1. What are the bases upon which I can apply for a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement?
The five bases for recommendation of a waiver are:
No Objection Statement;
Request by an Interested U.S. Federal Government Agency;
Exceptional Hardship to a U.S. Citizen (or lawful permanent resident) Spouse or Child of an Exchange Visitor; and
Request by a Designated State Public Health Department or its Equivalent (Conrad State 30 Program).
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.
2. Where should I request a No Objection Statement?
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.
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 No Objection basis.
3. I am the J-2 spouse or child of a J-1 exchange visitor who is subject to the two-year home-county physical presence requirement. An I also subject to the two-year home-county physical presence requirement?
Yes. A J-2 spouse or child is subject to the same requirements as a J-1 exchange visitor.
4. If my J-1 spouse or parent obtains a recommendation for waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, will it also apply to me, as a J-2 spouse or child of an exchange visitor?
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.
5. My J-1 spouse or parent is subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, but is not applying for a waiver recommendation. May I, as his or her J-2 spouse or child, apply?
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:
when the J-1 spouse dies;
when the J-1 and J-2 spouses divorce; and
when a J-2 child reaches age 21.
All such cases are evaluated by the Waiver Review Division on a case-by-case basis.
6. I am a former J-1 exchange visitor from country X. Instead of returning home to country X after I completed my program in the U.S., I moved to country Y. Can I fulfill the two-year home-country physical presence requirement in country Y?
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.
7. Can I serve my two-year home-country physical presence requirement in the U.S. or a third country?
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.
Resource: Department of State