J1 Waiver Lawyer for Foreign Medical Graduates

For over 25 years, ILG’s L1 Visa Lawyers have dedicated themselves to providing strategic and robust legal representation for US immigration to clients around the globe. Every client and case is treated with utmost importance, as we firmly believe in the significant advantages that immigration brings to the United States.

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What is a J1 Waiver

A J1 waiver is a legal process allowing individuals, particularly international medical graduates, on J1 visas to seek an exemption from the two-year foreign residency requirement imposed by the exchange visitor program. This requirement mandates J1 visa holders to return to their home country for two years after completing programs like graduate medical education in the United States. Seeking a J1 waiver involves demonstrating eligibility on various grounds, including exceptional hardship, fear of persecution, or when an interested government agency requires specialized skills.

To navigate this complex process, individuals often enlist the assistance of a J1 waiver lawyer, an immigration attorney with expertise in the nuanced criteria and procedures. Waivers can also be based on factors such as having a lawful permanent resident spouse, a request by the state public health department, facing political opinion-related issues, or serving in underserved areas. Successfully obtaining a J1 waiver facilitates the pursuit of permanent residence in the United States.

J1 Waiver Requirements

Exchange visitors often aspire to continue working in the United States after completing their programs, seeking options like H-1B and L-1 visa categories. However, achieving this often requires a waiver of J-1 visa end-of-program requirements.

The U.S. Department of State outlines J-1 waivers, noting that certain exchange visitors are subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement, mandated by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Section 212(e). This rule demands that participants return home for at least two years after their exchange visitor program. To bypass this, individuals must apply for a waiver, typically granted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The waiver exempts J-1 visa holders (and their dependents) from the obligation to return to their home country for two years. While residing in a country other than the home country doesn’t fulfill this requirement, the two years need not be consecutive.

J1 Waiver Application Process

The journey to a J-1 waiver for international medical graduates and their families involves meticulous steps. A DC immigration lawyer simplifies the process, leveraging in-depth knowledge of the exchange visitor skills list or navigate the intricacies involved to receive graduate medical education. We ensure a smooth transition towards permanent residency.

Online Application (Form DS-3035)

Complete the DS-3035 form online, ensuring accuracy in SEVIS numbers, Subject Field Codes, and other details. Print the form with the barcode for further processing.

Application Submission

Mail the completed DS-3035 form, along with supporting documents, including copies of all relevant forms, self-addressed envelopes, and the application fee of $930.

Submission of Supporting Evidence

Submit supporting evidence that substantiates the reasons for the waiver request. Remember, all supporting documents must be submitted directly by the applicant to ensure acceptance.

Check Application Status

After about one month, check the waiver request status on the J Visa Waiver Online webpage using the case number. Update contact information if needed and send any additional information or evidence requested by the Waiver Review Division promptly.

USCIS Decision

Upon completion, the DOS Waiver Review Division forwards their recommendation to the USCIS. The final decision is communicated to the applicant by mail. During this time, applicants must maintain a home-country presence until the USCIS grants the waiver.

Remember, documents in languages other than English must be accompanied by certified English translations. Ensure all forms are signed to avoid rejection.

Why ILG & How We Help

Embarking on the J-1 waiver journey requires expert guidance and personalized solutions. Discover how our Immigration Group’s profound understanding of immigration law, tailored approaches, and proven success record can navigate your unique situation effectively.

Comprehensive Understanding of Immigration Law

Immigration Group boasts an unparalleled understanding of immigration law, ensuring clients navigating the J-1 waiver process receive expert guidance. Whether seeking a hardship waiver or exploring options for permanent residency, our seasoned professionals leverage their comprehensive knowledge to streamline the immigration process. We specialize in assisting exchange visitors, particularly those pursuing graduate medical education, offering tailored solutions that align with the intricacies of each client’s unique situation.

