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How to Get A J1 Waiver (Step-by-Step Process)

There are many J1 nonimmigrants in the US who might want to change their status to an H-1B status or into a green card status after completing their J1 program. But these nonimmigrants are unable to do so because they have to satisfy a two year home resident requirement after the completion of your J1 program. J1 visa waiver status.

In this article you’re going to learn how to go about obtaining a J1 Visa waiver that allows you to change your status into an H-1B status or into a green card status if you happen to be a J1 visa holder with a two year home residency requirement.

What is a J1 visa waiver?

The J1 Visa waiver is a document issued by the US Department of Homeland Security, specifically by USCIS and this waiver removed the requirements that certain J1 nonimmigrants have that requires them to return to their home country for a minimum of two years after the completion of the J1 program.

J1 visa waiver status

If you happen to be a J1 on immigrant who has this waiver when you came into the United States, you would have to receive this waiver if you want to change your nonimmigrant status into an H-1B or permanent residency status. Once you’ve completed your J-1 visa waiver status application, it’s easy to check on the official status.

So if you’re J1 on immigrants, you might be wondering, how do I know if I’m subject to the two year home residency requirement? Now, whether you’re subject to this two year home residency requirement will depend on the conditions for which a J1 Visa program was granted by a program sponsor.

The typical cases when you might be subject to this two year home residency requirement is when your J1 Visa program is government funded either by your home country or by the United States, or if you happen to be participating in a medical training based J1 visa program, or if your J1 Visa program involves some type of specialized knowledge that is needed for the development of your home country.

Now, this two year home residency requirement is accurately described on page two of your form DS 2019. And that’s why it’s very important that before you sign your DS 2019 to seek a J1 visa into the US, you should have read and understood the implications of the home residency requirement.

Eligibility criteria to apply for a J1 Waiver

So let’s say you are subject to this home residency requirement, and you want to learn what makes you eligible to get a J1 Visa waiver, checkout these five different ways you can be eligible to receive a J1 Visa waiver.

These are the 5 eligibility criteria for you to apply for a J1 Waiver:

  • The first criteria that could make you eligible to receive a J1 Visa waiver is if you can show that your departure from the US would cause an exceptional hardship to your US citizen spouse or your US legal permanent resident spouse and children. For you to meet this criteria, you would have to go beyond the simple fact that a physical separation between you and your family is a cause for exceptional hardship.
  • The second criteria you could meet to qualify for J1 Visa waiver is if you can show that by returning to your home country, you’re going to face severe persecution due to your religious and political beliefs.
  • The third criteria for J1 Visa waiver is when there’s a US federal agency that employs you that deems your work necessary and of national interest to the US.
  • The fourth criteria for J1 Visa waiver happens to be for medical professionals who work for US State health Agency in an area of the US that’s underserved.
  • The last but not the least criteria for J1 Visa waiver is when you can receive what’s called a no objection statements from your home country, simply saying that they have no objection against you remaining in the US after the completion of your J-1 program.

How to get/apply for J1 Visa Waiver

So now let’s discuss how to apply for J1 Visa Waiver. So once you determine that you qualify for any one of the five qualifying basis for a J1 Visa waiver, it could begin your J1 Visa Waiver application.

Now you have to understand that the application process for J1 Visa waiver could take several months and includes a lot of different agencies and third parties. And that’s why it’s highly recommend that when applying for J1 Visa waiver, you should seek the Council of a licensed and experienced immigration attorney.

Disclaimer: The content of this post/article should not be taken as personalized legal advice. I am not an immigration attorney. If you require personalized legal advice, I highly recommend that you seek the counseling of a licensed immigration attorney.

So with that out of the way, these are the general steps that you can take to apply for J1 Visa Waiver.

  • First step would be to complete the online J1 Visa Waiver recommendation application, also called the form DS 3035, you can find link for the form at the US Department of State website where you can complete this online J1 Visa Waiver application.

You must understand that a completed online from DS 3035 is the only acceptable format of this application by the US Department of State.

When completing the form DS 3035, you’re going to be providing information such as:

  • Your biographical information
  • The basis for which you are applying for J1 Waiver
  • A statement of reasons explaining why you want to remain in the US
  • A current address or contact information, and your most recent US address.
  • You’re also going to provide information about any attorneys or legal representatives who are assisting you with a J1 visa with the process.
  • If you happen to have any J2 dependent. You’re going to provide the biographical information of each of your J-2 dependents and also provide information about your J1 Visa Waiver and your J1 Exchange program.

While the form DS 3035 can be completed online, it cannot be submitted electronically and that’s why after completing your DS 3035, you would have to print out a completed form and mail this to the US Department of State.

Now, once you’ve completed the online form DS 3035, a seven digit case number and a barcoded PDF document will be generated containing your J1 Visa Waiver application. Now, this PDF will also include a checklist that explains how your application should be organized and what next steps you have to take in order to mail your application.

The exact locations we are going to be mailing your form DS 335 will depend on the basis for which you are applying for J1 Visa Waiver.

  • The next step would be to mill in your completed DS 3035 and include an application fee.

You can find more details about the cost of the form DS 3035 application fee at the US Department of State website that contains any updated application fees for your form DS 3035.

Some of the documents that you’re going to include in the mail with your form DS 3035 applications are:

  • Copies of all Forms DS-2019 that you’ve received
  • Copies of your Passport biographical page and those of your J2 Dependents (If any)
  • Two self-address and stamped envelopes and any additional pages
  • You might need to provide more information on your form DS-3035.

After mailing your application,

  • the third step in the application process is to provide the supporting documents that prove your eligibility for a J1 Visa Waiver to the US Department of State.

So, for example, if you’re applying for J1 Visa Waiver under the criteria of a no objection statement, then your home country would have to send directly the no objection statement to the US Department of State.

Now it is your responsibility to ensure that the supporting documents are received by the US Department of State from each of the respective agencies who are supporting your J1 Visa Waiver application.

Now, if you want to learn more about the different supporting documents to provide for a J1 Visa waiver, you can checkout this complete guide on how to apply for the J1 Visa Waiver.

  • The next step in the process would be to check the status of your J1 Visa Waiver application.

In order to check the status of your J1 Visa Waiver application, you would need your seven digit case number that was generated when you completed your phone DS 3035.

When checking the status of your J1 Visa Waiver application on the US Department of State website, this website will explain if there are any documents that have been requested and any documents that have been received from you.

Now it’s best to allow approximately one month after submitting your J1 Visa Waiver application before you go about checking the status of your J1 Visa Waiver application.

So common question you might have as a J1 Visa Waiver applicant is, how long does it take to get a response on your J1 Visa Waiver application?

This depends on the basis for which you’ve applied for a J1 Visa Waiver, and if you’ve applied under the condition of exceptional hardship to a US spouse or US Green Card spouse and children, this could take anywhere between 16 to 24 weeks. Now, you should note that under certain circumstances it is possible to request an expedited processing of your J1 Visa Waiver application.

This tends to be possible if there is a significant need of your services by a US government agency or if there happens to be an urgent humanitarian need that requires you to be in the US.

You should be understand that the condition for which your J1 visa waiver would be approved is based on the ultimate decision of the United States citizenship and immigration services, USCIS.

Although your J1 visa waiver application is initially reviewed by the U.S department of state. All the U.S department of state could do is to provide a recommendation to USCIS but USCIS has the final say on either rejecting or granting you a J1 visa waiver.

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is written for general information only and is NOT legal advice. The information presented in this article and anywhere else on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice. If you need legal advice, you may contact a licensed attorney.

 

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