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U.S. Visas

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How to Apply Instructions - Waiver of the Exchange Visitor Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement


Before applying, be sure to read important Eligibility Information for a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement.

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STEP 1 – Complete the Online J Visa Waiver Recommendation Application

Complete the application, Form DS-3035, available on the J Visa Waiver Online webpage, following the online instructions. You must use the online form. No other version of Form DS-3035 will be accepted. If you submit a version of Form DS-3035 other than the online form, your application will be returned to you without the processing fee, which is non-refundable.

Important Information for Completing the Online J Visa Waiver Recommendation Application, Form DS-3035:

  • Item 12, when program approval was on Form IAP-66: For Item 12, SEVIS Number, enter the following: N0000000000 (must have 10 zeros). For Item 12, Subject Field Code, enter the following from the IAP-66 form: 00. followed by the 4-digit subject field code number from Form IAP-66 (example 00.2546).
  • Item 17: Applicants who entered on a J visa prior to February 1, 1999 should enter the date February 1, 1999 for item 17.
  • Item 14: If you have a spouse or children who had J-2 status based on your participation in an exchange visitor program, you must list them in item 14. (Review Frequently Asked Questions about dependent J-2 spouses and children.)

After you complete the online form, your information will be downloaded into a barcode, and you will be immediately issued a waiver case number and further instructions. Next, you must print your online Form DS-3035 with barcode. Please note that the barcode must be printed in black and white only.

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STEP 2 – Mail your Waiver Application and Fee Payment

Mail the following items to one of the two addresses below, depending on the mailing method you choose:

  • Your completed online application, Form DS-3035, with barcode that you printed;
  • Legible copies of every/all Form DS-2019/IAP-66 ever issued to you;
  • Two self-addressed, stamped legal-size envelopes; and
  • The application fee. Review Exchange Visitor Visa Waiver Fee for detailed information about fee payment.

Postal Service

Department of State J-1 Waiver
P.O. Box 979037
St. Louis, MO 63197-9000

Courier Service

Department of State J-1 Waiver
P.O. Box 979037
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101-1200

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: You must submit your completed online application with barcode and fee payment together. If you send one of these items without the other, it will be returned to you, and your application will not be processed.

Your application fee will be processed at our office in St. Louis, MO, and then your case will be forwarded to the Department of State, Waiver Review Division in Washington, DC. Please note that applications mailed or faxed directly to the Waiver Review Division in Washington, DC will not be processed and will be returned to you.

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STEP 3 – Submit Supporting Documents

Supporting documents, in addition to what you submitted in Step 2, are required. These supporting documents are determined by the basis for which you request a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement and must be submitted on your behalf to the Waiver Review Division by others as applicable, for example by your home country’s government or other government agencies, as outlined in the chart below (referenced as “third party” following in this webpage).

Waiver Basis

Organization (Third Party)

No Objection Statement

Your home country's government

Request by an Interested U.S. Federal Government Agency

Interested U.S. federal government agency

Persecution

USCIS

Exceptional Hardship to a U.S. Citizen (or lawful permanent resident) spouse or child

USCIS

Request by a Designated State Public Health Department or its Equivalent (Conrad State 30 Program)

Designated State Public Health Department or its Equivalent

It is your responsibility to ensure that supporting documents from third parties are sent to us on your behalf. The Waiver Review Division will NOT follow up on required supporting documents that have not been received.

After you have ensured that supporting documents have been submitted by the third party on your behalf, you may verify that we have received them by checking your application status on the J Visa Waiver Online webpage. You should allow approximately 1 month from the date all supporting documents were submitted before checking your status online.

Supporting documents from third parties must be sent to the Waiver Review Division using the following address:

Waiver Review Division
U.S. Department of State
CA/VO/DO/W
SA-17, Floor 11
Washington, DC 20522-1711

No Objection Statement

Your home country’s government must issue a No Objection Statement through its Embassy in Washington, DC that it has no objection to you not returning to your home country to satisfy the two-year home-country physical presence requirement and no objection to the possibility of you becoming a U.S. lawful permanent resident. The No Objection Statement must be sent directly to the Waiver Review Division. (Note: The No Objection Statement cannot be provided to you, the waiver applicant, to submit to the Waiver Review Division.) You must contact the consular section of your home country’s embassy in Washington, DC to make this request. The No Objection Statement may alternatively be issued by a designated ministry in your home government and sent to the U.S. Chief of Mission, Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy within that country. The U.S. Embassy would then forward it directly to the Waiver Review Division.

