Office of International Student & Scholar Services

J-1 Waiver

Most exchange visitors with J-1 visas are subject to 212(e), a two-year home-country physical presence requirement.  This requirement is part of the U.S. law, Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(e).  The individual with this 212(e) requirement must either fulfill the requirement to obtain a waiver before they are able to change their status in the United states in the U.S. or receive a visa in certain categories. 

If the individual is subject to the above requirement, but not able to fulfill it, they may apply for a waiver.  The individual may apply to the Department of State, Waiver Reviews Division, for a Recommendation that USCIS grant a waiver.

Waiver Categories: (For more information on waiver categories please refer to U.S. Department of State website.)

  1. No Objection Statement: a letter from the individual’s home country’s government permitting them to waive the home-country requirement and continue using their skills in the United States.
  2. Exceptional Hardship: exceptional hardship to a U.S. citizen (or lawful permanent resident) spouse or child of the exchange visitor.  The individual must demonstrate that leaving the U.S. to fulfill the requirement in their home country, their spouse or child who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident may face an exceptional hardship due to their absence.
  3. Persecution: The individual must demonstrate that they may be persecuted based on their race, religion, or political views by some individuals or organizations in their home country.
  4. Request by an Interested U.S. Federal Government Agency:  The individual is working on a project for or of interest to a U.S. Federal Government Agency.  The government agency has determined the departure of the individual for the two years will be detrimental to the agency’s interest.  The government agency will request the Waiver on the individual’s behalf. 
  5. Request by a Designated State Public Health Department or its Equivalent (Conrad State 30 Program):  A foreign Medical graduate who obtained J-1 status to pursue their graduate medical training or education in the U.S. may request a waiver based on the request of a designated State Public Health Department.  The individual must meet the following criteria:

 i.      have an offer of full-time employment at a health care facility in a designated health care professional shortage area or at a health care facility that serves patients from such a designated area;

 ii.      agree to begin employment at that facility within 90 days of receiving a waiver; and

 iii.      sign a contract to continue working at that health care facility for a total of 40 hours per week and for not less than three years.

Last Updated: 6/21/22