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J-1 Waivers

J Visa

A J exchange visitor who is subject to the Section 212(e) home residency requirement may request a waiver of this requirement. The U.S. Department of State or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant such a waiver on any one of five grounds:

No Objection:  The two year residency requirement may be waived if the J Visa holder’s home country has no objection to the J Visa holder not returning to his or her home country. The home country government may issue a no objection statement through its embassy in Washington, D.C., to the U.S. State Department’s Waiver Review Division. The J Visa holder’s home government must state that it has no objection to the visitor not returning to the home country to satisfy the home residency requirement, nor does it object to the visitor pursuing U.S. residency. The foreign national seeking the waiver is responsible for obtaining the no objection statement.  To learn more about No Objection waivers click here.

Exceptional Hardship:  The exchange visitor may receive a waiver if he or she can demonstrate that departing the United States would result in exceptional hardship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or child. The exceptional hardship standard can be met by demonstrating a variety of hardships that go beyond mere family separation. Unlike the no objection waiver application, this application is submitted directly to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which will determine the validity of the application and make a recommendation to the U.S. State Department.

Home Country Persecution:  The exchange visitor may receive a waiver by demonstrating that he or she would face persecution in his or her home country based on race, religion, and/or political opinion. These waiver applications must be sent to USCIS, which will make a recommendation to the U.S. State Department.

U.S. National Interest:  An interested U.S. government agency may recommend that a waiver of the home residency requirement for a particular alien would be in the national interest. This may sometimes occur because the exchange visitor is working for the agency or on a project integral to the agency’s objectives, and a two-year absence may be detrimental to the agency’s efforts. The request from the interested government agency must come from the agency head or designated official and must be submitted directly to the U.S. State Department’s Waiver Review Division.

Conrad State 30 Waivers:  Physicians that are subject to the home residency requirement due to their graduate medical education or training may have the requirement waived by a request from a state department of health or equivalent institution.

Contact our attorneys today for more information on how you and your family can continue to live together in the United States by obtaining one of the above J waivers.