Philadelphia Persecution Waiver Lawyers

The two year home residency requirement may be waived if the exchange visitor can demonstrate that he or she would face persecution in his or her home country based on race, religion, and/or political opinion. Unlike the hardship waiver, the anticipated persecution must be toward the applicant, not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or child. For this reason, those who do not have qualifying relatives for a hardship waiver could consider instead to pursue a waiver based on persecution.

Persecution waiver applicants, similar to asylum cases, must prove that:

  • He or she possesses a belief or characteristic a persecutor (either the home government or an individual or group in that country) seeks to target and use to justify harmful acts;
  • The persecutor is capable of punishing the person; and
  • The persecutor is inclined to punish the person.

Acts of persecution include detentions, imprisonments, deportations, executions, kidnappings, rape, torture, and similar acts. On the other hand, situations that negatively affect everyone in the country without regard to beliefs or characteristics, such as civil war or natural disasters, are unlikely to be considered persecution.

In general, persecution waiver applicants must first obtain a case number and instructions from the U.S. Department of State, after which they may file with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS makes the initial determination on the application; if it determines that the applicant has submitted sufficient proof, it will send the application to the U.S. State Department. The U.S. State Department in turn makes a recommendation to USCIS to either deny or approve the granting of the waiver, and USCIS usually follows the recommendation of the U.S. State Department.