Generally, J-1 visa holders have a residency requirement placed on their visa if their profession or area of study is within the exchange visitor skills list subject to Section 212(e) (click here for the current list). However, the easiest way to determine whether a J-1 visa has the residency requirement is to inspect the visa to see if the requirement is stated.
If a J-1 visa holder seeks to remain in the United States beyond the end date of their program, whether by other employment or marriage to a U.S. Citizen, there are five statutory basis in which to request the removal of the residency requirements.
- Exceptional Hardship to a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or child
- Likely Persecution due to the visa holder’s race, religion, or political opinion
- A U.S. Government Agency makes the request on the visa holder’s behalf
- No Objection Statement by the foreign government
- A State Public Health Department (Conrad State 30 Program) for foreign medical graduates
It must be stated that requesting a waiver of a home residency requirement does not guarantee that a waiver will be given. Before a J-1 visa holder enters the U.S., some agree to return to the home country for two years. So, some may get the waiver, whereas others may not.
If you are interested in requesting your own waiver for a home residency requirement, you should speak with a local immigration attorney.
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