The J1 visa is issued to foreign nationals to complete work or study programs in the United States. It is a non-immigrant visa that promotes cultural exchange and helps people receive training for better prospects in the US or their home country. The J-1 visa often has a 2-year home country requirement that prevents the J-1 visa holder from becoming a lawful permanent resident or switching to other status. When that is the case, the J-1 visa holder needs a J-1 Visa Waiver.
The J-1 Visa Waiver Process
A J-1 Visa Waiver is given under one of the following circumstances:
- No Objection: Your home country’s government may have no objection to you not returning under the mandatory requirement.
- Persecution: You believe that you are under threat of persecution if you return to your home country.
- Interest: When a Federal Government Agency requests your presence for their interests.
- Hardship: If your dependents are US citizens and your return home will cause them undue hardship.
You can file for a J-1 Visa Waiver with the Department of State by submitting a DS 3035.
If you are filing based on persecution of hardship, you must submit a Form I-612 with USCIS with all required evidence and filing fee. The Department of Homeland Security must approve your waiver before you can change status in the United States or receive a visa in certain categories.
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