Information on applying for a waiver of the J1-visa Foreign Residence Requirement

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Occasionally, I’ve been asked by other foreign academics who got job offers in the U.S. whether it is possible to have the home-stay (=”foreign residence”) requirement associated with some J1-visa waived. So, here’s from what I know about it from my own experience – I successfully applied for such a waiver in 2006-2007. Of course, this information may be outdated since the specifics change all the time, and I cannot guarantee for the correctness of any of the information on this page, but maybe some of it is useful.

What is the J1 home-stay requirement?

If you entered the U.S. on a J1 visa, e.g. because you came with Fulbright, then you may be subject to a home-stay requirement. As far as I know it’s usually 2 years that you will be required to spend in your home country before you can accept a job in the U.S. This excludes educational training, such as the F1-OPT pre- or post-doctoral training, which you can do for the whatever period of F1-OPT you have been granted, but then you have to go back to your home country and cannot start a job as faculty at a U.S. institution. The motivation behind this requirement is somewhat understandable -after all we’re being invited into the country under the assumption to bring back whatever education we receive to our home country AND under the assumption not to take positions from Americans. Depending on where your funding came from (the U.S., your home country, or both) there are multiple parties who don’t really have an interest in allowing you start a job in the U.S.  However, the requirement to go back to your home country can be incredibly disruptive to an academic career (not to talk about relationships!), and not all home countries even have any job in the area that you’ve been trained in.

Until relatively recently, it was virtually impossible to get the home-stay requirement waived. I have heard of cases where even intervention by members of the senate did not prevent people from being forced to leave the country.  This situation seems to have changed at least 2-4 years ago. When I got offered a job in 2006, I first heard from various sources at different schools that it was impossible, but then I heard of one professor who had recently gone through the process of having the home-stay requirement waived.

The process

I think this is the best place to start: the official application webpage from the Department of State. You need to assemble all previous IAP-66s/D-2019s, which can turn out to be a bit tricky. Fulbright does not store them anymore, but I got lucky and one of my former employers still had a (barely readable) copy, which they scanned for me. You will have to apply for a letter from your embassy (the embassy of your home country) where they have to state that they are fine waiving your requirement. That itself does not guarantee that the application for a waiver will be successful. You also will need to write a statement of reason for the Deparmtent of State (which is where the application is evaluated). In my application I also attached a statement from Fulbright that they were ok with the waiver since I received conflicting infomration as to whether that was required or not.

Finally, make sure you apply through the right path. There are several reasons (=paths) for a J1 home-stay waiver application. I took the “no objection” path (that’s why I needed the letter from my embassy).

Statement of reason

Since I wasn’t at all familiar with the format the statement of reason should take, I asked around a bit, but I only found one example. Since it could be useful and since it worked, here is what I wrote to the Department of State (the online application form provides a place for you to enter a statement).

To the Department of State:
My current research is best carried out at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. I am requesting a waiver of the two-year foreign residence requirement in order to satisfactorily pursue my professional research objectives and to advance my research program. The two-year foreign residence requirement is associated with the J1 visa I had from 08/18/2000 – 06/18/2001.
I have requested a “No Objection” statement from the Embassy of Germany with the support of the Fulbright Commission (the sponsor of my J-1). I would be happy to send you the Fulbright Commission’s statement along with a more detailed statement of reason why I think I am eligible for a waiver.
Sincerely,
Florian

How long does it take?

It was about a six month process plus time for preparation (about 3 months but I am slow at such things).  But is has apparently gotten a lot faster (6-8 weeks is what the website says now). In  you planning, keep in mind that the waiver has to go through the Department of State and that there is a “background check” involved (I think it was the Department of Homeland …) AND all of this needs to be done before you can apply for your new work visa (e.g. an H1-B to start a faculty position)! In my case, I used the F1-OPT training visa to bridge the time between my graduation and the new job while waiting for the waiver to come through — a bit nerve-wrecking …  (you can start a job on an F1-OPT, I believe, but in any case you can do a post-doc on a F1-OPT). There is a way to fast-track your H1-B application, but it’ll cost (you or usually the hiring institution) and even then it’ll take a few weeks and you cannot start your new job (= getting paid) without the H1-B.

Do you need a lawyer?

I head conflicting statements about this, but I applied without a lawyer. I briefly had contacted a lawyer and he was honest enough to suggest that I would not need his help as long as I just followed the instructions.

Did I get something wrong? Updates? Please leave a comment below. Much appreciated (you can leave the comment anonymously).

