Waiver of Foreign Residency Requirement
Grounds for Waiving Foreign Residency
The Foreign Residency Requirement may be waived in the following
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
Exception: A waiver is generally not available to medical
residents/interns who received medical training in the U.S.
An Interested Government Agency may request that the U.S. State
Department waive the Foreign Residency Requirement. Both the
U.S. State Department and the Immigration Service must agree to
grant the waiver.
If the person with J-1 status can establish that he or she will
suffer persecution upon return to the home country, the foreign
residency requirement will be waived. The threat of persecution
needs to be based on one of the following three grounds:
- Religion; or
- Political Opinion.
If complying with the Foreign Residency Requirements imposes
exceptional hardship on the alien's spouse or child, and the spouse
or child is a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident, the Foreign
Residency Requirement may be waived.
A designated State Health Agency 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. To qualify for the waiver, the person must
agree to work at the facility for forty hours per week, for a
minimum of three years. The doctor must begin work at the
health care facility within ninety days of the approval of the
You can read more about the requirements for the
J-1 Waiver for
Doctors, FAQs about J-1
Waiver for doctors and our news story about revisions to the
Physician Waiver Program for
There are four steps to processing a waiver review application.
STEP 1. You must complete and send a
application (the DS-3035), two self-addressed, stamped, legal-size envelopes
(S.A.S.E) and a cashier's check or money order for $230 U.S. dollars per
application, payable to the U.S. Department of State's
STEP 2. Once the Waiver Review Division has received your
Data Sheet application, they will use your self-addressed, stamped, legal-size
envelopes, to send you a case number and instruction sheet on how to proceed
with your application. This information will include a list of documents that
you must submit to complete your waiver review application. After you have
received your case number, you must write the full case number on any
documentation you submit as well as on the outside envelope of all future
correspondence with this office, or the documents you submit will be returned to
STEP 3. It is your responsibility to submit all requested
documents and required letters sent on your behalf. Once the State Department
sends you the check list of items necessary to complete the review of your
application (Step 2 above), it will be your responsibility to ensure that your
file is complete. You may check on the status of your application by calling
(202) 663-1600, or online through the
J-1 Waiver Status Website.
You must have your full case number to check the status of your case.
STEP 4: At the conclusion of the review process, the
Waiver Review Division will forward its recommendation directly to the Bureau of
Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security and
you will receive a copy of that recommendation at the address listed on your
data sheet. If your application is denied, you will be notified directly.