Waiver of 2-Year Home Country Residency Requirement

GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES ON THE WAIVER OF THE TWO-YEAR HOME COUNTRY RESIDENCY REQUIREMENT FOR EXCHANGE VISITORS

SECTION 1. PURPOSE

SECTION 2. COVERAGE

This Circular shall cover all exchange visitors within the purview of Section 212 (e) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, which provides that no person admitted under the Exchange Visitor Program shall be eligible for an immigrant visa, or for permanent residence, or for non- immigrant visa until it is established that such person has resided and had been physically present in the country of his/her nationality, or where he/she had his last permanent residence for at least two (2) years following his/her departure from the United States.

SECTION 3. DECLARATION OF POLICIES

It is hereby declared the policy of the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) Committee to carefully and rigorously evaluate all applications of EVP participants to the waiver of the two-year home residency requirement through the issuance of No Objection Statement, in consideration of the following objectives of the RP-US exchange program:

SECTION 4. DEFINITION OF TERMS

For purposes of these Guidelines, the terms or phrases used here shall mean or be understood as follows:

Section 212(e) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, provides that no person admitted under the exchange visitor program shall be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, or for permanent residence, or for non-immigrant visa until it is established that such person has resided and been physically present in the country of nationality or last legal permanent residence for an aggregate of at least two years following departure from the United States. 

This provision is applicable to the following exchange visitors: 

SECTION 5. THE PHILIPPINE EVP COMMITTEE

The EVP Committee is an inter-agency body, created through Administrative Order No. 242 to coordinate the Philippine participation in the Exchange Visitor Program.

o    The EVP Committee is composed of the heads of the following Philippine Government agencies or their duly designated representatives with at least the rank of a Director:

o    Department of Foreign Affairs

o    Department of Health

o    Department of Education, Culture and Sports

o    Department of Labor and Employment

o    Department of Science and Technology

o    National Economic and Development Authority

o    Professional Regulation Commission

o    Commission on Higher Education

o    Technical Education and Skills Development Authority

o    Office of the President

o    Commission on Filipinos Overseas

SECTION 6. APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Exchange visitor participants from the Philippines applying for waiver of the two-year home residency requirement through the No Objection Statement (NOS) from the Philippine Government shall comply with the following requirements:

o    Copy of the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (IAP Form 66 / DS 2019);

o    Original copy of the clearance from former employer / company in the Philippines at the time of departure for the training program, clearing the applicant from any contractual obligation or financial accountability;

o    Copy of the certificate of completion from the training / sponsoring institution. In cases wherein the applicant is currently on training at the time of application, he/she shall submit a certificate from the host institution indicating the specific period of attendance, applicant’s good standing, and confirming the applicant’s eligibility to complete the program (as amended by EVP Resolution 02-2003). The applicant may also submit a duly accomplished Certificate of Participation which is available at the CFO website;

o    Proof of the spouse’s citizenship (birth certificate or passport) and certified true copy of marriage contract, in case of applicants requesting for NOS by virtue of their marriage to a US citizen;

o    Certified true copy of the birth certificate, in case of applicants requesting NOS by virtue of their having a minor child/children who is/are US citizen/s; Certificate from the head/leader of a recognized religious denomination in the Philippines allowing the continued stay in the United States of its member, in case the applicant requesting for NOS is a priest, nun, missionary;

o    Other documents to support the application for NOS; and

o    Waiver Review File Number issued by the Waiver Review Division of the United States Department of State.

If the reasons for applying do not fall within the criteria set for granting NOS as indicated in Section 9, the applicant shall submit the following additional requirements: 

o    Curriculum vitae;

o    Conditional letter of offer from the training institution in the US, and certification that the participant is of good standing; and

o    Proof of income of the family being supported in the Philippines (Income Tax Return or Certificate of No Income from the Bureau of Internal Revenue or Certificate of Indigency from the barangay, whichever is applicable).

 Account name: Commission on Filipinos Overseas

Account no.: 000012-1149-23 

Bank name Land Bank of the Philippines 

Branch: Intramuros, Manila 

The EVP Committee authorizes the Commission on Filipinos Overseas to use the fees to cover expenses for the processing and handling of NOS applications, subject to the usual accounting and auditing procedures.

The processing and handling of NOS applications shall include the costs of the following:

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas shall submit to the EVP Committee a quarterly financial report of all payments received from NOS applicants, and expenses incurred in line with the processing of NOS applications. (As amended by Resolution 02-2007).

SECTION 7. AUTHENTICATION

Supporting documents issued by institutions and agencies in the United States must be authenticated by the Philippine Embassy or Consulate that has jurisdiction in the place of residence of the applicant.

SECTION 8. DECISION MAKING

All applications and requests for NOS shall be initially evaluated by the EVP Secretariat to determine which applications are eligible for waiver under Sec. 9 below and give recommendation/s to the EVP Committee. Communications/documents may be sent through electronic means and/or facsimile to facilitate the approval of the EVP Committee.