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155 thoughts on “Information on applying for a waiver of the J1-visa Foreign Residence Requirement

    Fred said:
    July 2, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Um, don’t count on the 6-8 week period. We just went through that. The 6-8 week period starts from when ‘all documentation is received.’ From the moment of mailing until official receipt was 2 months. Ridiculous but fully 50% of the State Department sniff their own glue (the other half being great). From time of official ‘receipt’ to official start was another 2 months. The difference? Since we did not have one of the original DS-2019, we had to request a letter from the sponsoring company saying they did not have the original DS-2019 and had no information on the applicant (us). We filled in the required information and sent it in along with the letter. The State Department noted this as received originally, then changed it around and said it didn’t count. This was 4 weeks of the two month delay. We approached the State Department about what to do since this information wasn’t available (you would think, since they issued it originally that they would have a copy, but no, forget it). After going round and round with some of the most arrogant people I have ever had the misfortune to deal with, a photo copy of the original DS 2019 was found. Sheer luck because this was 12 years old. What would have happened if we hadn’t found it? Who can say. It took another three weeks from mailing it in to the State Department acknowledging receipt. Over all 4 months form mailing of appropriate documents to official clock starting.

    Like

      tiflo said:
      July 2, 2009 at 5:24 pm

      yeah, it took me longer than the official time period, too. I had to track down an old IAP and my sponsoring organization had not kept a copy. Luckily a former employer had one! My experience with the State Department was ok though. It just took forever to get all materials together.

      Like

        Achilles said:
        March 11, 2010 at 4:18 pm

        Tiflo,

        I go to the U of R also. I just applied and it’s pending. Could you e-mail me at: atziazas@gmail.com? (I am pretty much freaking out from the wait). If you are still at the U of R we could grab a coffee at Starbuck’s in Wilson Commons. I applied but I want to show you how I filled this in, for additional input. Also, my Dean (from the Simon School) and the Career Management Center offered to send letters to the committee. What do you think about this?

        Like

          tiflo said:
          March 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm

          Hi ‘Achilles’,

          I always think additional letters are unlikely to hurt (provided they are enthusiastic), but it seemed to me that they in all likelihood won’t even really look at the. Unfortunately, I cannot meet right now, because I am swamped in conference preparations – we have 5 papers at a conference next week. I’ll be back 3/20. But honestly, I don’t think I will be of much help. There’s nothing I know that isn’t already on these pages. I really just went through the same thing and have no additional expertise ;).

          Florian

          Like

    Fred said:
    July 4, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I have found out some more information. The initial time period is due partially to the fact that the application is sent to one office for financial processing. It is then sent to the DoS. This second step took 6-7 weeks. Why?

    According to some websites, every paper sent by mail to the DoS has to be sent out for irradiation, then somewhere else for some other process and then to the DoS. Get your paper work right because every incoming snail mail will take at least 8 days before it can even be logged in.

    There are two people who log stuff in. That is all they do. They do not consider if hte paperwork is correct or not, they just log it by type. If you send in something it may appear on the website as received but all that means is logged in. If there is a problem with that peice of paper, you won’t find out until a case officer looks at it.

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      tiflo said:
      July 4, 2009 at 3:16 pm

      Thanks for the extra information. I think in general applicants should plan for at least 6 months to avoid unpleasant surprises.

      In all of this, let’s not forget that it used to be completely impossible to get out of the home-stay requirement. At least it’s possible now ;).

      Like

    theone said:
    July 6, 2009 at 1:26 am

    can you please clarify why did Fulbright give you the no objection letter? I mean what are the reasons that you gave to them in order to get this letter?

    Like

      tiflo said:
      July 6, 2009 at 4:19 pm

      Hi,

      let me clarify first: the letter of no objection comes from your embassy (i.e. the embassy of your country of citizenship), not from Fulbright. I did talk with the Fulbright representative though (Kate Leiva, I believe; it has been some time) and, as I recall, they were happy to provide a letter that they, too, had no objection. I was clear about my situation — that I had gotten offered a job that I could not have gotten in Germany, that I had already been selected from amongst other candidates (so, I wasn’t taking the job of any equally or more qualified citizen). I don’t know which aspects of that were crucial. I just followed advice I had gotten from other colleagues of mine you had gone through similar applications. Does that help?