Note: U.S. law does not permit foreign medical physicians who acquired J-1 status on or after January 10, 1977, for the purpose of receiving graduate medical education or training to request waivers under this basis.

Request by an Interested U.S. Federal Government Agency

The interested U.S. federal government agency request, in the form of a letter, must be signed by the head of the agency, or his or her designee, and submitted directly to the Waiver Review Division. (Note: The interested U.S. federal government agency request cannot be provided to you, the waiver applicant, to submit to the Waiver Review Division.) The letter must explain why granting a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement is in the public interest of the United States and why it would be detrimental to the agency if you must return to your home country to fulfill the requirement. Any U.S. federal government agency may request a waiver under this basis. 

Interested Government Agency Request on behalf of a foreign physician who agrees to serve in a medically under-served area - The interested U.S. federal government agency must send the following supporting documents directly to the Waiver Review Division. (Note: These supporting documents cannot be provided to you, the waiver applicant, to submit to the Waiver Review Division.):

  • Copies of all DS-2019 /IAP-66 forms issued to you;
  • Your curriculum vitae;
  • A statement signed and dated by you that reads exactly as follows:

"I,__________(your name) hereby declare and certify, under penalty of the provisions of 18USC.1001, that: (1) I have sought or obtained the cooperation of_______(enter name of U.S. Government agency which will submit/is submitting an Interested Government Agency Waiver request on your behalf to obtain a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement); and (2) I do not now have pending nor will I submit another request to any U.S. Government department or agency or its equivalent, to act on my behalf in any matter relating to a waiver of my two-year home residence requirement.";

  • A letter of request from the head of the agency, or a designated official, stating why it is in the public interest that you be granted a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement (section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act);
  • A signed contract for no less than three years and 40 hours a week between you and the facility where you will work;
  • Evidence that the clinic/facility is located in a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designated Health Professional Shortage Area or Medically Underserved Area;
  • A statement signed by the head of the facility at which you will be employed stating the facility is located in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area or Medically Underserved Area and provides medical care to both Medicaid- and Medicare-eligible patients, and indigent uninsured patients. The statement should also include the Federal Information Processing Standards county code and census tract or block numbering area number (assigned by the Bureau of Census) or the 9-digit zip code of the area where the facility is located;
  • Evidence that unsuccessful efforts were made to recruit a U.S. citizen physician for the position (for example, medical journal advertisements; labor certification; or language in a cover letter stating efforts to recruit a U.S. citizen physician have been unsuccessful); and
  • Form G-28 or letter from a law office, if you designated an attorney to represent you.

Interested Government Agency Request from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on behalf of an exchange visitor physician to serve in a VA hospital:

  • VA hospitals do not have to be in an underserved area; and
  • VA applications must include a signed memorandum of agreement between you and the hospital in lieu of a three-year contract.

Persecution

You must submit Form I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement directly to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS will forward its decision directly to the Waiver Review Division. The Waiver Review Division will proceed with a waiver recommendation under this basis only if USCIS makes a finding of persecution.

You may complete the waiver application with fee payment (Steps 1 and 2) either before you submit Form I-612 to USCIS or after USCIS has informed the Waiver Review Division that it made a finding of persecution. However, if you complete the waiver application, online Form DS-3035, and pay the nonrefundable fee before you submit Form I-612 to USCIS, you will not receive a refund of the application fee in the event that USCIS does not make a persecution finding.

Exceptional Hardship to a U.S. citizen (or lawful permanent resident) spouse or child

Note: Mere separation from your U.S. citizen (or lawful permanent resident) spouse or child is not considered to be sufficient to establish exceptional hardship.

You must submit Form I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement directly to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS will forward its decision directly to the Waiver Review Division. The Waiver Review Division will proceed with a waiver recommendation under this basis only if USCIS makes a finding of exceptional hardship.

You may complete the waiver application with fee payment (Steps 1 and 2) either before you submit Form I-612 to USCIS or after USCIS has informed the Waiver Review Division that it made a finding of exceptional hardship. However, if you complete the waiver application, online Form DS-3035, and pay the nonrefundable fee before you submit Form I-612 to USCIS, you will not receive a refund of the application fee in the event that USCIS does not make an exceptional hardship finding.

Request by a Designated State Public Health Department or its Equivalent (Conrad State 30 Program)

Note: Only foreign medical doctors who received their exchange visitor J-1 status to pursue graduate medical education or training may apply for a waiver under this basis.

