There are five grounds for obtaining a waiver of the two-year home residence requirement.
If you would like to apply for a waiver, pay particular attention to the timing of your request. After attaining either a waiver recommendation from the U.S. State Department or a final waiver decision from USCIS, you are no longer eligible to extend your J-1 status or transfer to another J-1 program.
You should discuss your plans with an international student advisor before applying for a waiver.
Grounds for Obtaining a Waiver
1. A “no-objection” statement (not permitted for medical trainees) – Your country’s embassy in Washington can specify in a direct letter to the State Department that it has no objection to your obtaining a waiver, or the foreign ministry in your home country can write to the U.S. embassy there. A “no-objection” statement will not guarantee a waiver if the exchange visitor has received funding from the U.S. government.
2. Interest of a U.S. government agency – If you are working on a project for or of interest to a U.S. federal government agency, and that agency has determined that your continued stay in the United States is vital to one of its programs, a waiver may be issued if your continued stay in the United States is deemed to be in the public interest.
3. Fear of persecution – If you can prove that because of your race, religion, political opinions, or nationality you would face persecution by your home government if you returned to your country, you could possibly qualify for a waiver by applying to USCIS.
4. Exceptional hardship – If it is possible to demonstrate that exceptional hardship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or child would be caused by your departure from the U.S. and residence abroad, you can apply for a waiver to USCIS
5. Request by a designated State Department of Public Health – Only medical doctors may apply for a waiver on this basis.