      Like

        Ani said:
        September 10, 2010 at 7:54 am

        Hi. Thanks for sharing. It is helpful. I am a Fulrbight with a Wall Street research job abd there is no such job in Bulgaria but this is no argument the Bulgarian Fulbright commission would accept. I asked them once if this grant has an option of repaying it back and they said something like “How can you ask this. This is a violation of the fulbright idea” along these lines. :) hehe My Statement of Reason is much longer, may be I shall try to make it more concise…

        Like

    Bill Bartmann said:
    September 3, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Excellent site, keep up the good work

    Like

    Tobey said:
    September 16, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Hi,

    Thanks for the great info. Your site is the first one that I’ve come across that specifically mentions a successful application for the waiver. Good to hear that it is possible.

    I’m surprised that your letter was really short. I thought you were suppose to write a long letter explaining why you are applying for the waiver. Thanks for showing us what you wrote!

    I was just wondering if you have any thoughts about this. But my wife’s J visa started on Sept 2008 and expires on Dec 2012 (I’m on J2). Should she apply for the waiver closer to the Dec 2012 deadline or can she start applying sooner (like next year)?

    Once again…Thanks for everything…I’m encouraged

    Like

      tiflo said:
      September 16, 2009 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Tobey,

      thanks for the feedback. Let me be clear, I am really no expert in these matters. I just wrote down my personal experience. So I don’t know the right answer to your question. I personally applied as early as possible (as soon as I found out that I was subject to the home-stay requirement, which I had actually forgotten, since it was linked to a visa I had had about 7 years earlier …). Just be sure to convince your embassy that staying in the US is opening professional or other opportunities to your wife that she would not have if she left (at least for my embassy that seemed to be of importance). Good luck, and sorry to not be of more help,

      Florian

      Like

    flor said:
    September 29, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Hi, once the department of state sends a favorable recommendation to USCIS, how long does it takes for USCIS to approve the case? and also.. do you need the approval letter from USCIS to start the paperwork to become a resident? thanks for your time

    Like

      tiflo said:
      September 29, 2009 at 3:51 pm

      Hi, sorry, I really don’t know the answer to this. The last part was pretty fast (1-2 months?). But maybe other people reading this blog can answer you. Sorry.

      Like

    maria said:
    September 30, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Finding this information has really made my day. In the past few weeks I’ve been made to think that it’s impossible to get the waiver if you were on a Fulbright. I know the chances are slim, but hearing that it does happen has really lifted my spirits!
    Does anybody know if there’s a relationship between the amount you received from Fulbright (I only got $6000) and the chances of getting the waiver?

    Like

      tiflo said:
      September 30, 2009 at 11:16 pm

      Hey, glad this is of help. I DO remember that the Fulbright representative I talked to back then asked me about how much I had received from them and that she seemed relieved it wasn’t that much (I had a separate stipend, so I only go health insurance and some flight costs for about ~$1,800 from them; the other sponsor was not related to the visa).

      Like

    cyp80 said:
    November 25, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Hi everyone,

    I am in the same process now. I just talked with an immigration attorney today and he said my case is very unlikely. He said even if I get a no objection letter from my government (and they do allow that), it is very likely that the fullbright will object to that.

    For those of you who had a no objection letter from the fullbright, could you share with me how that was possible?

    Thanks.

    Like

      tiflo said:
      November 25, 2009 at 8:35 pm

      Hi, well, as far as I know, Fulbright used to not give no object letters (that’s what I was told originally, too), but it seems that they have changed their opinion. Unless they changed their opinion again, they probably will write you one. Have you already contacted them? I would try that first. You have nothing to loose. Make clear how important it is for you to be able to stay in the U.S.

      Like

    cyp80 said:
    November 28, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I was on a Fullbright between 2003-2005 (during my masters degree) and then the university took over and changed my status from J-1 to F-1 when I was about to start my PhD and i have been an F-1 since then.

    Now, i am applying for jobs in USA and i am worried since i need to apply for a waiver. My home country and the fullbright at home said they have no problem writing me no objection letters.

    In addition, I found out that my field is NOT on the skills list of my home country. I was wondering if there is any fullbrighter (who got no objection letters) whose waiver request was approved.

    The reason is that from the search I have been doing, it seems like even if your field is NOT on the skills list, if Fullbright is involved in funding (and in my case, the answer is yes), the waiver will not be possible.

    I would appreciate any help.

    Thanks.

    Like

    cyp80 said:
    November 28, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Also, i did try talking with a lady in Fulbright here in USA and she did not let me finish and said she can not advise me on this issue.

    So, no help from there.

    Like

      tiflo said:
      November 28, 2009 at 5:58 pm

      Sorry, to hear that. I hope there is someone out there who knows the answer. I only remember that Fulbright told me that they wouldn’t even really need to write that letter because technically the Department of State does not require it. Have you tried calling the Department of State?

