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J-1 Waiver

What are the bases upon which a J-1 Exchange Visitor can apply for a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement?

A J-1 Visitor may only apply under one waiver basis from the 5 mentioned below:
  • No Objection Statement;
  • Request by an Interested U.S. Federal Government Agency;
  • Persecution;
  • Exceptional Hardship to a U.S. Citizen (or lawful permanent resident) Spouse or Child of an Exchange Visitor; and
  • Request by a Designated State Public Health Department or its Equivalent (Conrad State 30 Program).

When in the application process should the J-1 Exchange Visitor request a No Objection Statement?

The J1 Exchange Visitor should request the No Objection Statement from his/her home country government once he/she has the waiver case number which is assigned to the applicant at the end of completing the online application.

What if J-1 Exchange Visitor cannot get a 'No Objection' Statement from his/her home country?

If the home country will not issue a No Objection Statement, then J1 Exchange Visitor may apply for a waiver recommendation under one of the other basis, if it applies to his/her situation. Otherwise, if none of the other waiver bases applies, he/she must fulfill the two-year home-country physical-presence requirement.

Can the J-1 Exchange Visitor apply for a waiver recommendation based on persecution and exceptional hardship simultaneously?

No. If the J-1 Exchange Visitor believes that he/she qualifies for a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement under both persecution and exceptional hardship to his/her U.S. citizen (or legal permanent resident) spouse or child, he/she may apply for a waiver recommendation under only one of these two bases. Please choose whichever of the two is the strongest argument in favor of a waiver recommendation.

If Form I-612 based on persecution or exceptional hardship was denied by USCIS. Can the J-1 Exchange Visitor ask for reconsideration?

Requests to reconsider persecution or exceptional hardship applications must be made to USCIS.

If a physician wants to work in a medically underserved area of the United States, under which bases may the J1 Exchange Visitor apply for a waiver recommendation?

The J-1 exchange visitor could apply for a waiver of two-year home-country physical presence requirement through the request of an Interested U.S. Federal Government Agency or through the request of a designated State Public Health Department or its equivalent, also known as the Conrad State 30 Program. The J1 exchange visitor may apply using only one waiver basis, and it must apply to the J1 exchange visitor situation. Review information contained on the Eligibility webpage and Step 3 on the Instructions webpage for details about both waiver bases.

How can the J-1 Exchange Visitor inform the Waiver Review Division of a change in his/her contact information?

Please inform any change of address, phone number, or email address using the J Visa Waiver Online website for US Department of State.

Link: https://j1visawaiverrecommendation.state.gov/

Under “What would the J-1 exchange visitor like to do?” select “Inform the Department of State of a change to personal data.”

It is important that DHS have the J-1 exchange visitor’s current contact information in case they need to contact the J-1 exchange visitor for further information and so they can send the J-1 exchange visitor their recommendation decision.

If the J-1 Exchange Visitor waiver recommendation application is still being processed by the Waiver Review Division, and the J1 Exchange Visitor has new information that may affect his/he eligibility for a waiver. What should he/she do?

If the J-1 exchange visitor submitted a waiver recommendation application that is still pending a decision by the Waiver Review Division and the J-1 exchange visitor has new relevant information, the J-1 exchange visitor may send that information by mail to the Waiver Review Division.

Use the address listed in Step 5 of the Instructions.

Link:

http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/study-exchange/student/residency-waiver/ds-3035-instructions.html

Address as per the link

Waiver Review Division
U.S. State Department
Visa Office
SA-17, 11th Floor
600 19th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20522-0106

It is possible to submit additional documents after the J1 exchange visitor has submitted the J1 exchange visitor original application.

If the waiver recommendation application was denied, can the J-1 Exchange Visitor ask for reconsideration or appeal the decision?

No. Waiver recommendation applications are thoroughly considered, and the Waiver Review Division does not have a policy to reconsider applications once a final determination has been made. Also, there is no policy for the J-1 exchange visitor to appeal the Waiver Review Division’s determination. The J-1 exchange visitor may, however, reapply using another basis for waiver, if another basis applies to the J-1 exchange visitor’s situation.

Why would a recommendation application be denied by the Waiver Review Division?

Recommendation applications are denied when the reasons given for requesting the waiver do not outweigh the program and foreign policy considerations of the exchange visitor program.For this reason, waiver recommendation applications from exchange visitors who received U.S. Government funding are generally denied.

If a waiver recommendation application was denied, but there is new information that may affect the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s eligibility? Can he/she send it to the Waiver Review Division and ask for reconsideration of the denied application?

With one exception, a denied waiver recommendation application cannot be reconsidered or appealed, and the J-1 exchange visitor should not apply again under the same basis as used in the J-1 exchange visitor’s original waiver request.

The one exception is if the J-1 exchange visitor requested a waiver based on persecution or exceptional hardship to a U.S. citizen (or legal permanent resident) spouse or child, and the J-1 exchange visitor have new relevant information which the J1 exchange visitor believe may result in a different decision. The J1 exchange visitor may apply again to USCIS. However, please be aware that the J1 exchange visitor will need to submit a new waiver recommendation application, including all documents listed in Steps 1 through 3 of the Instructions, and pay the processing fee.

Instruction page link:

http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/study-exchange/student/residency-waiver/ds-3035-instructions.html

If the J-1 exchange visitor is subject to the two-year home–country physical presence requirement. Are the J2 dependents also subject to this requirement?

Yes, a J-2 spouse or child is subject to the same requirements as a J-1 exchange visitor.