Customized Immigration Solutions

Immigration Group understands the individualized nature of J-1 waiver cases. We pride ourselves on delivering tailored immigration solutions that address the specific needs of exchange visitors. From guiding applicants through the complex immigration procedures to providing strategic advice on exceptional hardship waiver cases, our team is dedicated to ensuring a smooth journey towards permanent residency. With a focus on the applicant’s home country and collaboration with state public health departments, we customize our approach to achieve optimal outcomes.

Proven Track Record of Success

Glen Wasserstein is a Lawyer who has been interviewed by NBC, BBC and Fox News, frequently appearing on National Television on immigration matters. An experienced J1 waiver attorney with a track record of success demonstrates their ability to navigate the complexities of the immigration landscape. This history of achievement instils confidence in clients seeking reliable immigration solutions.

Visa Duration

J1 Waiver Duration and Processing Time

The J-1 waiver process involves multiple stages, extending over an average period of eight to nine months. Initially, applications are submitted and reviewed at the state level, taking a few months. Approved applications proceed to the Washington D.C. review division (WRD), adding an extra couple of months to the timeline. Subsequently, the approved cases are forwarded to a designated USCIS center, undergoing several additional months of review.

Certain Exchange Visitors, particularly those in medical fields, may seek a hardship waiver to bypass the two-year residency requirement. Individuals facing exceptional hardship, persecution, or holding specialized knowledge may apply for waivers with estimated processing times as follows: U.S. Federal Agency (8-12 weeks), Persecution (12-16 weeks), No-objection statement (12-16 weeks), Foreign physician working for a U.S. state health agency (12-16 weeks), and Exceptional hardship (16-24 weeks).

Client Reviews

What an amazing team to work with. SO grateful for Jen, Catherine and the whole team, who worked so hard and were so patient with us through this whole process of obtaining our green cards. They are truly experts and can be trusted without a doubt to help you with your immigration needs! Utmost professionals and a pleasure to work with.

Sarah C.

Immigration Law Group has a wonderful team of lawyers. They handled my h1b and permanent residence paperwork in a way that really made me feel comfortable and brought me peace through a very stressful time. they are on top of things and always answered my questions in a timely manner. I highly recommend them if you want to make sure everything goes perfectly.

Kiran M.

Everyone at Immigration Law Group, from the attorneys to support staff, have been nothing but helpful, well-informed, and courteous to me from the start until now. Jen, and Catherine in particular, have been super helpful in explaining complicated procedures and processes in easy to understand ways–yet not dumbing down to the level where they are leaving out important details. I feel confident and knowledgeable with ILG working on my case, and there’s a personal level of communication and trust, which also puts me at ease during a difficult and tricky process. I highly recommend Immigration Law Group–I’m so glad I found them!

Andrew O.

We are very satisfied with the Immigration Law Group and the services they had provided us so far. They have very capable staff that is always on top of our cases and help us navigate them successfully. We have had great success with all cases and their rates are very reasonable. They know Immigration law better than any other law firm we worked with. I would recommend them without hesitation!

Alina T.


The “five grounds” refer to specific conditions that may exempt individuals from the two-year home-country physical presence requirement. Understanding these grounds is crucial when applying for a J-1 waiver, especially for those seeking to become permanent residents.

Residing in an underserved area is one of the considerations for obtaining a waiver. Such areas are often determined by the Appalachian Regional Commission, and meeting this criterion can influence the success of your J-1 waiver application, supporting your path towards becoming a permanent resident.

Yes, engaging a law firm experienced in immigration law is highly recommended. They can guide you through the complex procedures, ensuring that your application adheres to legal requirements and increases the likelihood of a successful outcome, facilitating your journey towards permanent residency.

An objection statement is a key component of the waiver application, providing an opportunity to present compelling reasons for not returning to your individual’s home country. Crafting a well-detailed objection statement is crucial for a persuasive case, especially for those aiming to secure permanent resident status.

The J-1 waiver process acknowledges the importance of family. If returning to the home country poses a threat to the well-being of a resident spouse or child, this circumstance can be a significant factor in obtaining a waiver, ensuring family unity is taken into account on the path to permanent residency.

We’re ILG, your Immigration Specialists

We Believe in Immigration. We ensure that all our clients get the best chance to a new life in the United States.