J1 Visa Waiver Application
The J-1 visa is reserved for individuals approved to participate in work and study based exchange visitor programs. These are temporary programs designed for specific activities and specific time periods. Depending on the circumstances of the Exchange Visitor's program, some Exchange Visitors may be subject to something called a two-year foreign residency requirement. This means that before the Exchange Visitor can change status to certain other non-immigrant visa categories and/or pursue a U.S. Green Card, he must first leave the U.S. and return home for a period of two years.
If an Exchange Visitor feels that he cannot fulfill the two-year home residency requirement, he can request a waiver. Keep in mind that the Department of State (DOS) strives to uphold the purpose of international exchange programs, so a mere inconvenience in completing the home residency requirement will never be accepted as a basis for waiver. There are five different bases on which a J-1 waiver request can be made. For some Exchange Visitors, more than one category may apply. As the DOS has the discretion to recommend whether or not a waiver is granted, Exchange Visitors are encouraged to research the options available to them and choose the strongest category for their situation.
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