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J1 Waiver Favorable Recommendation Next Step

Updated: Mar 3

I've previously shared my complete journey on applying for the 212(e) rule, also known as the 2-year home residency requirement, and obtaining a J1 visa waiver. In case you missed them, you can easily catch up by following these links.




Table of Contents: J1 Waiver Favorable Recommendation


After getting a positive J1 waiver favorable recommendation from the Department of State (DOS), many of us are curious about what to do next. We might have questions about what this "J1 waiver favorable recommendation" really means and what we should do after receiving it.


J1 Waiver Favorable Recommendation

A J1 waiver favorable recommendation means that the Department of State (DOS) is in favor of granting you the waiver and your case will be sent to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which will ultimately make the final decision on your situation.



You will receive a notification letter from the DOS informing you that your case has been sent to USCIS. This letter will be sent to you by mail. In my own experience, I received this letter quite late – around 2 months after the fact – and I wasn't even anticipating it, as I was unaware of the process.


J1 Waiver Approval Notice

After your case is transferred to the USCIS from DOS, USCIS will send you a notice of action (Form I-797C) within a few weeks. I-797C notice will include a receipt number for your case and using this receipt number you can check the status of your case on the USCIS website.


In addition to the receipt number, the I-797C form includes information such as the notice type ("Receipt Notice"), your case type ("I612 - Application to waive foreign residence requirement"), received date, notice date, and applicant name. Note that this Form I-797C is only the receipt notice and not the actual approval notice which you will receive next. It would look like this.

Related: J1 to H1B

It will take USICS a few weeks to months to take final action on your case, for me it was surprisingly fast my status changed to "case was approved" in 2-3 weeks.



I-612 Approval Notice

Once your case is approved, USCIS will send you another notice of action, Form I-797 with notice type ("Approval Notice") and case type ("I612 - Application to waive foreign residence requirement") which is also called J1 waiver approval notice. I have provided a sample approval notice below. This is the final document and no step is needed further for the J1 waiver.


J1 waiver approval notice

DOS vs USCIS Approval

It is important to know that obtaining a favorable recommendation from the Department of State (DOS) does not guarantee that your waiver application is approved by USCIS.

The USCIS will have to approve your waiver request. However, a DOS favorable recommendation can significantly increase your chances of obtaining a waiver from USCIS.



The following table about "INA 212(e) Waiver Recommendations - FY 2021" will give you an idea, of how many people applied for waivers under different categories and what was the refusal rate for fiscal year 2021 (if you can not see the table please open this link for a better mobile experience).

​Waiver Basis (FY 2021)

Favorable

Unfavorable

Total

No objection statement

5,208

64

5,272

Exceptional hardship

255

7

262

Persecution

136

0

136

Interested government agency - Physician

453

0

453

Interested government agency - Others

54

1

55

State Department of Health

1136

0

1136

Total

7242

72

7314


Now, I get a lot of questions from people asking what will happen to my J2 dependent. Do I need to file separate waivers for them?

The approval notice that you will get from USCIS will indicate that you or your dependent (J2 visa holder) are granted a waiver by the USCIS. So, you just need one waiver but if your spouse has his/her own J1 visa then they have to go through their own J1 waiver.



Please keep in mind that once subjected are always subjected until you obtain a waiver or fulfill the 2-year home residency rule. For example, if you change your visa type from J1 to F1 for studies, you would still need the waiver when you apply for an H1B visa from an F1 visa after your studies.


Happy to help anyone going through the process. Please write your question in the comment section below. Thank you!


FAQs on J1 Waiver Favorable Recommendation

How to follow up with the Department of State for a J1 waiver application?

You can contact the Department of State via email at 212ewaiver@state.gov. Typically, they respond within 7 to 10 days.


How to track the status of the J1 waiver favorable recommendation (from the Department of State)?

You can check the status of your application at https://j1visawaiverstatus.state.gov/.


Is the I-612 approval notice required for a J1 waiver?

Yes, the I-612 approval notice is the final document you should receive from USCIS, serving as proof of your J1 waiver.


How to track the status of I-612 approval?

You can track the status of I-692 on the USCIS website using the receipt notice you received before obtaining final approval.


I have not received a receipt number from USCIS after my case was transferred by DOS. What should I do?

There could be two possible reasons that I can think of:

  1. Your address has changed since you applied for a J1 waiver. You can update your address by following the instructions in this blog and requesting a copy of the notice.

  2. Your case was not transferred to USCIS. In this case, check with DOS by following up via email at 212ewaiver@state.gov.


