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J1 Visa Waiver Application Process and Timeline (Introduction)

Updated: Feb 18


J1 Visa Waiver (India): I am a post-doctoral research scientist with the University of California, Riverside and I have gone through the J1 visa waiver process (212e waiver). I am sharing my experience with everyone, which I believe would help others obtain a J1 waiver quickly.


I referred to several blogs and videos about how to obtain a J1 visa waiver which was very time-consuming. The whole J1 visa waiver NORI procedure is tedious and a lot of people don’t know how the process is. To reduce the complexity, I have divided the whole process into 3 stages, I will refer to them as NORI stages:



Before I begin I would like to clarify that these J1 visa waiver steps might change in the future or slightly differ for you based on your location within the United States. I applied it from the Consulate Journal of India, San Francisco, California as I live in Riverside, CA. However, the overall J1 visa waiver application process should not vary much.



Table of Contents: J1 Waiver (India)


What is a J1 waiver?

A J1 visa is a non-immigrant visa granted to individuals who want to participate in the exchange visitors program in the United States.

Some individuals will be subject to a 2-year home country physical presence requirement under which the applicant has to go back to their home country and serve for a minimum of 2 years. To waive off this J1 visa two-year rule, you need to obtain a J1 waiver.



Am I subject to the J1 two-year rule?

To check if you are subject to the J1 two-year rule, please check either your J1 visa stamp or your DS-2019 form, as either of them may indicate the 212(e) rule.


  • J1 Visa Stamp: Check the bottom of your J1 visa; it should indicate "Bearer is subject to section 212(e), Two-year home residency rule does apply".


212e waiver

  • DS-2019: If you do not find this information on your J1 visa stamp, please review your DS-2019 form. In my case, the information was not on my DS 2019; it was included on my J1 visa stamp. Refer to the DS 2019 screenshot; you may notice a checkmark on option 2, which states 'Subject to two-year residence requirement'.


2 year home residency requirement proof

  • Not mentioned on DS-2019 or J1 Visa: If you don't find it on the DS-2019 form or J1 visa stamp, please contact your ISS and check if you need a waiver. In most cases, you would need a J1 waiver. I have seen examples where people didn't have the two-year rule mentioned on the visa or DS-2019, but they still had to apply for it later



J1 Waiver Processing Time

The processing time for a J1 waiver is typically 1-2 years. You can apply for a J1 visa waiver at any time; there's no specific restriction. However, it's advisable to apply once you have received a DS-2019 extension for the entire possible term, which is usually up to 5 years.


As mentioned earlier, there are three stages to obtain a J1 visa waiver, and the overall processing time is 1-2 years, possibly less for some, depending on how quickly you can secure a no-objection statement from your home country.

I recommend completing the first two stages of the J1 visa waiver process after you have spent three years on your J1 visa. Apply for the third and final stage once you receive the full 5-year extension on your J1 visa.


This suggestion is important because if the third stage of the J1 visa waiver is approved, you won't be able to extend your J1 visa or DS2019 any further. Therefore, it's advisable to apply for the third stage only after obtaining the entire 5 years of extension on your visa.



Some universities and institutes issue the initial DS-2019 with a complete 5-year period, while others provide yearly extensions, and some offer two or three-year extensions. Your decision should be based on your situation. If you have any doubts, feel free to post your query in the comment section below, and I will be happy to assist you.


Where to apply for a J1 waiver?

Please refer to the following links to determine which Consulate General of India (CGI) office covers your jurisdiction. I have also compiled the embassy's contact details, jurisdictions, social media pages, and email addresses, which you may find useful not only for the J1 visa waiver but also for general inquiries.


j1 waiver locations


I went in person to the Consulate General of India, in San Francisco. However, you can apply in person or send it via mail.



FAQs on J1 Visa Waiver


Can I expedite the J1 waiver?

Yes, you can expedite the J1 visa waiver process at certain stages. I know a few of my friends successfully did it and I have documented their experiences in detail. I did not expedite it as I had sufficient time to get the J1 visa waiver. Read more.


What is the next step after getting a J1 waiver favorable recommendation?

A J1 waiver favorable recommendation means that the DOS is in favor of granting you the J1 visa waiver and your case will be transferred to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and they will make the final decision on your case. You will be notified by the DOS that your case has been forwarded to USCIS by a letter that you will get through the mail. In my case, I received this letter very late like after 2 months and I was not even expecting it since I didn't know about it. Read more.



What should I mention in the J1 waiver statement of reason?

There could be several ways you can write a statement of the reason for a J1 visa waiver. When I applied for the J1 visa waiver, I included the basis for seeking a J1 visa waiver as more time was required for my ongoing research work at that time. I also wrote an article on this where I shared a few examples including mine. Read more.