      Like

    tiflo said:
    November 28, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    This is a moderated blog ;). So, I need to approve the entries first. Sorry, if that was not clear.

    Like

    cyp80 said:
    November 28, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks for the answer. So, how could you end up with Fulbright writing that letter on your behalf (that is what you had written before)?

    In the statement of reason that was posted here, it said that the person had the support of the Fulbright Commission, so that means they were able to have the fullbright approve the waiver, isn’t that correct?

    Sorry with many questions, it is just that since i am a fullbrighter. I have a feeling without me trying to convince them for the waiver, it is very likely that the department ot state will disapprove my waiver request.

    You recommended me calling the department of state. Did you do that also? I thought the person you talked to was from the fulbright. Who would you recomend talking to in the department of state?

    thanks.

    Like

      tiflo said:
      November 28, 2009 at 7:01 pm

      Yes, you are correct. I was a Fulbrighter and I received a letter from Fulbright. I simply called the West Coast office and made my case. Since I also had been on another stipend, I received a relatively moderate amount from Fulbright. Maybe that affected the situation.

      And, yes, I also called the Department of State. I searched for some hotline online and called and after a LOOOOOOOOONG wait somebody answered, listened to my case, and told me what to do. I don’t remember whether it was worth it, but in your case it may be (if you feel you’re not getting the Fulbright letter). If you end up doing that, I would really appreciate if you could post the number here and maybe a short summary of your experience.

      Good luck,
      Florian

      Like

    cyp80 said:
    November 28, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks so much. I was planning to prepare my case and talk with the same lady you mentioned, however, I am not from the west coast, so i will probably need to deal with the right regional office and person.

    You mentioned that you called the Department of State. Do you remember their number and who you talked to?

    Thanks.

    Like

      tiflo said:
      November 28, 2009 at 8:38 pm

      Unfortunately, I do not remember the number. Can you post it, if you find it? It may help others!

      Like

    cyp80 said:
    November 29, 2009 at 12:22 am

    ok, i will do that, thanks. Also, as you mentioned before, i received a relatively modest funding from fullbright during the two years I was J-1. It basically covered one round trip ticket per year and health insurance.

    Do you think I should emphasize this in my talk with the fulbright person since i heard that lesser the amount, the higher the chance of approval of waiver. What do you think?

    Also, do you think I should also call the same lady you mentioned even if i am not from the west coast? or would they forward me to someone else automatically?

    thanks.

    Like

      tiflo said:
      November 29, 2009 at 7:34 am

      I would call whoever is responsible for you. Don’t try to skip the hierarchy. Then you risk upsetting that person and since the FB hierarchy is pretty flat, it won’t do you much good anyway, I would think.

      I would definitely mention that you did not receive much (but we sure to be clear that you still appreciated that help).

      Like

    cyp80 said:
    November 29, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Thank you. I had two questions. One is that you mentioned that you briefly contacted a lawyer and he/she said that you do not need his/her help as long as you follow the instructions. Could you share with me the name of the lawyer you talked to? It is just if my talking with Fulbright on the phone is not successful, i might need to talk with a lawyer as well. Name and contact info would really help me.

    Second thing is when you were writing your statement of reason, did you have a specific job at hand? I am just wondering whether writing a specific job offer would change the outcome of the situation. Also, i do not know if it was your statement of reason you shared online, but if it was yours, you mentioned a specific university name, did you already have a job offer from them, or were you already working at that university when you were applying?

    Also, you mentioned that you were fullbright for one year between 2000-2001, could you mention around how much you got funding from fullbright. If you do not want to share this, it is fine. I am just wondering an approximate amount. Mine was 3500 dollars for one year, so 7000 dollars for two, which basically covered ticket and health insurance, whereas my university took over everything.

    Thanks so very much. It is a very stressful time and i am very worried to be honest.

    Like

      tiflo said:
      November 29, 2009 at 6:33 pm

      Dear cyp80,

      Unfortunately, I don’t remember the lawyer’s name (this was almost 4 years ago). Yes, I had a job at hand. I had already been hired (via my F1-OPT since I transitioned right out of grad school into a job). As a matter of fact, I had forgotten about my home stay requirement until I tried to apply for a work visa. So, I very much understand how stressful this situation is for you.

      I don’t remember the exact amount I got from Fulbright. They reimbursed a flight and covered my health insurance (I had an EAP tuition waiver from Berkeley and a German stipend for my living costs). And, of course, they did a lot more beyond the financial help.

