Before pursuing a J-1 visa waiver, it is important to do some research. This blog will answer from frequently asked questions on the J-1 Visa Waiver. This blog will provide useful information on this topic however, please remember this blog is not official legal advice and that it is still essential that J-1 visa waiver applicants consult with an immigration attorney before moving forward.

J-1 Visa Waiver – FAQs                   

Q: Is it possible to submit a waiver that claims both exceptional hardship and fear of persecution possible?

A: No. Never combine those two kinds of waivers.


Q: If my application claims fear of persecution and is subsequently denied, can I appeal it?

A: Yes. It’s possible to send the USCIS a reconsideration request.


Q: How long does it take to process a waiver that claims fear of persecution?

A: After all of the necessary documentation has been received by the State Department, this type of waiver can take up to 3-4 months to process.


Q: I want to apply for a waiver that claims exceptional hardship in the event that I go back to my country of origin. What are the necessary forms that I need to complete?

A: There are two essential forms that have to be filled out and submitted. The USCIS will require Form I-612, and the Department of State will require Form DS-3035.


Q: Which form should I submit first: Form I-612 or Form DS-3035?

A: These forms can be completed simultaneously. However, if you plan on doing one at a time, wait for Form I-612 to be approved before filing Form DS-3035.


Q: The USCIS has denied my application claiming exceptional hardship. Can I file an appeal?

A: Yes. The USCIS accepts reconsideration requests for this particular denial.


Q: I submitted a waiver claiming exceptional hardship. How long will it take to process?

A: The website of the State Department outlines that once the department receives all required documentation, this type of waiver can take up to 3-4 months to process.


Q: If I submit a waiver due to a State Health Agency request, how long will it take to process?

A: The website of the State Department outlines that once the department receives all required documentation, this type of waiver can take up to 4-6 weeks to process.


Q: Is it possible to send the State Health Agency’s forms to the Department of State on my own?

A: No. It is the State Health Agency’s responsibility to send all of the required documentation.


Q: I want to see a list from the Department of Health and Homan Services that outlines areas described as under-served. Where can I obtain this list?

A: The website for the Department of Health and Human Services offers this list.


Q: Once the State Department’s Waiver Review Divison has approved my submission, who is in charge of the final decision?

A: Once the waiver request is approved by the Waiver Review Division, the USCIS will then receive it and offer a final approval or denial.


Q: As a J-2 holder, am I required to fulfill the two-year foreign residency requirement?

A: Yes. The same residency requirements that apply to principals are also applicable to their J-2 holders.


Q: As a J-2 holder, am I exempt from fulfilling the two-year foreign residency requirement if the J-1 principal has been approved for a waiver?

A: Yes. In short, if a J-1 principal is approved for having the two-year foreign residency requirement waived, the same requirement will also be waived for you.


Q: As a J-2 holder, can I independently file for a waiver petition?

A: In most situations, no. However, under certain circumstances, filing independently might be permissible. For example, this type of waiver petition is possible in scenarios where the J-2 holder and J-1 principal enter a divorce, or if the J-1 principal is deceased. Each situation is unique; it’s recommended that you contact an immigration attorney for specific advice.

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If you're trying to obtain a Green Card or Visa you need to speak with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your case consultation.

Yuvora Nong
Helping VA, MD & Washington D.C. clients with all of their immigration law legal needs since 1997.
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