The J-1 Visa is an exchange visitor visa for individuals approved to participate in work and study based exchange visitor programs. People qualified for this type of visa include research scholars, professors, and people obtaining medical and business training. The policy behind this visa is to promote cultural exchange, as upon completion of the above programs, the visitor is required to return to their home country for two years.
This two-year home residency requirement is a reason many people seek a waiver. A J-1 waiver will allow you to transition to another type of visa, without having to return to your home country for the two years.
People can generally avoid the two-year home residency requirement under any of the following conditions:
- Obtaining a “no objection” statement from the government in their home country, stating their home government has no objection to waiving the two-year home residency requirement. Foreign physicians are typically not able to obtain this type of statement;
- Demonstrating exceptional hardship to a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident (green card holder), if you were forced to return to your home country for two years;
- Demonstrating that a J-1 holder would be subject to persecution if they were forced to return to their home country;
- If a United States Federal governmental agency states the J-1 visa holders departure would be detrimental to its interest and the J-1 person is working on a project for the agency; or
- Physicians obtain a full-time job offer and approval from the State’s CONRAD program to work in an area where there is a shortage of health care professionals.
Physicians in residency programs who would like to obtain a J-1 waiver should ensure they begin the process of consulting with one of our attorneys upon beginning their final year of residency. There is much work to be done to ensure upon graduation from residency that you can transition into employment.
Finally, it should be noted that not all J-1 visas have a two year residency requirement necessitating the need for a waiver. A cursory glance at the J-1 visa will determine whether the home residency requirement applies.
Contact Shupe Dhawan to speak to an attorney regarding your J-1 visa or waiver.