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J1 Visa - Getting Married With 2 Year Restriction

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I met my girlfriend, soon to be wife, when she came over from Ecuador to the United States on a J1 intern visa. Unfortunately, her visa with the 1 additional month of stay will end in February, and she IS subject to the two year restriction based on "The Exchange Visitor Skills List."


We have already applied for the waiver - actually, moreso in the process of doing it, as we are waiting on letters to being returned to us that she did not receive any funding from the government, her school, or the organization that sponsored her.


With that said, I have a few different question:


1.)What would happen if we got married and she overstayed her visa that ends in February while we waited for the waiver to either be accepted or denied? After it got accepted, assuming it does, we would then apply for an adjustment of status. Is it possible that she could face punishment or be banned from the United States for over-staying her visa BEFORE the waiver got accepted or denied?


2.)Is it possible that she SHOULDN'T be subject to the 2 year waiver rule? If so, is there a way we can contact the Department of Homeland Security to get a quicker waiver and then apply for adjustment of status, or is applying for the waiver the "natural way" the only possible route? She HAS NOT received any funding from the government, school, or the organization that "sponsors" her.


3.)What are the chances the waiver goes through anyhow considering she hasn't received any sponsorship? What do you recommend we do in this situation?


Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much in advance.

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You need to be aware of the fact that the waiver is not guaranteed. Are you absolutely sure she did not get government funding? This should be indicated in DS-2019 - what letter does the program code start with? On what basis did you apply for a waiver?


1. First of all, you can't file for AOS with the 2HRR restriction. That means that if the waiver is denied, she will have to go back. If she overstayed in the meantime, she will accrue unlawful presence, which means she will have problems coming back. You can bank on the waiver to be accepted and have her overstay, but again - waiver is not guaranteed and you are playing a dangerous lottery here.


2. Depends. If you filed for the waiver, they can potentially conclude that she is not subject. That still takes more than a month. There is no quicker waiver, as even a No Objection waiver takes 2+ months to be processed + 2 months for USCIS to actually issue the waiver if DoS issues a favorable recommendation.


3. Again, depends on a lot of factors. I am assuming that you have applied for a waiver based on No Objection. IF that is the case, and there were 0 government funds involved, AND the embassy of Ecuador is willing to write a No Objection letter, then the chances are higher - but again, there is never a guarantee.

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