SECTION 9. BASES FOR THE GRANT OF THE NO-OBJECTION STATEMENT (NOS)

The EVP Committee shall grant NOS to applicants in the following cases, provided that the exchange program was not funded wholly or in part by any agency of the Philippine Government, or any public or private educational or other institution in the Philippines, and that the participant has no outstanding financial or service obligations with any government agency, or any public or private institution in the Philippines:

The EVP Committee shall not grant NOS to applicants who have not attended or have not completed their training programs, unless the reasons for non-completion or non-attendance are any of the following:

SECTION 10. SKILLS LIST

Education and training opportunities in fields of professions contained in the Philippine Skills List are necessarily covered by the two-year home residency requirement. Thus, all NOS applications of EVP participants whose field of training in the US is included in the Skills List shall be evaluated on a case-to-case basis taking into consideration the provisions of Section 1 and the priorities of the Philippine Government.

SECTION 11. OBLIGATION WITH PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT AGENCY

If the training of the NOS applicant was funded in part or in whole by agencies of the Philippine Government, or by private or public higher education institutions in the Philippines, the applicant shall reimburse the expenses incurred by said agencies or institutions in relation to his/her training or studies in the United States. The reimbursable amount shall be determined by the Philippine government agency or private/public educational institution concerned, financial clearance of which shall be obtained before the pertinent NOS could be given.

SECTION 12. MERITORIOUS CASES

The NOS may also be granted to exchange visitor participants for valid and reasonable justifications on a case-to-case basis as may be determined by the EVP Committee.

SECTION 13. STATEMENT OF NO OBJECTION

The EVP Committee shall transmit its decision on NOS applications to the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. in the form of an endorsement letter. The decision of the EVP Committee shall be conveyed by the Philippine Embassy to the US Department of State. The Philippine Embassy shall furnish the applicant with a copy of the Philippine Government’s decision.

SECTION 14. ALTERNATIVE ARRANGEMENT

If the reasons of the applicant do not fall within the criteria set for the granting of NOS, and the applicant has presented valid and reasonable justifications for his / her request, the EVP Secretariat may offer the alternative arrangement in lieu of the two-year home-residency requirement, which shall require the EVP participant to individually undertake a project with two components involving (1) developing and implementing of a transfer of technology project; and (2) sponsorship of an enhancement training for an identified beneficiary in his/her particular field of expertise.

The project proposal must benefit a particular sector and address national priorities as provided for in the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan or as identified by the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

SECTION 15. PROCEDURES FOR ALTERNATIVE ARRANGEMENT

The procedure and requirements in the processing and evaluation of NOS applications under the alternative arrangement are as follows:

 I. Project Proposal 

II. Enhancement Training Sponsorship Project 

o   After the EVP Committee’s approval of the project proposal, the EVP participant shall transfer the amount of One Thousand Five Hundred US Dollars (US$1,500.00) to the EVP Committee through the CFO’s trust account as sponsorship for the enhancement training of an identified beneficiary in his/her particular field of expertise.

Account name: Commission on Filipinos Overseas

Account no.: 000012-1149-23 

Bank name Land Bank of the Philippines 

Branch: Intramuros, Manila 

SECTION 16. PROJECT PROPOSAL FORMAT

The format for the project proposal is as follows:

Other Requirements. A transmittal request/letter should accompany the project proposal.

SECTION 17. PROJECT MONITORING AND APPROVAL OF APPLICATION

The exchange visitor who has been offered the alternative arrangement is expected to work with his/her partner institutions in the Philippines for the implementation/completion of his/her project proposal.

The approval of the terminal report by the member-agency concerned shall serve as basis for the granting of the NOS to the EVP participant. Notice of this action shall be given to the Committee in its next regular meeting. The EVP Committee shall inform the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. of the approval of the NOS, for endorsement to the US Department of State.

SECTION 18. APPEAL/REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION

The decision of the EVP Committee may be appealed within 30 days from receipt of the decision. The appeal process shall be as follows:

SECTION 19. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

SECTION 20. EFFECTIVITY

ADOPTED this 10th day of April 2008 during the 72nd regular meeting of the EVP Committee in Manila, Philippines.

(Sgd.) ACTING ASST. SECRETARY LOURDES O. YPARRAGUIRRE
Department of Foreign Affairs

(Sgd.) DIRECTOR ELLA BLANCA B. LOPEZ
Office of the President

(Sgd.) DIRECTOR MA. VIRGINIA G. ALA
Department of Health

(Sgd.) ASST. SECRETARY MARIO P. BRAVO
Department of Science and Technology

(Sgd.) ASST. SECRETARY TERESITA G. INCIONG
Department of Education

(Sgd.) DIRECTOR FELICITAS Q. BAY
Department of Labor and Employment

(Sgd.) DIRECTOR ERLINDA M. CAPONES
National Economic Development Authority

(Sgd.) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WILLIAM C. MEDRANO
Commission on Higher Education

(Sgd.) DIRECTOR PILAR S. DE LEON
Technical Educational and Skills Development Authority

(Sgd.) CHAIRPERSON LEONOR T. ROSERO
Professional Regulation Commission

(Sgd.) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JENNIFER O. GONZALES
Commission on Filipinos Overseas

Annex A: Agencies which will Conduct Technical Evaluation of Project Proposal