How to Get a J-1 Visa Homestay Waiver and No Objection Statement
Exchange visitors come to the U.S. to pursue short term work or study exchange programs. For many exchange visitors, a visit to the U.S. turns into an opportunity for long-term success in the U.S. Unfortunately, the U.S. generally imposes a requirement that J-1 exchange visitors return to their country for a minimum of two years before returning to the U.S.The two-year home country physical presence requirement can create what feels like an eternity of time between stays in the U.S., and thus many exchange visitors look for an option to stay.
What follows is a general tutorial on the procedure to apply for a waiver of the exchange visitor home-country physical presence requirement and a no objection statement from your embassy.
The application for a Waiver of the Exchange Visitor Two-year Home-country Physical Presence Requirement requires payment of a $215 filing fee (on last review of USCIS policy). To apply for a J-1 Waiver, you must 1) complete the online J Visa Waiver Recommendation Application; 2) Mail your Waiver Application and Fee Payment; 3) Submit Supporting Documents; 4) Check your Waiver Request Status and Update your Contact Information; 5) Provide extra information if the WRD needs more information from you; 6) Wait the necessary processing time; 7) Receive the Department of State Recommendation and Final Determination by USCIS.
Complete a J-Visa Waiver Application Online
First, complete the DS-3035 J-Visa Waiver Application online. You will need the following documents and info:
- You passport with your U.S. visas
- Legible copies of all DS-2019 or IAP-66 forms
- Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative (G-28) (if applicable);
- Names and dates of birth of any J-2 dependents (spouse or children) and/or the EV’s J-1 spouse;
- I-94 Departure Record card (if you are still in the U.S.)
- Alien Registration “A” number (if applicable).
We recommend that you prepare you answers to the following questions beforehand, and then cut and paste the answers into the online application. Otherwise, your session may time out (after 60 minutes) and you may lose your data.
You will be asked:
- Full name;
- Date of Birth;
- Country of Birth;
- Citizenship Country;
- Country of Legal Permanent Residence;
- Case number if you have one;
- Other names you are, or have been, known by;
- The basis on which you are applying for a waiver (e.g. no objection statement from the home government; State Health Agency Request [know whether your government funded any portion of your program while under a “J” visa]; Request by an Interested U.S. Government Agency (IGA) [other or physician]; Exceptional hardship to a U.S. citizen (or permanent resident) spouse or child of exchange visitor; persecution);
- Statement of Reason: please write a statement demonstrating why you are eligible to receive a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement of section 212(e) of the INA. The length of the statement may vary;
- You current address, home and business phone number, fax number, and email address;
- Verify your most recent U.S. city and state (if you left, the last place you were, or where you are now);
- Enter Attorney Information (Law Firm or Organization Name; Address; City and State; Name of Attorney, Phone, fax, and email. Have your attorney’s G-28 Representation form ready);
- Your mailing address (this is where you want the WRD to send correspondence, including your recommendation;
- Your Exchange Visitor Program information;
- You must enter for EACH DS-2019 or IAP-66 form of the exchange visitor starting with the most recent DS-2019. If you do not have all DS-2019 forms, contact your program sponsor to get a copy or a letter with the necessary information. If the program approval was on IAP-66, enter N0000000000 (10 zeros) for the Sevis number. Enter “00.4 digit subject field code number from the IAP (e.g. 00.254)” from the IAP-66 form for the Subject/Field Code;
- SEVIS Number;
- Program Number;
- Purpose of the Form (new program; program continuation/extension; program transfer; follow to join; reinstatement request; replace/amend previous form; program sponsor statement; update financial information);
- Whether any of your exchange visitor programs include U.S. Government funds, funds from your own government, or international organization funds;
- Time not covered by DS-2019 for you;
- Whether there is any period of time in the U.S. that is not covered by DS-2019 or IAP-66 form. Give an explanation, if yes;
- J-2 Information for spouse and dependents: Full name, date of birth, country of birth, relationship, and J-1 case number;
- First J-1 Visa information: Date, port of entry, state of entry, and issuing post (city)
- Alien Registration Number (“A” number); and I—94 Number (no spaces);
Basis for Waiver
No objection statement. Without a no objection statement, applicants must satisfy the two-year foreign residence requirement of Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and return to his or her home country.
State Health Agency Request. If you are a foreign medical school graduate, who has an offer of full time employment at a health care facility and are working in an area experiencing a designated shortage of health care professionals, you may be eligible to apply for a waiver. Please note, to fully qualify for a waiver on this basis, you must agree to begin employment at the health care facility within 90 days of receiving the waiver, and sign a contract to continue to work at the facility full time for no less than three years. Please note that the law permits only medical doctors to apply for a waiver on this basis. However, if the exchange visitor’s government funded their program, the EV must also request a “no objection” statement from the country to which they are otherwise obligated to return.
Request by IGA. If you are working on a project for, or of interest to, a U.S. Federal Government agency, and that agency determines that your contribution and stay in the United States is vital to one of its programs, you may apply for a waiver. Please be advised that your continued stay in the United States must be in the public interest. Please note that if you are a foreign physician who agrees to serve in a medically under-served area, please refer to the Federal Register Volume 62, No. 102 of May 28, 1997 for additional information.
Exceptional Hardship. If you, the exchange visitor, can demonstrate that your departure from the United States would cause exceptional hardship to your United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or child, you may apply for a waiver. Please be aware that mere separation from your family is not considered to be sufficient to establish an exceptional hardship.
Persecution: If you believe that you will be persecuted upon return to your home country because of your race, religion, or political opinion, you can apply for a waiver.
Before submitting the application, verify that all of your information is correct. After you submit your information, a new case number will be generated for you. Once you hit the “display” button, your visa waiver packet will generate; save it first, then print it. Please see the attached sample print out.
Make a copy of all of your DS-2019 or IAP-66 forms; and a copy of the data page of the EV’s current passport containing your name and birth date. Wait for your WRD assigned case number and additional instructions using your SASE. You should receive instructions to submit documents or other information.
Request a No Objection Statement
Your home country’s government must issue a No Objection Statement through its embassy in Washington, DC, stating that it has no objection to you not returning to your home country to satisfy the two-year home-country physical permanent resident. Contact the consular section of your embassy in Washington, D.C. to request that a “no objection” statement be forwarded to the Department of State on your behalf.
To get your NOS, each country has different requirements. Consult your country’s embassy website to determine exactly what you need to submit. For example, you may need to submit the following:
- A copy of your completed data sheet, including the “Third Party Barcode Page”
- Your waiver case file number;
- The number, place of issue and expiration date of your passport;
- Payment of a fee by credit card or US Postal Money Order; and
- A signed declaration made before and signed by a public notary in the following form: “I, [insert your name] do solemnly and sincerely declare that I am under no obligation, financial or otherwise, to return to [my home country] at the completion of my exchange in the United States of America under the J Visa program.”
Send all such documents required to your embassy in Washington, D.C. The letter of No Objection Statement will be sent to the U.S. Department of State Waiver Review Division after embassy processing.