Review the list of State Public Health Departments. The designated state public health department must send the following items directly to the Waiver Review Division. (Note: These items cannot be provided to you, the waiver applicant, to submit to the Waiver Review Division.):

  • Copies of all of your DS-2019/IAP-66 forms;
  • Your curriculum vitae;
  • A letter from the state public health department’s designated official (designated by the state governor) which states it is in the public interest that you remain in the U.S. and includes the following:
  1. Your name
  2. Your country of last legal permanent residence
  3. Name of medical facility
  4. Address of facility
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) ID number of medical shortage area
  6. A letter from the facility that wishes to hire you;
  • Evidence that the facility is in a Health Professional Shortage Area or a Medically Underserved Area;
  • A signed contract for no less than 40 hours a week for three years between the facility and you, with signatures by you and the head of the facility; and
  • Form G-28 or letter from a law office, if you designated an attorney to represent you.

NOTE: If you request a waiver under this basis and you also received funding from your home country government to participate in the exchange program, your home country’s government must submit a No Objection Statement directly to the Waiver Review Division. (Please see No Objection Statement instructions.) The No Objection Statement is in addition to the waiver request by the designated state public health department, explained above. The No Objection Statement must clearly state that it is for a Request by a Designated State Public Health Department (or its equivalent), or a Conrad State 30 Program, waiver.

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STEP 4 – Check your Waiver Request Status and Update your Contact Information

Once you have submitted your waiver application and copies of DS-2019/IAP-66 forms, paid the fee (Step 2), and ensured that supporting documents were submitted (Step 3), The Waiver Review Division will consider your application to be complete, and you may check on the status of your waiver application by visiting the J Visa Waiver Online webpage and selecting “Check the status.” After you have entered your case number, the system will indicate if your DS-3035 online application and fee payment (Step 2 of the Instructions) and supporting documents (Step 3 of the Instructions) have been received. The system will also inform you if any required documents are missing. You should allow approximately one month from the time all documents were submitted before checking your status online. 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 212ewaiver@state.gov for a response.

If your contact information (address, phone number, or email address) changes while your request is being processed, you must update your information through the J Visa Waiver Online webpage by selecting “Inform the Department of State of a change to personal data.” We will not be able to contact you in case we need additional information to process your waiver request unless we have your accurate contact information.

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STEP 5 – If the Waiver Review Division Needs More Information from You

If the Waiver Review Division needs further information or additional documents from you, we will contact you using the contact information you provided on your online Form DS-3035.

If we request further information or additional documents from you, you should use the following address to send it to us:

Waiver Review Division
U.S. Department of State
CA/VO/DO/W
SA-17, Floor 11
Washington, DC 20522-1711

Do not use this address when you are first submitting your waiver application and fee payment (Step 2).

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STEP 6 – Processing Times

Processing times for waiver recommendations by the Department of State, Waiver Review Division vary depending on the basis under which you request a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement. The times listed below are estimates only. The processing time for your application begins when your file is complete. Your file is complete after we have received your waiver application, processing fee, copies of DS-2019/IAP-66 forms (Step 2), and all required documents (Step 3).

No Objection Statement

6 to 8 weeks

Interested U.S. Federal Government Agency

4 to 8 weeks

Persecution

3 to 4 months

Exceptional Hardship

3 to 4 months

State Public Health Department (Conrad State 30 Program)

4 to 6 weeks

Advisory Opinion

4 to 6 weeks

Notice: Some waiver recommendation applications require further administrative processing. For these cases, it will take additional time for the Waiver Review Division to send its recommendation to USCIS.

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STEP 7 – Department of State Recommendation and Final Determination by USCIS

At the conclusion of the review process, the Department of State, Waiver Review Division will forward its recommendation directly to USCIS. You will receive a copy of that recommendation at the address you listed on your online Form DS-3035, or the most current address we have for you if you reported a change of address.

If we do not recommend to USCIS that you be granted a waiver, you will be sent a copy of the unfavorable waiver recommendation that is sent to USCIS.

USCIS makes the final determination on your waiver request. USCIS will decide whether your waiver application is approved or denied and will notify you directly at the address you provided. After the Waiver Review Division has sent its recommendation to USCIS, you must contact USCIS if you would like to know the status of your case.

Since USCIS is the final waiver authority, you must consider yourself without a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement and act accordingly until USCIS notifies you of an approved waiver.