What is the current processing time for the I-612 application at USCIS?

The I-612 application is processed at the Vermont and California service centers. The processing time for I-612 approval in 80% of cases is as follows:

Service Center

I-612 processing time

Vermont Service Center

3 weeks

California Service Center

15.5 months

You can check the current processing time on the USCIS website, as these times are subject to change.


I-612 processing time

How to follow up with USCIS for the I-612 approval notice?

You can reach out to USCIS through the virtual chat assistant, Emma, or by calling them directly at 800-375-5283. Using the virtual assistant is more convenient, as calling may involve longer waiting times. Be sure to have your receipt number ready before contacting USCIS via Emma or phone.


Is the I-612 document required for filing a green card?

Yes, if you were subject to the two-year home residency rule, you will be required to submit the I-612 approval notice during the green card processing. You will not need it during I-140 filing but you will need it for I-485 filing.


Do I require an I-612 for the transition from J1 to H1B?

Yes, you will need the I-612 document as proof of the waiver when transitioning from J1 to H1B.




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11 תגובות


gururaja v
gururaja v
20 במרץ

Hi, I am following the steps you have so meticulously explained here for J waiver. I am currently on a J2 visa. My Visa page got damaged and I am planning to go to India in June/July for re-stamping. Can I send 3rd stage documents (of the primary J1), say, one to one and a half months before I go for the Visa stamping? Is it safe for my visa stamping? My reasoning being that it takes a few months for the DoS to send its FR to USCIS. Would be very grateful for your input. Additionally, I was on J1 visa back in 2015-2017, so I too need to apply for a waiver of my own previous J1 visa…

לייק

Hi. I have a quick question. My FR got approved in OCT 2023. I received their email but still haven’t received any hard copy. Also, no email or mail from USCIS. However, I had applied for an H1B and have received my I797B. My question here is, will i still receive a mail from dos or USCIS with the documents you mentioned? And are these waiver documents required for my H1B visa appointment in India?

I would really appreciate any help on this.

TIA.

לייק
Hina Singh
Hina Singh
06 במרץ
בתשובה לפוסט של

As you already received an FR approval email from DOS, I would recommend following up with USCIS and cross-validating your address with them. If your address is correct, request another copy of the I-797 notice. If not inform them about the address change. Typically, after an address change with USCIS, you receive mail regarding the address change service request. If you or your friend didn't receive that at the new address, I doubt the address change was processed. You can also request a change of address online through USCIS. Thanks.

לייק

Rupinder Kaur
Rupinder Kaur
27 בינו׳

Hello Hina,


Thankyou for a very useful blog.


I am an Indian citizen came to US on J1 in 2019. I applied my visa from Portugal as I was still working at the time. For some unknown reasons, the US embassy in Portugal didn’t subject me to 212e rule (NOT subjected both on my visa stamp and DS2019).

Late 2021- I switched to H1B. My employer didn’t ask for a waiver, neither did DOS. Approved smoothly.

2022- switched employer and transferred H1B. Again smooth transfer, no concerns over waiver.

2024- my H1b is expiring in June 2024. In January, when I submitted my docs for h1b extension to the university, this new hire at the global office suddenly raised the…

לייק
Hina Singh
Hina Singh
02 בפבר׳
בתשובה לפוסט של

I'm sorry to hear that, Rupinder. Facing the two-year rule for J visa holders can be challenging. I discuss it often in my blogs, particularly for J visa holders of Indian origin. Sometimes, even if the 212e rule isn't explicitly mentioned on the visa or DS-2019, individuals may still have to go through the process of obtaining a waiver. Currently, there doesn't appear to be a straightforward solution, and while I've outlined some options in the following blog, I'm uncertain if they will be helpful in your specific situation.


https://www.dataneb.com/post/how-long-can-i-stay-after-j1-visa-expires


Also, I know of a case in which a person of Indian origin, later who obtained citizenship from New Zealand, had nothing mentioned on the DS-2019 or visa stamp, yet…


לייק

Cevat Tosun
Cevat Tosun
07 בנוב׳ 2023

Hello, thank you for your very useful blog.

I can see the following update on the website of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

"On October 17, 2023, we approved your Form I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (under Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as Amended). ... We sent you an approval notice. Please follow the instructions in the notice. If you do not receive your approval notice by November 1, 2023, please go to www.uscis.gov/e-request (https://egov.uscis.gov/e-Request/Intro.do). "


I received Form I-797C, Notice of Action on October 17. Now, what is the next step? What does ".. "we approved your Form I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (under Section 212(e) of th…