A waiver is an immigration benefit granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It removes the 212(e) requirement.
There are five different pathways to request a waiver. Determine your basis and submit your waiver application directly with the
DOS Waiver Review Division.
J-2 Dependents: In most circumstances, J-2 dependents are a part of the J-1 Exchange Visitor's waiver application and will benefit from a J-1's approved waiver. However, J-2 dependents may independently apply for a waiver in the event of the death or divorce by the primary J-1, if the J-2 child turns 21, or if the J-2 dependent previously held J-1 status and was subject to 212(e) but never satisfied the requirement.
No-Objection Statement (NOS) Waiver
A No-Objection Statement (NOS) waiver is a common basis for Exchange Visitors to apply for a waiver. This pathway requires a no-objection statement from the government of your last country of legal permanent residence. Contact the embassy for additional information on how to obtain the statement, since the process varies by country in timeline and required documentation.
DOS website for information on alternate bases for a waiver application.
DOS Waiver Processing Times
General processing times are available from the
DOS Waiver Review Division. Processing times begin once DOS receives all required application documents.
For NOS waivers, the timeframes do not include the time it takes your embassy to process a No-Objection Statement, NIH's issuance of sponsor views, or USCIS' final approval of the waiver.
If you have questions on the process or wish to confirm receipt of documentation by DOS, check the DOS
online case status system or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to application routing procedures, case status updates on the DOS website may be lengthy.
When to Apply
You may apply for a waiver when you meet the eligibility requirements described in the
DOS Waiver Review Division and, as applicable to all J-1s sponsored by the NIH,
NIH's NOS Waiver Policy.
A pending or approved waiver application may affect your J-1 program. Specifically, once DIS sends sponsor views to DOS, you are ineligible for a J-1 extension or transfer. You may also have difficulty in applying for any further J visas abroad and/or being re-admitted to the United States in J status.
Sponsor Views from NIH
DOS will ask DIS/NIH to comment on waiver applications received for individuals whose J-1 status was sponsored or funded by the NIH. This is known as a "request for sponsor views", which can be favorable or unfavorable.
NIH's NOS Waiver Policy to learn the details of the process. You can check the status of DIS/NIH sponsor views via our
NOS Waiver Sponsor Views tracker. Refer to our
flow chart for an outline of the entire NOS Waiver process.
NIH's NOS Waiver Policy only applies to J-1 Exchange Visitors whose program was sponsored by NIH. All other requests from DOS will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
DOS Recommendation and USCIS Approval
After a review of your completed waiver application, DOS will send a favorable or unfavorable recommendation letter to USCIS. Upon final approval, USCIS will send the waiver applicant a Form I-797 Notice of Action.
If you are a confirmed finalist in the
Diversity Visa Lottery, you do not need to meet NIH's NOS Waiver Policy requirements to receive favorable sponsor views from NIH for your NOS waiver application.
NIH will provide sponsor views directly in response to DOS's request. Lottery winners must provide a copy of the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery notice of registration from the Kentucky Consular Center to DIS before sponsor views are issued.