J-1 Visa and J-1 Waiver A J-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa available to aliens that fall under the designation “Exchange Visitor”. To obtain a J-1 Visa, your sponsor must be accredited through the Exchange Visitor Program designated by the U.S. State Department.
Certain classes of J-1 “Exchange Visitor” require that the alien return to his/her home country or country of last permanent residency for a period of two (2) years after completion of the J-1 status if: 1) the J-1 program is financed by the U.S. government or the government of the alien’s home country; 2) the home country of the alien has a short supply of people with skills that the alien has; or 3)the alien receives medical training as interns or residents.
Individuals who qualify for J-1 status if sponsored through an accredited Exchange Visitor Program include:
· Secondary school and college students, including students working towards a graduate degree.
· Business trainees
· Trainees in flight aviation programs.
· Primary and secondary school teachers.
· College professors.
· Research scholars.
· Medical residents or interns receiving medical training within the U.S.
Is it possible to waive the Foreign Residency Requirement? (J-1 Waiver) Yes. The Foreign Residency Requirement may be waived in the following instances:
· “No Objection” Letter
The foreign residency requirement may be waived provided your home country’s government issues a “no objection” letter to the U.S. State Department indicating that it does not object to the waiver grant.
Exception: A waiver is generally not available to medical residents/interns who received medical training in the U.S. For information about how to obtain a “No Objection” Letter, you can call our office.
· Interested Government Agency Request (IGA)
An (IGA) may request that the U.S. State Department waive the Foreign Residency Requirement. Both the U.S. State Department and the INS must agree to grant the waiver.
· Threat of Persecution
If the J-1 status alien can establish that he/she will suffer persecution upon return to the home country, the foreign residency requirement will be waived. The threat of persecution needs to be based on one of the following three (3) grounds:
b. Religion; or
c. Political Opinion.
Note: The alien has the burden to prove that he/she “will be subject to persecution.”
The alien need not prove past persecution.
If complying with the Foreign Residency Requirements imposes exceptional hardship on the alien’s spouse or child, and the spouse or child is a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident, the Foreign Residency Requirement may be waived.
· Designated State Health Agency Request
A designated State Health Agency or its equivalent may request a waiver on behalf of medical doctors who have been offered a full-time job with a health care facility serving an area with a shortage of medical professionals. In order to qualify for the waiver, the person must agree in writing to work at the facility for forty (40) hours per week, for a minimum of three (3) years and must begin work at the health care facility within ninety (90) days of the waive approval.