What do I need to say in my statement of reasons requesting a J-1 no-objection waiver?

Suggestions for supplying a satisfactory explanation of why you should be excused from the two-year home country requirement.

Question

I’m in the U.S. on a J-1 visa, and I’m making my online request for a no-objection waiver so I don’t have to return home for two years before applying for status in the United States. Now I must submit a statement of reasons why I want the waiver. Is there anything specific I need to say in my statement so that my waiver request will be approved?

Answer

In most cases, all you need to give is a short, honest statement about why you want to stay in the United States. One or two sentences should do it. Because your waiver will likely be granted if you can get your home government not to object, it really doesn’t matter so much what your reasons are.

For example, if you are requesting the waiver because you’ve been offered a job in the U.S. that you’d like to take, you could simply say that XYZ Company has offered you a great job, and you’d like to take advantage of that opportunity to further your career. If you are requesting the waiver because you married a U.S. citizen and your spouse doesn’t want to move to your home country, you could simply say that your spouse and you prefer to live in the U.S. because you like it here and all your spouse’s relatives are here.

There is one situation in which your statement of reasons matters very much however. If the U.S. government funded your exchange program, it’s very likely your waiver request will be denied, even if your home country does not object to you staying in the United States. The U.S. State Department has program, policy, and foreign relations considerations that you need to address to have any hope of getting the waiver. If your J-1 program received U.S. government funding, your statement of reasons will need to be lengthy and complex, and almost certainly you will want to hire a lawyer who specializes in J-1 waivers to help you write your statement.

Once you know what you want to say in your statement of reasons, you’re ready to create your statement document online at the the State Department’s J-1 Visa Waiver website. See “How J-1 Visa Holder Can Apply for a No-Objection Waiver of Two-Year Home Residency Requirement.”

Before you can create the statement document, you’ll need to fill out the online DS-3035 form and receive a case number. You print and submit the statement by mail with the DS-3035 and the rest of your waiver recommendation application.

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