J visa holders who are subject to the two year home residency requirement cannot change status to another category or apply for a green card until they either a)return to their home country for two years or b) obtain a waiver of this requirement. The most common waiver is the "no objection" waiver and "extreme hardship" waiver, which is the subject of this article.
Requirements to file for a Waiver of the Two Year Requirement:
Almost every J visa holder will fit into one of the following categories:
- No Objection from the applicant's national Consulate in Washington D.C.
- Exceptional hardship to a United States citizen or permanent resident spouse or child of the exchange visitor
- The Exchange Visitor has a fear of persecution if he or she returns to their home country
- Request by Interested U.S. Government Agency
- Request by State Department of Health
Procedures for Filing the Two Year Home Residency Waiver Application:
The foreign trainee submits a waiver application to the U.S. Department of State. The procedures, amount and type of evidence varies depending on the category used. Exceptional hardship and fear of persecution cases require much more evidence and planning than the other three categories. For the "No Objection" waiver, the most commonly requested, the applicant then contacts their nation's Consulate in Washington D.C. If the Consulate has "no objection" to your delayed return to your country of origin, they will then send confirmation of this to the Department of State. Generally this means your waiver will be approved. Once the waiver is obtained, an applicant can then apply for change to another status or for a green card via marriage to a U.S. Citizen.