention to the problem of expending time and resources to train foreign-born academics, only to force them to return to their own country to compete against the U.S., now is the time to bring the injustice of section 212e of the Immigration and Naturalization Act to the forefront. This is especially true when this subsection is applied to the spouse of a US citizen - how can marriage to a US citizen grant a green card to someone who committed the crime of immigrating to the US illegally, yet not be enough to grant a green card to a PhD holding Fulbright scholar? This is ludicrous and illogical and MUST be changed. Therefore, we are fortunate that our local Senator is at least willing to entertain the possibility of fighting to change this subsection of the Act. His office has asked us to compile as many stories as possible of academic couples affected by this rule.

    Thus, I am pleading that if you (or someone you know) are (is) a US citizen (or the foreign born spouse of a US citizen) and are (is) affected by the 2-yr home residency rule, you will share that story here. Please- help me to know that I'm not alone in this and help take a stand to fight for this much-needed change. Identities may of course be withheld to protect anonymity. Thank you so much in advance!
    Amelie likes this.
  2. takingit

    takingit New Member

    Same situation here. I just sent you a PM to try and work on this together. Let's see if there are others out there.
  3. barnone

    barnone New Member

    I face the same situation - just sent a PM to both of you. Hopefully I can be of help. Thank you for getting this thread started!
  4. Beli

    Beli Registered Users (C)

    Just discovered this thread. My husband and I face the same situation. Please let me know if you are still collecting information/stories.
  5. nadarima

    nadarima New Member

    Worse situation

    I am in a worse situation. My husband is US citizen. After I finished my Fulbright program I was able to work for a year in the US, then had no choice but to leave. we moved to London UK because the nature of his job doesn't exist in my country. Now he has to leave the UK for work considerations and return to the US, and I cannot go back with him to US. As you mentioned it's very unfair that a Fulbright is not even offered the option to pay back the grant money, while an illegal immigrant gets to stay without any problem if married to a US citizen!!!!!!

  6. moonlightzone

    moonlightzone New Member

    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2012
  7. fresiaestrella

    fresiaestrella New Member

    Take a stand: is this still valid?

    I am interested to know whether this resulted in something concrete, and what can still be done to take a stand.
  8. TakeAStand

    TakeAStand New Member


    Hi all,

    Sorry that I never updated what happened in our story. Shortly after my original post, my husband received the denial of the No Objection waiver, even though we had the statement from his home government, and I needed to step away from the situation to allow myself to grieve for a bit. We've been continuing to talk to our Senator, but nothing has come of it so far. Barring a miracle, my husband will be leaving shortly to commence his two year "prison sentence." I think that those of us affected by this unethical rule need to be louder and need to figure out a way to have our voices heard. Maybe we should use this as a forum to gather our stories and the stories we know. I know someone who has ties the the Huffington Post that might be able to get some publicity for our situation.
  9. mercier

    mercier Registered Users (C)

    I have heard that the two year waiver thing is a very difficult claim to achieve. Most people get rid of the two year requirement by going home and spending at least three-six, or more months per year back in their home countries to get rid of it.
  10. Saikat Mitra

    Saikat Mitra New Member

    Are you guys still active on this forum? I have the same situation and finishing my 2 year now. Will be really grateful if any of you can answer this: My wife has approved I-130 for me and I am getting close to finish my 2 years. Now, DO I have to wait for the 2 years to be over to even apply/file the DS 230/DS 260 ? or, As it takes at least 2 months for the Visa Interview date upon filing DS 260; can I file DS 260 and other documents (applying I mean) 2 months ahead of my 2 year? Please answer if you can, or suggest me to someone who might be able to answer this.
  11. RaoIA

    RaoIA New Member

    Hi all,
    I have a question, did you all apply by yourself or through a lawyer ? I am going to apply for the waiver in a couple of months. Any advice will be appreciated.
  12. acir

    acir New Member

    I would highly recommend you use the services of a l awyer
  13. H Lam

    H Lam New Member

    Just wondering if there were any advice that anyone can share on getting a possible waiver of the 2 year rule. My wife will be finishing her Phd in a year and a half and we will also have to undergo the same dilemma. Hoping that the government has come to its senses since the last post on this topic.
  14. Britsimon

    Britsimon Super Moderator

    Imigration law is slow to change, so it is doubtful the government has "come to its senses".

    I am curious though. Is the 2 year home residency requirement not we'll explained?

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