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J-1 Waiver of Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement

A basic overview of the Waiver are provided here. If you have further inquiries as to the application process or whether or not this is the correct route for your needs, please don't hesitate to contact us.


The two-year home residency requirement (or 212(e), as referenced in immigration regulations) means that those who enter the United States in J-1 status cannot become permanent residents in the U.S., apply for Adjustment of Status (AOS) in the U.S., or receive employment or family-based visa status such as H, L or K until those individuals return to their country of last permanent residence for at least two cumulative years. There are, however, waivers for these conditions of which some individuals may find themselves applicable.


J-1 No Objection Waiver

If an individual has received funding from his or her home government or an international organization, or are qualified according to the Department of State's skills list, he or she may often receive a waiver by requesting a "letter of no objection" from the home country’s embassy in Washington, DC.

J-1 Interested Government Agency (IGA) Waiver

A waiver may be obtained if an interested U.S. Federal Executive Agency requests it. This may occur in cases when an exchange visitor is working on a project for or of interest to a government agency and that agency has decided that the J-1 visitor's departure for two years to fulfill the foreign residence requirement would be detrimental to agency's interest.

J-1 Exceptional Hardship Waiver

A J-1 visa beneficiary may obtain a waiver if he or she demonstrates that departure from the U.S. would cause exceptional hardship to the beneficiary's U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or child. These waivers are granted upon a showing of exceptional hardship, not only that conditions would be more difficult in the individual's home country than in the U.S.

J-1 Fear of Persecution Waiver

A persecution waiver may be made available to a J-1 visa beneficiary if a "well founded fear of persecution" can be reasonably established. The fear of persecution must result from the foreign national's membership in an established religious, ethnic, political, professional or similarly classified group. Such a waiver does not require that the beneficiary have a spouse or child who is a U.S. Citizen or LPR.

It should be worth noting that, in certain cases, it is appropriate to file simultaneous petitions under both the hardship and persecution classifications.


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