Apply for the Waiver
J-1 visa holders subject to the two-year home residence requirement and do not wish to fulfill the requirement of returning to their home countries for two years, may apply for a waiver.
Application for the waiver is made through the Department of State (DOS). DOS reviews the application and makes a recommendation to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and USCIS will actually grant the waiver.
The 4 basics for which a waiver may be requested:
- No Objection by Home Country: The applicant applies for a waiver based on a statement from their home country that there is no objection to a waiver of the two-year home residency.
- Exceptional Hardship: Applicant would apply for a waiver based on exceptional hardship to their U.S. citizen or lawful resident spouses or minor children.
- Persecution: Applicant would apply for a waiver based on their belief that they will be subject to persecution because of race, religion or political opinions if they returned to their home country.
- Interested US Government Agency: A U.S. government agency may apply to DOS for a waiver on behalf of the applicant if they are interested in the applicant's programs or projects and if they believe it is in the best interest of the United States to allow the individual to remain.
PLEASE NOTE: Before requesting an Advisory Opinion or applying for a Waiver, J-1 visa holders are encouraged to contact their ISSS advisor. Failure to inform an advisor regarding this matter could jeopardize the visa holder's ability to secure an extension of the Form DS-2019, or the option to change to another non-immigrant status. In some cases, this requirement may be waived upon recommendation of the home government or on other grounds.