An experienced immigration attorney will help you decide on which option is best for you. One word of advice, whether you choose to use an attorney or do it yourself, make sure to maintain your J-1 status because if denial of a waiver or asylum can result in deportation.
Good luck and please feel free to contact me if you have additional questions.
The Anwari Law Firm, PC
I agree with Mr. Eichorn. You will need to retain counsel.
The answer provided is for general information purposes and cannot be relied upon. In order to provide legal advice, one must engage with a live attorney; this answer does not create such attorney-client relationship.
I agree with my colleagues here. You need to consult an experienced immigration attorney. At Brandt immigration we have over 12 years experience successfully representing clients seeking asylum.
Chad M. Brandt
You can apply for one or the other or both. Both asylum and Form I-612 persecution waivers have distinct advantages and disadvantages.
In the realm of asylum, if you are still in J-1 status, you would file an affirmative asylum application. There are five bases for asylum. These are: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and political opinion. Asylum has a distinct advantage when it comes to the two-year foreign residence requirement of INA § 212(e), in that, if you win, you would obliterate the foreign residence requirement and would have a pathway to getting lawful permanent resident status (green card). The main disadvantage is that it is far more difficult to win asylum than an I-612 persecution waiver.
In the realm of I-612 persecution waivers, you can file under three bases: race, religion, and/or political opinion. The application is filed with the USCIS who adjudicates whether you would face persecution on one or more of the above grounds. If the USCIS determines that you would face persecution on one or more of these grounds, it would transmit the application to the Department of State Waiver Review Division (WRD) seeking its recommendation on the waiver. If the WRD issues a favorable, it will transmit the same to the USCIS, who will issue an approval notice. In our experience, prevailing on an I-612 persecution waiver is far easier than winning affirmative asylum. One disadvantage of the I-612 persecution waiver is that it only waives the two-year foreign residence requirement. It does not destroy any remaining J-1 status, but you would then need to consider how you would plan to remain in the United States after the J-1 status runs out. This is something that you could explore with a lawyer experienced in J-1 waivers.
Our firm has recent experience in Form I-612 persecution waivers for Egypt. I-612 persecution waivers are rare. In fiscal year 2010, the WRD reported that it received 26 I-612 persecution waiver applications and it approved 25.
Our firm concentrates on J-1 hardship and persecution waivers, and we have made scholarly contributions to the legal literature in this area of law.
Hake & Schmitt
Attorneys at Law
P.O. Box 540 (419 Main St.), New Windsor, Maryland 21776
Required Disclaimer: This information is generalized and should not be relied upon as legal advice; and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.