J1 Visa

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

21. What is the Foreign Residency Requirement on J-1 visa?

You are subject to a requirement that you return to your home country to share with your countrymen the knowledge, experience and impressions gained during your stay in the U.S. Unless the USCIS approves a waiver for this requirement, you must depart from the U.S. and live in your country of residence for two years before you are allowed to apply for an immigrant visa, permanent residence, or change to H or L nonimmigrant status.

22. On what grounds is the Foreign Residency Requirement waived for J-1 visa?

The Foreign Residency Requirement may be waived in the following instances:

1. ‘No Objection’ Letter: The foreign residency requirement may be waived provided your home country’s government issues a ‘no objection’ letter to the U.S. State Department indicating that it does not object to the waiver grant

2. Exception: A waiver is generally not available to medical residents/interns who received medical training in the U.S.

3. Interested Government Agency Request (IGA): An IGA may request that the U.S. State Department waive the Foreign Residency Requirement. Both the U.S. State Department and the USCIS must agree to grant the waiver

4. Threat of Persecution: If you can establish that you will suffer persecution upon return to your home country, the foreign residency requirement will be waived. The threat of persecution needs to be based on:

a. Race

b. Religion

c. Political Opinion

5. Hardship: If complying with the Foreign Residency Requirements imposes exceptional hardship on your spouse or child, and the spouse or child is a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident

6. Designated State Health Agency Request: A designated State Health Agency or its equivalent may request a waiver on behalf of medical doctors who have been offered a full-time job with a health care facility serving an area with a shortage of medical professionals. In order to qualify for the waiver, the person must agree in writing to work at the facility for forty hours per week, for a minimum of three years and must begin work at the health care facility within ninety days of the waiver approval

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23. Who pays the J-1 training visa program fee?

The Council Exchanges expect that the employer (either the U.S. branch of the company, or the branch in the home country) would pay the J-1 training visa program fee.

24. Does receiving J-1 visa affect a trainee's chances of getting other visas?

As long as trainees abide by all the terms of the J-1 visa, they should not be precluded from applying for other visa types. Please bear in mind that trainees are expected to return to their home countries at the conclusion of their training, according to the J-1 visa regulations. In some countries, a two year home residency may be required.

25. Is health insurance a requirement for J-1 scholars?

Yes, the Department of State requires all J-1 scholars and their J-2 dependents to have health insurance in order to stay in the U.S.