J-1 Waiver – No Objection Statement

J-1 Waiver – No Objection Statement

The J-1 visa is designed for exchange visitors from foreign countries who elect to participate in a specialized program in the U.S. The program can be either government sponsored or in the private sector. Some common jobs that J-1 visa holders have are:

  • Physician
  • Teacher
  • Professor
  • Student
  • Camp Counselor
  • Nanny or Au Pair

Usually, the validation period for a J-1 visa heavily depends on the length of your chosen program. For example, students and interns may not have as long of a stay as a physician or a professor.

Once the visa validation period has expired, all J-1 visa holders are then subject to the Foreign Residency Requirement. The Foreign Residency Requirement mandates that the visa holder must return to his/her home country for two years before he/she is eligible to come back to the United States under another nonimmigrant visa or green card.

Statutory Bases for the J-1 Waiver

In order to bypass the Foreign Residency Requirement, you need to obtain a J-1 visa waiver. These aren’t freely given, however, and to qualify for this, you need to meet one of the four statutory bases. They are:

  • Exceptional Hardship: You will need to prove that returning to your country will result in hardship for your dependents provided that they are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents (green card holders)
  • Government Intervention: If it is in the best interest of an agency of the U.S. government to have you remain in the U.S., then you may qualify for the waiver.
  • Persecution: You must be able to prove that returning to your home country will most likely result in being persecuted.
  • Conrad Program: In this situation, a waiver can be granted if the J-1 visa holder is a medical graduate that has received an offer for a full-time job in an area with a shortage of healthcare professionals.
  • No Objection Statement: We will cover this in detail below.

No Objection Statement (NOS)

If the applicant is unable to meet the two-year requirement, the applicant has the opportunity to apply for a ‘No Objection Statement’. The applicant can submit a J-1 Waiver Recommendation Application to the U.S. Department of State, Waiver Review Division. If favorable and accurately based on the No Objection Statement qualifications, a recommendation letter is sent to the USCIS who will then make the final decision.

The No Objection statement may be issued from:

  • The home country’s embassy in Washington D.C., or
  • The home country’s designated ministry

A No Objection Statement may be issued by the embassy of the applicant’s home country government. The embassy creates a No Objection Statement and files it to the Waiver Review Division. It is required that the embassy in Washington, DC send it directly to the Waiver Review Division.

The J-1 Waiver No Objection Statement indicates that the home country government does not require the applicant to fulfill the “two-year home country physical presence requirement.” The No Objection Statement also declares that the home country does not have an objection to the applicant potentially becoming a permanent resident in the United States.

The No Objection Statement is also capable of being issued by the indicated ministry of the home country. The ministry submits the No Objection Statement to the U.S. Chief of Mission, Consular Section. The U.S. Chief of Mission, Consular Section is located within the home country’s U.S. embassy. The U.S. embassy is required to send the No Objection Statement directly to the Waiver Review Division for the final decision.

Procedure for No Objection Statement:

The first thing you need to do to procure a J1 waiver No Objection Statement is to complete the J-1 Waiver Application. This can be done online or printed out and completed by hand. If you decide to take this latter route, you will need to mail it along with the processing fee in the form of a cashier’s check or money order.

Be sure to mail the application and the payment to one of the following locations:

  • Postal Service
    U.S. Department of State
    Waiver Review Division
    Box 952137
    St. Louis, MO 63195-2137
  • Courier Service
    U.S. Department of State
    Waiver Review Division
    P. O. Box 952137
    1005 Convention Plaza
    St. Louis, MO 63101-1200

Once the Waiver Review Division receives your application, you will be issues a case number as well as any additional instructions. You can use this case number to check the status of your pending application.

The Waiver Review Division will then contact the consular section of your embassy in Washington, D.C., to request that a “no objection statement” be forwarded to the Department of State on your behalf.

After that, the “no objection” statement is forwarded from the Embassy to the Waiver Review Division, who will make recommendations and forward to USCIS.

  1. Final decision
    1. If denied, the State Department will notify the applicant.
    2. If approved, USCIS will notify the applicant of the final decision.

You are Ineligible for a No Objection Statement If You Are:

  • A foreign medical physician with J-1 visa status who is receiving graduate medical education/training unless you have received J-1 visa status before January 10, 1977.
  • Directly or indirectly being financially supported by the U.S. government.

The option of obtaining a No Objection Statement depends on the applicant’s home country. Not all countries provide No Objection Statements while others approve the requests quickly. On average it takes most countries 6-8 weeks. The applicant is suggested to determine his/her home country’s stance on the No Objection Statement before he/she begins the waiver process.

How Our Immigration Lawyers Can Help:

  • Our immigration lawyers are experienced in facilitating the communication and documentation in order to obtain a No Objection Statement from the applicant’s embassy or designated ministry.
  • Our J-1 waiver lawyers understand the Foreign Residency Requirement and have an in-depth knowledge of how to process the specific forms, supplementary documents, and filing fees.
  • Our attorneys at SGM Law Group are aware of all the possible options for J-1 visa holders who wish to extend their J-1 visa.

Related J-1 Visa Topics

Related J-1 Visa Topics