Exchange visitors who are subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement of Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, may be able to waive this requirement. The Department of State provides five (5) statutory bases that J-1 holders may use to waive the two-year foreign residency requirement.
- No objection” statement from visitor’s home country: The foreign residency requirement may be waived provided your home country's government issues a "no objection" letter to the U.S. State Department indicating that it does not object to the two-year foreign residency requirement being waived.
- Request from an Interested U.S. Government Agency: An Interested Government Agency is a U.S. Federal Government Agency that has a vested interest in the visitor remaining in the U.S., since it may be crucial to the agencies programs or functioning, if he/she is working on a project for or of interest to the agency. The IGA may request that the U.S. State Department waive the Foreign Residency Requirement. Both the U.S. State Department and the USCIS must agree to grant the waiver.
- Claim of persecution in home country if visitor returns: If an alien subject to the foreign residency requirement can establish that he/she will suffer persecution upon return to the home country, the foreign residency requirement will be waived. The threat of persecution needs to be based on one of the following three (3) grounds:
- Claim of exceptional hardship: to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or child if visitor returns to home country: If complying with the Foreign Residency Requirements imposes exceptional hardship on the alien's spouse or child, and the spouse or child is a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident, the Foreign Residency Requirement may be waived.
- Request from a designated State health agency: A designated State Health Agency or its equivalent may request a waiver on the behalf of medical doctors who have been offered a full-time job with a health care facility serving in an area with a shortage of medical professionals. In order to qualify for the waiver, the person must agree in writing to work at the facility for forty (40) hours per week, for a minimum of three (3) years and must begin work at the health care facility within ninety (90) days of the approval of the waiver.
For more information about J-1 waiver or specific case evaluation, please contact our office.