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Apply for a Waiver of the Exchange Visitor Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement


Read the Eligibility Information before you begin your waiver application.

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STEP 1 – Complete the Online J Visa Waiver Recommendation Application

Complete Form DS-3035, available on the J Visa Waiver Online webpage. Follow the online instructions. You must use the online form. Did you submit another form version? We will return your waiver application to you without the processing fee. The fee is non-refundable.

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

  • Item 12, SEVIS Number, when program approval was on Form IAP-66: 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 before 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, list them in item 14. (Review Frequently Asked Questions about dependent J-2 spouses and children.)

Your information will download into a barcode after you complete the online form. You will be immediately issued a waiver case number and further instructions. Next, you must print your online Form DS-3035 with barcode. You must print the barcode in black and white. Do not print in color.

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STEP 2 – Mail your Waiver Application and Fee Payment

Mail the following items to one of the two addresses below. The address you must use will depend 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 application with barcode and fee payment together. Did you submit one item without the other? We will return that item to you, and we will not process your application.

We process your application fee at our office in St. Louis, MO. Next, we forward your case to the Department of State, Waiver Review Division in Washington, DC. We will not process an application sent to the incorrect address. We will return your application to you.

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STEP 3 – Submit Supporting Documents

Next, submit your required supporting documents. These documents are extra to what you submitted in Step 2. What supporting documents must you submit? It will depend on the basis for which you request a waiver. Others must submit documents for you to the Waiver Review Division, if applicable. See the chart below. (We refer to others 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

You must ensure that third parties send to us any supporting documents for you. The Waiver Review Division will NOT follow up on missing required supporting documents.

Next, you may verify we received supporting documents from third parties. You may check your application status on the J Visa Waiver Online webpage. Allow approximately 1 month after you and the third party submit all supporting document before checking.

Third parties must send supporting documents  to:

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. Specifically, its Embassy in Washington, DC must issue the statement.  It must state your government 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 Embassy must send the No Objection Statement to the Waiver Review Division. (Note: The Embassy cannot provide it to you to submit.) Contact the consular section in your home country’s embassy in Washington, DC to make this request.

Alternatively, a designated ministry in your home government may issue the No Objection Statement. The ministry would then send it 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, to receive graduate medical education or training to request waivers under this basis.

Request by an Interested U.S. Federal Government Agency

A request by an interested U.S. federal government agency must be in a letter. The head of the agency, or his or her designee, must sign the letter and submit it to the Waiver Review Division. (Note: The interested U.S. federal government agency cannot provide the letter to you to submit.) 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 to the Waiver Review Division. (Note: The interested agency cannot provide the supporting documents to you to submit.):

  • 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 receive 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 it made unsuccessful efforts 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 place of a three-year contract.

Persecution

You must submit Form I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS will forward its decision 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. If you complete Steps 1 and 2 before you submit Form I-612 to USCIS, you will not receive a refund of the application fee if 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 sufficient to establish exceptional hardship.

You must submit Form I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS will forward its decision 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. If you complete Steps 1 and 2 before you submit Form I-612 to USCIS, you will not receive a refund of the application fee if 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 to the Waiver Review Division. (Note: The state public health department cannot provide these items to you to submit.):

  • 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: Will you request a waiver under this basis and did you also receive funding from your home country government to participate in the exchange program? If so, then your home country’s government must submit a No Objection Statement 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 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

After you complete Steps 1-3, your waiver application is complete. To check the status of your case, go to the J Visa Waiver Online webpage and select “Check the status.” Next, enter your case number. It will say if we received your DS-3035 online application and fee payment (Step 2 of the Instructions) and supporting documents (Step 3 of the Instructions). The system will also inform you if any required documents are missing. Allow approximately one month after submitting a complete application before checking your status. You may send questions about your case or questions that are not answered on this website to 212ewaiver@state.gov. We will send you a response by email.

Has your contact information (address, phone number, or email address) changed? You must update your information on the J Visa Waiver Online webpage. Select “Inform the Department of State of a change to personal data.” We can contact you only if we have your accurate contact information. 

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

If we need more information or documents from you, we will contact you. We will use the contact information you provided on your online Form DS-3035.

Use this address to send us any further information or documents we request:

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 vary depending on the basis under which you request a waiver. The times listed below are estimates only. The processing time for your application begins when your file is complete. Your file is complete when we have 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. It will take additional time for the Waiver Review Division to send its recommendation to USCIS for such cases.

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

The Department of State, Waiver Review Division will forward its recommendation to USCIS. We will send you a copy of that recommendation at the address on your online Form DS-3035, or your current address if you reported a change.

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

USCIS makes the final determination on your waiver request. USCIS will decide whether to approve or deny your waiver application. USCIS will notify you at the address you provided. After the Waiver Review Division sends its recommendation to USCIS, you must contact USCIS for the status of your case.

USCIS is the final waiver authority. You do not have a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement until USCIS informs you of an approved waiver.