Waivers of the J-1 Residence Requirement

Please review the Two-Year Home-Residency page first in order to understand which J visa holders may become subject to this rule. Most Exchange Visitors on the J visa who are subject to the return requirement according to the Skills List are able to apply for, and often be granted a waiver of the two-year home-residency requirement. As the first step in the waiver process it is critical that Yale affiliates inform an advisor in the OISS of their intent to apply for a waiver before taking action. If you receive a waiver you will not be able to extend your J-1 status and this may jeopardize your ability to remain at Yale. 

There are several different eligibility categories for a waiver.  If you are subject because of the Skills List you will most likely seek a waiver by applying for a “no objection” statement from your home country.

The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Exchange Visitor Web site will guide you step by step through the No Objection waiver process. This waiver application is your personal application and OISS Advisors are not able to advise on application details. The following are the basic steps of a No Objection waiver based on being subject according to the Skills List:

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Speak to an OISS Advisor to create action plan to transition from the J-1 visa to your next visa using the waiver. The first step is normally to extend the J-1 DS-2019 form so that you are able to remain and work in the US during the waiver process, and until your employer is able to secure the next visa for you.

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Create your application account by logging on the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Exchange Visitor Web site.

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Submit all DS-2019 forms and other documentation into your Department of State application account.

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Contact your home government representative in Washington (or in some cases New York) to request that they begin to review your request for a “No Objection” statement.

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The home country issues the No Objection statement to the U.S. Department of State, and normally sends a copy to OISS.

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The Department of State approves your request by issuing a recommendation letter to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office in Vermont.

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The final waiver, Form I-612 is mailed to you from USCIS Vermont and is required for any change of immigration status application such as moving to H-1B or U.S. Permanent Resident.

NOTE: Scholars should never apply for the waiver without first consulting the OISS and establishing an action plan of how to move from the J visa to the next visa after the waiver.  It is often a problem if you apply for the waiver too early in the J-1 Exchange Visitor program, since the waiver cancels your ability to extend J Exchange Visitor status. Failure to inform the OISS of your intent to apply for a waiver could also jeopardize your ability to change status inside the U.S. from J-1 to H-1B.