When should I apply for a J1 visa waiver?

You should complete the first 2 stages when you have completed 3 years on your J1 visa and apply for stage 3 once you receive the full 5 years of extension on your J1 visa.


Do I need a lawyer for the J1 visa waiver?

This opinion might vary from individual to individual, I would say it's not needed but if you wanna hire one there is no issue with that. I would recommend you read this blog before you take any decision. Several people asked me this question, hence I had to write this in detail. Read more.



Is the J1 two-year rule cumulative?

Yes, the J1 two-year rule is cumulative which means that you must fulfill two year home country requirement for a cumulative total period of at least two years. You can find complete details below.


J1 visa waiver

Where should I send the J1 waiver Stage 1 documents?

Different embassies cover different states. Check which embassy to send your documents based on where you live. You can find the list of states for each consulate here.



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38 commenti


Hi Hina,

Thanks for such a comprehensive overview - my query isn't related to any of the steps in particular. I was wondering if I can change my US address at any point in between these steps? Since I'm unclear on this and there's a possibility that I might change my housing, I haven't been able to start the process. Any guidance here would be super helpful!

Mi piace
Risposta a

Thanks Hina!

A quick follow up, I was more concerned about Step 2 (looks like the address change will happen around that time). Maybe I can just use my current address and keep checking in when my documents arrive from the ministries because I'm assuming they would pick up the address that I mention on the form and mail the documents on that address. I'm on J1 trainee visa, and have less than a year!

Mi piace

Hi Hina, I am a 3rd year BTech student from india. I am currently in my 6th semester and I have been accepted for a 6 week internship at Carnegie Mellon University. The program is in the field of AI and as a result, the 212(e) rule is probably going to apply on my J1 visa.

I need some guidance on when can I apply for the J1 waiver.

I plan to go for my masters to US in the fall of next year. This won't be a problem since F1 visas are exempted from the 2 year homestay rule.

But after completing my masters, I would not be able to convert to a work visa on getting a job.

so…

Mi piace
Risposta a

Hi Akshat, I would suggest starting the waiver process once you return to the US for your master's program, specifically in the first year. Thanks.

Mi piace

Nikhil
Nikhil
11 mar

Hi Hina,


Thank you so much for sharing this information!

I have a question, do you know how the 2-year is calculated? I went to the US under J2 visa. For example, if my visa status expires in Feb 2015, and I went back Jan 2015, would that 1 month count? Would it count if the J1 visa holder was in the US during Jan 2015 - Feb 2015?

Also, I am trying to apply for a waiver as J2 alone since I am now over 21. What is the best way to write the waiver for my condition? I am working full-time in the US in a completely unrelated field then my parents when they entered as J1, and…


Mi piace
Risposta a

Hi Nikhil, your question is a bit confusing, as surviving 10 years without a waiver is quite a long time. J-2 visa holders don't apply for a waiver separately, except in a few situations like divorce, which I am aware of.

  1. If you are saying that you visited the US on a J-2 visa sometime in the past, then please check with your parent. They should have already fulfilled the 2-year home residency rule or received a waiver (given the 10-year timeframe). So, you don't need to apply for a waiver separately as a J-2 dependent.

  2. If you are currently on a J-1 visa (but again, 10 years, how?) and you want to apply for a waiver, you can do…

Mi piace

Hi Hina,

Thank you so much for the post. I have a question, While reviewing the NORI application procedures, I encountered a statement in the affidavit that stating, ‘I have not taken any loan from any person or agency in India’ causing some confusion. I have a bank loan from Indian Bank, and I have been consistently making regular payments. Could this pose ant issue for my J1 waiver application? Are there additional documents or a NOC from the bank that I need to submit? Please give advise.

Thank You

Mi piace
Risposta a

Hi Chinchu, I've read/heard some people find it tough to get a waiver when they have student loans, but I haven't met anyone dealing with this personally. So, I can't say for sure. Thanks.

Mi piace

Manoj Kumar
Manoj Kumar
31 ott 2023

Hello Hina, Hope you are doing well. It's nice to e-meet you. I value your sharing of this vital information, as well as your experiences and queries. Every Indian entering the US as a post-doc with the requirement for a waiver needs to understand this very important topic. My younger sister joined UCSF on a J1 visa recently and I'm wondering if companies can assist in switching from J1 to H1-B directly. Is it feasible to switch to industry/company after completing the first two years of post-doc or before? Are there any obligations to complete 5 years of postdoctoral work on a J1 visa? Could you share your thoughts on this? Thank you for your time and attention.

Mi piace
Risposta a

Hi Nikhil, check which embassy to send your documents based on where you live. Different embassies cover different states. https://www.dataneb.com/post/indian-embassy-and-consulate-in-usa-contact-email-address-helpline-and-locations

Mi piace

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