If a J-1 spouse or parent is subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement and is applying for a waiver. Since J2 dependent is also subject to this requirement, does he/she needs to apply for his/her own separate waiver recommendation, Form DS-3035, and pay the fee?

No. The J-2 dependents are automatically included in the J-1 exchange visitor’s (spouse’s or parent) waiver recommendation application. The J-1 exchange visitor spouse or parent will need to list the J2 dependents when completing the application for waiver recommendation, Form DS-3035.

If a J-1 spouse or parent obtains a recommendation for waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, will it also apply to the J2 dependent, as a J-2 spouse or child of an exchange visitor?

Yes. If the J-1 exchange visitor (spouse or parent) receives a favorable recommendation from the Department of State’s Waiver Review Division, it will be forwarded to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If USCIS grants the waiver to the J-1 exchange visitor (spouse or parent), then the J-2 dependents visitor will also benefit from that waiver.

My J-1 spouse or parent is subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, but is not applying for a waiver recommendation. May the J2 dependent, as his or her J-2 spouse or child, apply?

With a few exceptions, J-2 spouses and children cannot independently apply for waiver recommendations when their J-1 spouses or parents are not applying.

The exceptions where the Waiver Review Division will consider requests for waiver recommendations from J-2 spouses and children are:
  • when the J-1 spouse dies;
  • when the J-1 and J-2 spouses divorce; and
  • when a J-2 child reaches age 21.
All such cases are evaluated by the Waiver Review Division on a case-by-case basis.

If a J-2 spouse or child, believe that his/her situation merits special consideration based on one of the exceptions above, the J2 Dependent should complete online form DS-3035, pay the processing fee (Steps 1 and 2 of the Instructions), and submit a statement explaining why the J2 dependent is applying for a waiver and the J1 exchange visitor J-1 spouse or parent is not. The statement should also explain why his/her situation merits special consideration. As applicable, the J2 dependent must also submit:
  • a copy of the J1 exchange visitor J-1 spouse’s death certificate;
  • a copy of the divorce decree from the J2 dependent and J-1 spouse; or
  • a copy of the J2 dependent’s birth certificate, if the he/she is a J-2 child age 21 or over.

Which country’s skills list applies to the J1 Exchange Visitor?

Generally, the country skills list for the J1 exchange visitor country of citizenship or nationality applies to the J1 exchange visitor. However, if the country of the J1 exchange visitor’s citizenship or nationality differs from the country of the J1 exchange visitor’s last legal permanent residence at the time the he/she obtained the J-1 exchange visitor status, the skills list from the country of his/her last permanent residence at the time the J1 exchange visitor obtained the J status would apply. Please note that some countries do not have skills lists. Country specific skills sets are listed here:

http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/study-exchange/exchange/exchange-visitor-skills-list/exchange-skills-list-2009.html

If a former J-1 exchange visitor is from country X. Instead of returning home to country X after completing the program in the U.S., he/she moved to country Y. Can the J1 Exchange Visitor fulfill the two-year home-country physical presence requirement in country Y?

Generally, the country which was the J-1 exchange visitor’s country of legal permanent residence when he/she received the J-1 status, is the country to which the J1 exchange visitor must return to fulfill the two-year home-country physical presence requirement. , One exception is if the J-1 exchange visitor obtains a waiver or the exception discussed in the next FAQ.

Can the J1 Exchange Visitor serve two-year home-country physical presence requirement in the U.S. or a third country?

The period of time that the J-1 exchange visitor spends in the U.S. or a third country after the J-1 exchange visitor program has ended may count toward fulfillment of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, if the J1 exchange visitor is employed by the J-1 exchange visitor’s home country’s government, in its military service, or in its career foreign service and the J1 exchange visitor is serving in a country other than the J-1 exchange visitor’s home country at the behest of his/her home country’s government. Before the Waiver Review Division can determine whether the J-1 exchange visitor has satisfied the physical presence requirement, it requires a written statement from an official of the J1 exchange visitor’s home government (through the home country's embassy in Washington, DC) that the J-1 exchange visitor was or will be serving in the U.S. or a third country in the service of the J-1 exchange visitor’s home country and at that government's request.

Where can the J-1 Exchange Visitor find the case number for his Waiver request?

The J-1 exchange visitor will be issued a case number after he/she has completed the DS-3035 online application, available on the J Visa Waiver Online website. Although the application cannot be submitted online, the online system provides that the J-1 exchange visitor a case number immediately, along with further instructions.

Does the J-1 Exchange Visitor keep the same case number if he/she applies for future waivers of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement?

Yes, the J-1 exchange visitor will use the same case number for all future waiver recommendation applications or advisory opinion requests. If the J-1 exchange visitor initially submitted an advisory opinion request, use that same number when the J1 exchange visitor applies for a waiver(s) at a later date.

How can one determine if the exchange visitor program was funded by the U.S. Government, the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s home country’s government, or an international organization that received funding from the U.S. Government or the J-1 Exchange Visitor home country’s government?

You should consult with your responsible program officer for assistance in making this determination. If your participation in an exchange visitor program was funded either in whole or in part by the U.S. government, your home country’s government, or an international organization that received funding from the U.S. government or your home country’s government, then you are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement.




The information contained on this site is offered only for general informational and educational propose and does not constitute a legal advice or opinion. All efforts are being made to keep this information current, but it may not be guaranteed that it applies to your specific case, and should not be relied upon or acted without seeking the advice of qualified attorney.