U.S. State Department Waiver Review Procedures

Applicants must complete the U.S. Department of State Waiver Application Form (DS-3035 Data Sheet).

For more information on the federal process visit the U.S. Department of State Waiver Application Process website

Citizen & Immigration Services (USCIS) - Exchange Visitors

Understanding the Two-Year Foreign Residence Requirement

Exchange Visitors may be subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement of Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. They received funding from the United States Government, their own government, or an inter-national organization in connection with their participation in the Exchange Visitor Program
  2. The education training, or skill that they are pursuing in this country appears on the Exchange Visitor Skills List for their country
  3. They acquired J-1 status on or after January 10, 1977 for the purpose of receiving graduate medical education or training Education visitors who are subject to, but do not wish to comply with, the two-year home country residence requirement may apply for a waiver of that requirement under any one of five applicable grounds provided by United States immigration law

Basis for Obtaining a Waiver to the Requirement

Exchange visitors who are subject to, but do not wish to comply with, the two-year home country residence requirement, may apply for a waiver of that requirement under any one of the five applicable grounds provided by the United States immigration law. 

  1. "No Objection" Statement - The exchange visitor's government, must state that they have no objection to the exchange visitor not returning to the home country to satisfy the two-year foreign residence requirement of Section 213(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 213(e) as amended, and remaining in the U.S. if he or she chooses to do so.
  2. Request by an Interested United States Government Agency - If the exchange visitor is working on a project for or of interest to a U.S. Federal Government Agency and that agency has determined that the visitor's continued stay in the United States is vital to one of its programs, a waiver may be granted if the exchange visitor's continued stay in the United States is in the public interest.
    Note: For applications on behalf of foreign physicians, who agree to serve in medically underserved areas, please refer to Federal Register volume 62, Number102 of May 1997 announcing amendments to 22 CFR Part 514, Exchange Visitor Program.
  3. Persecution - If the exchange visitor believes that he or she will be persecuted upon return to the home country due to race, religion, or political opinion, he or she can apply for a waiver.
  4. Exceptional Hardship to a United States Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident Spouse or Child of an Exchange Visitor - If the exchange visitor can demonstrate that his or her departure from the United States would cause extreme hardship to his or her United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or child, he or she may apply for a waiver. (Please note that mere separation from family is not considered to be sufficient to establish exceptional hardship.)
  5. Request by a Designated State Health Department or Its Equivalent - Pursuant to the requirements of Public Law 103-416, of October 25, 1994, foreign medical graduates who have an offer of full-time employment at a health facility in a designated health professional shortage area, and agrees to begin employment at such facility within 90 days of receiving such waiver and signs a contract to continue to work at the health care facility for a total of 40 hours per week and not less than three years, may obtain a waiver.  In Kansas,  the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Division of Health, Bureau of Community Health Systems (BCHS) is the "designated state health department" and administers the J-1 Visa Waiver Program (currently the Conrad State 30 Program) authorized by the Immigration and Nationality Act.