Immigration Center of
Ekaterina Mouratova, PA

Exchange visitors (J visa) - removal of two-year abroad restriction

The J-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa issued by the United States of America. Besides students who come to the US to perform a temporary seasonal work, this type of visa may be issued to professors, research scholars, and other exchange visitors who are participating in certain programs. In later cases J visa may be issued on condition that after accomplishing a program in the US, a person returns to his home country and resides there for not less than two years before this person may apply for any other immigration benefit (for example, for a change of status to another non-immigrant visa or for a green card). The foreign residency requirement is most commonly associated with those involved in business or medical training in the United States. 


In order to obtain admission into the United States through a J-visa program, a foreign national must meet all of the basic eligibility requirements. That individual must also be sponsored appropriately by a university, some type of governmental program, or a suitable program in the private sector. 


When a J-1 visa expires, the foreign national typically is required to return to his or her nation of origin for a minimum of two years before he or she can return to the United States. However, under certain circumstances, it is possible to obtain a waiver of this foreign residency requirement. In many instances, it is in the best interest of a foreign national in the United States on a J-1 visa seeking a waiver of the foreign residency requirement to seek the assistance of a skilled and experienced immigration lawyer. A qualified immigration attorney will be versed in the process for seeking a waiver of this foreign residency requirement


Seeking a Waiver


A person in the United States on a J-1 visa seeks a waiver from the two-year home-country physical presence requirement via the U.S. State Department's Waiver Division. Understanding the process and making proper application is very important and should be done only with the assistance of an immigration attorney.


Reasons for Waiver


There are five primary reasons upon which a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement can be sought.


First, a waiver can be sought if the embassy of the foreign national's home country issues a no-objection statement. In other words, the home country has no objection to the foreign national not returning to the home nation for a two-year period of time.


Second, a waiver can be sought if requested by an agency of the U.S. federal government.


Third, a waiver can be pursued if the foreign national faces the prospect of persecution because of race, religion, or political opinion if he or she returns to the home country.


Fourth, seeking a waiver is permissible if a return to the home country would cause an undue hardship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, such as the applicant's spouse.


Finally, seeking a waiver is acceptable if a request is made by the public health department of a U.S. state. 


An experience immigration attorney can assist a person with the waiver process and help to avoid costly mistakes. 

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