J-1 Waiver: Frequent Asked Questions.

The J1 visa can be an excellent visa option for multiple classes of people. In some cases, someone may be subject to a 2-year foreign residency requirement under the J1 visa. However, someone may be eligible for a waiver of this foreign residency requirement in some cases.

Today, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the J1 waivers. If you have any questions regarding J1 waivers or if you have other questions, feel free to contact best immigration lawyer houston texas

Question #1: Are my Spouse and Children also Subject to the Requirements?

The straight answer is yes. The requirement applies to any J visa holder, even principal or dependent, whose J visa is annotated as described above. See us investment visa post on how to become a U.S citizen.

Question #2: Who is Eligible for a J1 Waiver?

Having outlined the basic tenets of Section 212(e), we move into the discussion of the waiver of the requirements. If you are in J1 status or J2 dependent and working under the terms of your EAD card, you may wish to stay in the U.S. Possibly, if your employer wants you to remain on a more permanent basis. You may also want to stay in the U.S. for other reasons related to opportunities and quality of life.

Section 212(e) was prepared with options for J1 waiver visa holders to apply for a waiver. Anyone subject to Section 212(e) has the right to apply for a waiver. The eligibility for a waiver are;

  1. Your home country’s embassy may, in certain circumstances, issue a Statement of No Objection to the waiver. It is often applied to countries on the Skills List (Skill List by Country) or to J1 visa holders who have received funding from their home country for their J1 visa program.
  2. An interested U.S. government agency with whom you are currently working on your J1 may determine that a waiver is necessary for you to continue your work with them. It is a less common option for J1 visa holders.
  3. If you fear returning to your home country due to persecution you may apply to the USCIS with evidence to show that returning home for two years to your home country would harm you based on your race, religion, or political views.
  4. If you have a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse or child residing in the U.S. and need to continue to stay in the U.S. to stay with them, you may apply for the waiver based on hardship to them. Again, in this instance, you would apply to the USCIS, which would decide the hardship to your spouse or child. It is a more common waiver option, and you should note that the term hardship applies somewhat broadly- essentially, if you are married to a U.S. citizen, being forced to live abroad for two years away from your spouse is considered a hardship. The same applies to your U.S. citizen/Lawful Permanent Resident children, depending on the circumstances and age of the children.
  5. The final basis for a J1 waiver, called the Conrad Waiver, is intended exclusively for medical personnel employed by a State Public Health Department who is interested in continuing their employment full-time beyond the expiration of their J1 status.
Question #3: Am I Subject to the J1 Foreign Residency Requirement?

If you are in the U.S. in J1 status and uncertain whether or not this rule applies to you, you should look at either J1 visa in your passport or the Form DS-2019 issued to you by the J1 organization with which you worked to acquire your J1 status. Either of these documents will be annotated, reading “Section 212(e) applies” or “Section 212(e) does not apply.” If the annotation is that Section 212(e) applies, you are indeed subject to the requirement.


Finally, the process for the waiver can commence at any time within the J1 visa holder’s period of stay. However, if you are wondering whether or not the waiver will affect your immigration status, the answer is no. Except for the Interested Government Agency and the Conrad Waiver options (number2 & 5). J-1 visa holders who have received a waiver from either the waiver division or the USCIS must work alongside their employer, or potential employer to secure immigration status beyond the termination of their status. It also applies to the J2 dependents who are employed according to the terms of their J2 EAD.

If you are an individual in J1 or J2 status and you believe you are eligible for a waiver of the 2-year foreign residency requirement, feel free to contact abogados de migracion houston tx with any questions or if you would like our assistance.