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J1 Visa Waiver Application Process (Stage 1)

Updated: Aug 22

As we initiate the J1 visa waiver application process, I'm assuming that you've already read my introductory blog on the J1 visa waiver. By now, you should be clear about whether you are subject to the "2-year home residency requirement" or not. Furthermore, you should have an understanding of when to start the J1 visa waiver application process and where to apply for the J1 visa waiver.

I spent a significant amount of time referring to various J1 visa waiver blogs and videos to understand the process of obtaining a J1 visa waiver. As a result, I've broken down the entire process into the following sections.


J1 Waiver: Stage 1

J1 Waiver: Stage 2

J1 Waiver: Stage 3

Table of Contents:

J1 Waiver Application - Stage 1

Here are the steps for Stage 1 of the J1 visa waiver application. The duration to complete J1 visa waiver application stage 1 generally ranges from 3 to 5 weeks, depending on your location and consulate.

Related: How to expedite J1 visa waiver?

For stage 1, you'll require two forms: the miscellaneous service request form and the NORI form. You can locate the link to the miscellaneous form in the list of all the consulate details here. Once you open the miscellaneous form link, you'll find the NORI form on the same page.

Miscellaneous form

Download the miscellaneous service form from your respective Consulate General of India website. I have attached the miscellaneous form that I used for CGI-SF. Since this form might undergo changes in the future, I recommend downloading it from the list of consulate details I provided previously.

Download PDF • 190KB

You'll need one copy of the miscellaneous service form, which should be filled out by hand. Please attach a recent passport-size photograph to it.

NORI form

Download the NORI form from your respective Consulate General of India website. Once you have downloaded the NORI (No Objection Return to India) form from your respective CGI website, you will notice It contains two sections: Biodata and Affidavit. You need four copies of the NORI form and it should be filled out by hand.

You can download the form for CGI-SF using this link, which I have also provided below. Additionally, please ensure that you use the most up-to-date forms, as they are subject to change in the future.

Download PDF • 71KB

Once you have completed filling out the NORI (bio-data & affidavit) form by hand, it should be notarized. You have the option to get the form notarized either at your bank or at a UPS store. I recommend checking with your bank, as they might provide this service for free.

Related: How to apply for J2 EAD?

Alternatively, if you choose to go to a UPS store, please be aware that there is a fee of $25 per document. It's worth noting that I wasn't aware of this at the time and ended up paying a significant amount to the UPS store.

Next, proceed to make two additional photocopies of the notarized NORI form. This will result in a total of six notarized NORI forms, comprising four original copies and two photocopies.

Related: How to apply for a USA tourist visa for parents

J1 Waiver Money Order

A non-refundable fee of 66$ is required for the J1 visa waiver application Stage 1, and the fee should be paid through a money order or cashier's check drawn in favor of the Consulate General of India, San Francisco (in my case).

Some CGIs accept cash as well, but that was not the case with CGI-SF. Additionally, there will be ICWF charges of $2 applied for using miscellaneous services. So, you can either prepare a money order or cashier's check for $68, or you can make it separate with $66 for the visa fee and $2 for the ICWF charges.

In my case, I prepared two cashier's checks worth 66$ and 2$ both payable to drawn in favor of the Consulate General of India, San Francisco.

The fee might change depending on the CGI location, so please double-check before proceeding. You can find the list of consulates in my previous blog here.

J1 Visa Waiver Mail Address

Next, you will require all the supporting documents (as listed in the following section), in addition to the previous forms. At this point, you will have two available options.

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

  2. If you prefer, you can also visit the CGI office in person. In my case, I went to CGI-SF because I was planning to travel to India, and sending my original passport by mail was not feasible. It's worth noting that you do not need an appointment for a visit to CGI-SF. Prior to your in-person visit, please make sure to verify with your consulate whether they provide walk-in services.

J1 Waiver Processing Time

In both options (1 & 2) mentioned above, you are required to include a return envelope with your address on it. The process involves a waiting period of approximately 5-6 weeks for the Indian consular officer to sign the documents. Subsequently, the signed documents will be sent to you using the return envelope you provided.

Related: How to update the address (J1 waiver)

However, please note that this process can vary depending on the location. For instance, a friend of mine visited CGI-NY, where the Indian consular officer signed both the bio-data and an affidavit on the same day, allowing her to leave with all the necessary documents. I had a similar expectation for CGI-SF, but it took approximately 5 weeks for them to complete the process.

Documents Required for J1 Visa Waiver
  1. Current Indian passport in original and photocopy of the first five pages and last two pages of the current passport. If your passport is expiring soon, it's better you renew it first. See how to renew your passport here.

  2. Proof of your US visa status: Copy of any one of the following documents.

  3. Scanned copy of your visa, I-94, and all of your DS-2019

  4. Scanned copy of the Green Card

  5. Scanned copy of the Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

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

  7. Proof of current US residence address: Copy of any one of the following.

  8. U.S drivers license

  9. PG&E, utility, or landline telephone bill displaying the applicant’s address

  10. House lease agreement

  11. State identification card

Note that bank, credit card, or mobile phone statements are not accepted as residence proof.

Related: Should you hire a lawyer for J1 visa waiver?

To access the most current forms and the list of supporting documents, please visit the website of your respective CGI. Please note that the forms and guidelines may change over time.

Cover Letter which I received from CGI-SF

Alongside the signed documents, you will also receive a cover letter from the Indian Consulate officer. This letter will specify the offices in India from which you need to obtain clearance certificates. In case you do not receive a cover letter, please consider sending an email to your respective consulate to inquire about it.

Download JPG • 2.12MB

Congratulations 🎉 J1 waiver stage 1 is completed. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a message in the comment section. I'll get back to you as soon as possible.


What is the money order address for the J1 waiver?

For my case, I arranged a money order or cashier's check payable to the Consulate General of India, San Francisco. The appropriate approach depends on the specific consulate you're dealing with; it's advisable to consult their respective website for accurate information.

Do I need to notarize the miscellaneous form as well?

No, you don't need to notarize the miscellaneous form. Only the NORI form needs to be notarized.

Next: J1 Visa Waiver (Stage 2)

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