Emel Ersan Law Office - Immigration Law
J-1 Waivers: 

My Fees: $2500

The foreign residence requirement is codified in section 212(e) of the INA and requires certain J1 visa exchange visitors to return home for a minimum of two years before changing status to an H-1B visa, an L visa or adjusting status to that of a green card holder. A J1 waiver is not needed, however, for a change of status to an F1 student visa.

  • received funding from the United States Government, their own government, or an international organization in connection with their participation in the Exchange Visitor Program;
  • are pursuing education, training, or a skill that appears on the Exchange Visitor Skills List for their country; or
  • acquired J1 status on or after January 10, 1977, for the purpose of receiving graduate medical education or training.

Why is a J1 Waiver required?What is a J1 waiver?

  1. No Objection Letter: A J1 visa holder who is subject to the foreign residence requirement can obtain a letter from the home government stating that there is no objection to that person staying in the US without returning home for two years. Medical doctors who came to the US for graduate medical training cannot get a J1 waiver based on a no objection letter.
  2. Interested Government Agency (IGA): J1 visa exchange program participants who have an important role in a research project, and can prove that returning home for two years would negatively impact the project, can get their J1 waiver sponsored by a government agency that has an interest in the project. Doctors who agree to work for VA Hospitals run by the US Veterans’ Administration or medical facilities in under served areas can obtain an IGA J1 waiver of the foreign residence requirement.
  3. Persecution: J1 visa exchange program participants who believe that they will be persecuted if they return to the home country due to race, religion or political opinion can seek a J1 waiver based on persecution.
  4. Hardship: If a J1 visa holder has a US citizen or green card holder spouse or child, he or she can apply for a J1 waiver based on hardship. To receive the J1 waiver, the applicant must show that his or her departure from the US would cause extreme hardship to the US citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  5. State Department of Health: Doctors who have a full-time job offer at a health-care facility in a designated medical professional shortage area can apply for a J1 waiver if they agree to start working within 90 days of obtaining the waiver. The doctor must sign a contract promising to work at the facility for 40 hours a week for a minimum of three years.

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