To assist waiver applicants, these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provide more detailed information generally not provided on the Eligibility and Instructions webpages. Therefore, ensure you have reviewed all relevant information available through the Waiver of the Exchange Visitor Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement webpage prior to filing your online J-1 Waiver Recommendation Application, DS-3035.
Review the Waiver Eligibility webpage, which explains in detail the five bases set forth in U.S. immigration law under which you may apply for a waiver of this requirement. You may only apply under one waiver basis, so select the one basis under which you believe you qualify for a waiver or that applies to your situation. The five bases for recommendation of a waiver are:
You should request the No Objection Statement from your home country government once you have your waiver case number. You will receive your waiver case number when you complete the online application. (See Step 1 of the Instructions.)
If your home country will not issue a No Objection Statement on your behalf, then you may apply for a waiver recommendation under one of the other bases, if it applies to your situation. Otherwise, if none of the other waiver bases applies, you must fulfill the two-year home-country physical-presence requirement.
No. If you believe that you qualify for a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement under both persecution and exceptional hardship to your U.S. citizen (or legal permanent resident) spouse or child, you may apply for a waiver recommendation under only one of these two bases.
You must contact USCIS to check the status of your Form I-612.
Requests to reconsider persecution or exceptional hardship applications must be made to USCIS.
You could apply for a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement through the request of an Interested U.S. Federal Government Agency or through the request of a designated State Public Health Department or its equivalent, also known as the Conrad State 30 Program. You may apply using only one waiver basis, and it must apply to your situation. Review information contained on the Eligibility webpage and Step 3 on the Instructions webpage for details about both waiver bases.
Review the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, as this information falls under its authority.
Please refer to the list of designated points of contact for state public health departments.
Once you have your waiver case number, you may check on the status of your waiver recommendation by visiting the J Visa Waiver Online website and selecting “Check the status.” After you have entered your case number, the system will indicate if your DS-3035 online application, copies of your DS-2019/IAP-66 forms, and fee payment (Step 2 of the Instructions) and supporting documents (Step 3 of the Instructions) have been received. You should allow approximately one month from the time all documents were submitted before checking your status online. If the system does not indicate that your supporting documents were received (Step 3 of the Instructions), then you need to check to verify that they were sent to us on your behalf.
For inquiries regarding your case or a Waiver of the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement in general that have not been addressed by the website, you may send an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org for a response.
Please inform us of any change of address, phone number, or email address using the J Visa Waiver Online website. Under “What would you like do?,” select “Inform the Department of State of a change to personal data.” It is important that we have your current contact information in case we need to contact you for further information and so we can send you our recommendation decision.
If you submitted a waiver recommendation application that is still pending a decision by the Waiver Review Division and you have new relevant information, you may send that information by mail to the Waiver Review Division. Use the address listed in Step 5 of the Instructions. While it is possible to submit additional documents after you have submitted your original application, we encourage all applicants to make their best case when submitting their applications at the beginning of the process.
No. Waiver recommendation applications are thoroughly considered, and the Waiver Review Division does not have a policy to reconsider applications once a final determination has been made. Also, there is no policy for you to appeal the Waiver Review Division’s determination. You may, however, reapply using another basis for waiver, if another basis applies to your situation.
Recommendation applications are denied when the reasons given for requesting the waiver do not outweigh the program and foreign policy considerations of the exchange visitor program. For this reason, waiver recommendation applications from exchange visitors who received U.S. government funding are generally denied.
With one exception, a denied waiver recommendation application cannot be reconsidered or appealed, and you should not apply again under the same basis as used in your original waiver request. The one exception is if you requested a waiver based on persecution or exceptional hardship to a U.S. citizen (or legal permanent resident) spouse or child, and you have new relevant information which you believe may result in a different decision. You may apply again to USCIS. However, please be aware that you will need to submit a new waiver recommendation application, including all documents listed in Steps 1 through 3 of the Instructions, and pay the processing fee.
Yes. A J-2 spouse or child is subject to the same requirements as a J-1 exchange visitor.
No. You are automatically included in your spouse’s or parent’s waiver recommendation application. Your spouse or parent will need to list you when completing the application for waiver recommendation, Form DS-3035.
Yes. If your J-1 spouse or parent receives a favorable recommendation from the Department of State’s Waiver Review Division, it will be forwarded to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If USCIS grants the waiver to your J-1 spouse or parent, then you will also benefit from that waiver.
With a few exceptions, J-2 spouses and children cannot independently apply for waiver recommendations when their J-1 spouses or parents are not applying.
The exceptions where the Waiver Review Division will consider requests for waiver recommendations from J-2 spouses and children are:
All such cases are evaluated by the Waiver Review Division on a case-by-case basis.
If you, as a J-2 spouse or child, believe that your situation merits special consideration based on one of the exceptions above, you should complete online form DS-3035, pay the processing fee (Steps 1 and 2 of the Instructions), and submit a statement explaining why you are applying for a waiver and your J-1 spouse or parent is not. Your statement should also explain why your situation merits special consideration. As applicable, you must also submit:
No. Processing fees are NOT refundable.
Yes. Since the fee is a processing fee, it is kept whether your waiver request is approved or denied. However, you should use the same case number as used in your first request for any subsequent applications.
It is a list of fields of specialized knowledge and skills that are deemed necessary for the development of an exchange visitor’s home country. See the Exchange Visitors Skills List for more information.
Generally, the country skills list for your country of citizenship or nationality applies to you. However, if the country of your citizenship or nationality differs from the country of your last legal permanent residence at the time you obtained your J-1 exchange visitor status, the skills list from the country of your last permanent residence at the time you obtained your J status would apply. Please note that some countries do not have skills lists.
Generally, the country which was your country of legal permanent residence when you received your J-1 status is the country to which you must return to fulfill the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, unless you obtain a waiver or the exception discussed in the next FAQ applies to you.
The period of time you spend in the United States or a third country after your exchange visitor program has ended may count toward fulfillment of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, if you are employed by your home country’s government, in its military service, or in its career foreign service and you are serving in a country other than your home country at the behest of your home country’s government. Before the Waiver Review Division can determine whether you have satisfied the physical presence requirement, we require a written statement from an official of your home government (through the home country's embassy in Washington, DC) that you were or will be serving in the United States or a third country in the service of your home country and at that government's request.
You will be issued a case number after you have completed the DS-3035 online application, available on the J Visa Waiver Online website. Although the application cannot be submitted online, the online system provides you a case number immediately, along with further instructions.
Yes, you will use the same case number for all future waiver recommendation applications or advisory opinion requests. If you initially submitted an advisory opinion request, use that same number when you apply for a waiver(s) at a later date.
The responsible officer or alternate responsible officer of the exchange visitor program in which you participated while on the J-1 visa should be able to supply you with copies of lost DS-2019/IAP-66 forms. However, it is your responsibility to keep all your DS 2019/IAP-66 forms. The Waiver Review Division cannot proceed with your waiver recommendation application until you have provided copies of all of your DS-2019/IAP-66 forms.
The Waiver Review Division will accept a signed letter from your responsible program officer with information about your program and your participation in it.
You should consult with your responsible program officer for assistance in making this determination. If your participation in an exchange visitor program was funded either in whole or in part by the U.S. government, your home country’s government, or an international organization that received funding from the U.S. government or your home country’s government, then you are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement.