J1 Visa Waiver Application Process and Timeline (Stage 1)

Updated: May 8, 2021

I am post-doctoral research scientist with University of California, Riverside and I have recently gone through J1 visa waiver process. I am sharing my experience with everyone which I believe would help others to obtain J1 waiver easily.

I referred several blogs and videos which was time consuming. I have divided the whole process into 4 sections:

  1. Introduction

  2. Stage 1

  3. Stage 2

  4. Stage 3

Previous Page: Introduction


Stage 1

Following are the steps for stage 1, it would max take 3-5 weeks based on your location and consulate.

  • Download miscellaneous service form from your respective Consulate General of India website (links given above). You need one copy of this form and it should be hand-filled, paste a recent photograph on it. I have attached miscellaneous form which I used for CGI-SF.

Download PDF • 190KB
  • Download Waiver/NORI (No Objection Return to India) Certificate from your respective CGI website. It contains two sections - Bio-data and Affidavit. You need four copies of this form and it should be hand-filled. Also, make sure to use the latest forms, it might change in future. You can use this link to download the form for CGI-SF. I have attached it below also.

Download PDF • 71KB
  • Once hand-filled, NORI (bio-data & affidavit) should be notarized.

You can get it notarized from bank or UPS. Check with your bank, they might do it for free. If you choose to go to UPS store you have to pay 25$ per document. I was not aware at that time and I ended up paying few hundred bucks to UPS store.
  • Next, make two more Xerox copies of notarized NORI form. Now, you will have total 6 notarized NORI forms (4 original and 2 Xerox copies).

  • A non-refundable fee of 66$ is required for Stage 1 and the fee should be paid through money order or cashiers check drawn in the favor of consulate general of India, San Francisco (in my case). Some CGI accepts cash too but that was not the case with CGI-SF. Additionally, ICWF charges (2$) will be applied for using miscellaneous service. So, you can prepare money order/cashiers check of 68$ or make it separate 66$ and 2$.

In my case I prepared two cashiers check worth 66$ and 2$ both payable to drawn in the favor of consulate general of India, San Francisco. The fee might change depending on CGI location, so please double check before proceeding.

Next, you need all the supporting documents (listed below) along with these forms and you have following two options.

  1. You can mail all the documents to your respective consulate general of India along with your original passport. Mailing address is available on CGI websites.

  2. If you want you can physically visit CGI office as well, in my case I went to CGI-SF since I was planning to travel to India and it was not possible for me to send my original passport by mail. You do not need any appointment for CGI-SF visit.

In both the options (1 & 2) you have to provide them a return envelop with your address on it. It will take at-least 5-6 weeks to get the documents signed by Indian counselor officer and then it's posted to you using the return envelop you provided.

However, this varies location to location. One of my friend went to CGI-NY and the Indian counselor officer signed bio-data and affidavit on the same day and she came back home with all the documents. I thought the same for CGI-SF but they took 5 weeks.

Supporting documents:

1. Current Indian passport in original and photocopy of the first five pages and last two pages of the current passports.

2. Proof of your US Visa Status:(copy of any one of the following)

  • Photocopy of the page containing visa on passport (H1-B, H-4 etc.), the copy of I-94 and photocopy of all DS-2019.

  • Clear Photocopy of Green Card

  • Employment Authorization Document (Work Permit)

  • I-797, I-140 or I-20 (If approval copy of these notices are pending, also attach a handwritten note detailing the efforts being taken to regularize status)

3. Proof of current US residence address: (copy of any one of the following)

  • U.S Driving license

  • PG&E, Water or landline telephone bill displaying applicant’s address

  • House Lease Agreement

  • State Identification Card

Note: Bank/credit card/mobile phone statements are not accepted as residence proof.

For the updated forms and supporting documents list please check on your respective CGI website. The forms and guidelines might change with time.

Congratulations Stage 1 is done!

Along with all the signed documents you will also receive a cover letter from Indian Consulate officer, which will indicate from which offices in India you need to obtain clearance certificates. If you don’t get any cover letter, please email and ask you respective consulates.

Cover Letter which I received from CGI-SF

Download JPG • 2.12MB

Please drop me message in the the comment section if you have any queries. I will get back to you ASAP.

Next Page: Stage 2

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