J1 Waiver Based on Fear of Persecution
Fear of being persecuted in your home country
J1 Visa holders are generally subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement (foreign residence requirement, also known as the foreign residence requirement under U.S. law, Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(e)). This means that after completion of the period covered by your J1 Visa you have to go back to your home country for two years prior to changing status in the U.S. or obtaining your lawful permanent residence (green card). In our other J1 waiver articles and blog posts, we discussed whether the two year foreign residence requirement applies to you, the five bases in the U.S. immigration law for seeking a waiver of the foreign residence requirement, and hardship waivers at length. If you still have any questions or concerns about any of those topics or about immigration generally, we encourage you to contact us at (916) 613-3553. Now, we shift our attention to requesting a waiver of the foreign residence requirement based on your fear of persecution if you had to return to your home country.
Fear being persecuted based on your race, religion, or political opinion
If you fear being persecuted based on your race, religion, or political opinion if you return to your home country, you may apply for a persecution waiver. This type of waiver is similar but not the same as asylum (asylum can also be requested on the basis of nationality or membership in a particular social group). Let’s take a look at some scenarios covering all three bases for a J waiver based on persecution:
Jane is of a specific ethnic background. While in the U.S. on her J Visa, a civil war broke out in her home country and Jane’s race is now being persecuted. Jane can seek a waiver based on fear of persecution on account of her race.
Mohamed is from a predominantly Islamic country. While in the U.S. on his J Visa, Mohamed converts to Christianity. He tries to spread the word of Jesus to his family back home but his family becomes very upset. They threaten to hunt him down and kill him as a disgrace to their family if he returns to his home country. Moreover, the police will not intervene for crimes against Christians. There is widespread discrimination, and moreover, harm to Christians in Mohamed’s home country. Mohamed, however, refuses to hide his beliefs because he has faith in Jesus. In this scenario, Mohamed should seek a fear of persecution waiver so that he can remain safely in the U.S.
A final example would be if Mohamed began to embrace a political opinion that was in opposite to the opinion in his home country and if Mohamed would be persecuted based on his opinion.
In each of these three scenarios, The Ranchod Law Group would write a legal argument detailing the situation and how the situation meets the requirements of the law. We would also include research and news articles from the home country.
We will help you write your personal statement detailing your fear. Finally, we would want to include papers proving the truth of the situation. For example, Jane would need to include proof of her specific ethnic background. We might need to obtain an expert opinion to document this. In the second scenario, Mohamed would want to provide a letter from his Church and proof of involvement in his religious community. Statements from fellow followers would also be beneficial. In the last scenario, proof that Mohamed is advocating his particular political opinion would also be beneficial. This is just an example of how these cases based on fear of persecution can be supported.
Related Article: Persecution Waiver With Government Funding