J-1 Visa Waiver – Exceptional Hardship

J-1 Visa Waiver – Exceptional Hardship

J-1 visa holders are subjected to the Foreign Residency Requirement. This means that the applicant would have to return to his/her country for two years once the J-1 visa has expired. However, the J-1 visa may be waived if by following the two year requirement, the applicant would be imposing exceptional hardship on your spouse or child. The spouse or child must be a U.S. citizen.

To qualify under exceptional hardship, the applicant would have to be  inflicting difficulties on the U.S. spouse’s career, home-country conditions, income contribution of each spouse, discrimination, and educational opportunities.

Other factors taken into consideration which may constitute as exceptional hardship include:

  • Economic or extreme psychological hardship
  • Loss of health opportunities
  • Loss of employment resulting in hardship

Exceptional Hardship Examples to Spouse

As previously mentioned, hardship to ones spouse are also taken into consideration. Some exceptional hardship examples include instances where the spouses’s education or career would be disrupted, a scenario where they couldn’t financially uphold 2 households, psychological hardships, etc. be aware that while the exceptional hardship waiver technically only takes into account spouses and children, some consideration may be given to qualifying relatives or family members if they will face hardships.

The J-1 holder must be able to provide evidence or proof of hardship. J-1 holders with a child or spouse that has a mental or physical condition may be able to prove exceptional hardship if the treatments are not accessible in the J-1 holders home country.

However, the J-1 visa waiver’s exceptional hardship will not be granted for basic separation, readjustment, or any hardship caused to you.

J-1 Visa Waiver Exceptional Hardship Application Process:

  • Submit the general waiver application to the U.S. Department of State
  • The applicant is required to submit an Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (Form I-612) to the USCIS along with the designated fee
  • USCIS sends decision to Waiver Review Division of the U.S. Department of State. After reviewing the file in its entirety, the Waiver Review Division will inform the USCIS of its final recommendations. From there, the applicant will receive a copy of the decision
  • If the USCIS finds that the J-1 holder qualifies under exceptional hardship then the Waiver Review Division will commence the recommendation process under this category.

The J-1 visa holder has the option to submit the Department of State waiver application either before the holder submits the I-612 form to the USCIS or after USCIS has approved the decision. Though, if the J-1 visa holder submits the Department of State waiver application before the I-612 form to the USCIS, and exceptional hardship was not granted, the fee will not be refunded by the U.S. Department of State.

To check the status of a pending application visit the J-1 Visa Waiver page on the DOS site. Typical processing time can range anywhere from three to four months depending on the case.

If You Don’t Qualify for J-1 Waiver Exceptional Hardship

If you don’t think you qualify for an exceptional hardship waiver based on the aforementioned criteria, there’s still hope. There are three other types of waiver for the two-year home residency requirement provided under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

  • No Objection Waiver–Based on a no objection statement from the your home country.
  • Interested Government Agency (IGA) Waivers
  • Persecution based on your risk of persecution for religion, political opinion or race.

FAQs – J1 Waiver Exceptional Hardship

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding the J1 waiver exceptional hardship.

1. What is a “hardship” waiver?

In short, a hardship waiver is one which demonstrates extreme hardship conditions that would be endured should a foreigner be required to adhere to the two-year physical presence requirement.

2. What are some factors that may qualify for exceptional hardship?

There are a range of hardship factors, which are best explained by our Fort Lauderdale immigration lawyers, however a few of the most common factors include economic hardships, political, religious, medical , social and psychological.

 3. What is the processing time for waivers? 

While there is no definitive answer to the length of processing it may be substantial, often take upwards of a year or more for completion. To receive a more tailored answer, contact one of our immigration lawyers for an initial consultation. During that period, we’ll be better able to lay out a timeline for processing.

4. What are the disadvantages of hardship waivers?

As previously mentioned, the processing time can be quite discretionary which means it’s not typically recommended to individuals with more than one application pending at a time.

5. How does your law firm ensure a favorable outcome?

Our office has strategies in place to align your case with the most favorable outcome. Of course, it’s impossible to guarantee one result or another since it’s at the mercy of the U.S. Department of State and the US Immigration Service. We will, however, do our best to advance your case towards the most favorable outcome.

Have additional questions or concerns that weren’t addressed in this section? Click here to read 50 Frequently Asked J1 Visa Waiver questions.

How Our Immigration Lawyers Can Help:

  • Our immigration lawyers have an in-depth understanding of the J-1 visa waiver exceptional hardship process. We are available to answer any questions pertaining to your case.

  • If you are unsure whether or not you apply under the exceptional hardship category, our immigration attorneys can provide additional clarification.

  • We’ll process your case in a timely and efficient manner to ensure a the most favorable outcome. Give one of the attorney at SGM Law Group a call to explore your options.

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