      Good luck,

      Florian

      Like

    cyp80 said:
    November 29, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Thank you so much for your response and encouraging words. Could you let me know which documents you attached when you requested a waiver? So, no objection letter from the government, job offer?, did you also send the letter from Fulbright?

    As far as i know, the government forwards the letter to the department of state on one’s behalf, how about the letter from fulbright? did they send it to your home address or did they forward it to the department of state? did you also send job offer, and what other documents?

    I am applying to tenure-track positions, so i am not even sure if they will accept me under F-1 OPT if they hire me, since by rule, without the waiver, i can not even apply for tenure-track positions.

    I am planning to gaduate by the end of summer 2010, but since i know the process takes long, i wanted to apply now, so i will not have a job offer when I apply, since i am still sending my application forms.

    Thanks. I am sorry for taking your time with these questions. I could not tell you how much I appreciate it.

    Like

      tiflo said:
      November 29, 2009 at 9:05 pm

      Hi Deniz [?],

      basically, I attached the hell out of it. I even had a letter from my department stating that I had been selected after a international search, but, of course, that is not required. You can’t attach too much as long as you are clear about what you attach, so that important info doesn’t get lost.

      Like

    SM said:
    November 30, 2009 at 2:11 am

    Hello,

    I would greatly appreciate any opinions or info. that you may have.
    I am subject to the 2yr residency requirement as part of a 1 year exchange program from 1997 to 1998. It was all funded ($10,000 total) by the US Gov’t and as part of the program I studied in a US high school for 1 full year. Since 1998, I have been in my home country for 6 months, but still have 18 months left. Moreover, I have completed my undergraduate and graduate degrees in the US (private funding – F1 Visa).

    I am putting together the waiver application and I was told by the embassy that they will give me a “No Objection Letter”.

    Currently, I am in the US studying. I will be soon applying for a M.S. Accounting program to start in the Fall, 2010. I will finish the program May 2011. My intentions are to take the C.P.A. examinations; however, I will not become chartered accountant unless I work for a public US accounting firm for few years.

    Moreover, I am engaged to a US permanent resident, who will be eligible to apply for US citizenship in the Spring of 2011. We will be tying the knot in Spring of 2010. After she becomes a citizen sometimes in 2011, we plan on applying for adjustment of status for me if residency requirement is waived.

    I am lost about what I should include in my “Statement of Reason”. Part of my says, write about the M.S. Accounting, CPA exam and required work for certification and stress that somehow the certification will benefit my home country.

    The other part of me says, just write about my relationship, my marriage, and my intentions about changing my status.

    I apologize for a long post, but please share your opinions, experience, and knowledge.

    Thank you all

    Like

    twinklestar said:
    December 10, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    hallo florian,

    sehr coole seite, super infos!!
    bin auch ueber fulbright (germany) hier in den staaten seit 2007 und hab hier meinen master gemacht. nun arbeite ich in einer werbeagentur und mein ds 2019 ist bis naechstes jahr mai gueltig. ich wollte mich fuer ein J1-waiver und ein O1 (artist-visa) bewerben und eigentlich hatte ich vor, es ueber einen anwalt zu machen, aber nachdem, was ich hier so lese, habe ich mut gefassst, zumindest die J-1 waiver application selbst zu machen.

    hatte nur eine frage bzgl. dem schreiben von fulbright, das du zur unterstuetzung bekommen hast. du meintest, dass du fulbright an der westkueste angeschrieben haettest. ich bin in new york und fuer uns ist das IIE (institute of international education) zustaendig. die uebernehmen alle angelegenheiten fuer intl. fulbrighter. meine frage an dich ist, ob ich lieber fulbright in berlin anschreibe oder das IIE? ich koennt mir vorstellen, dass fulbright in berlin das nicht so toll findet, da sie ja so sehr auf die zweijahres-klausel wert legen (bzw. hoffentlich ‘gelegt haben’). andererseits… die wuerden es sowieso nach meiner application erfahren, richtig? also vielleicht doch lieber direkt anschreiben und ueber mein vorhaben ehrlich berichten?

    muss mir nur gute gruende ueberlegen, weshalb ich hier bleiben muss, anstatt nach deutschland zurueck zu kehren, da ich ja kein wichtiges research oder so mache, sondern einfach nur nach meinem master in einer werbeagentur als designer arbeite. der grund, weshalb ich hier bleiben moechte, ist mehr wegen der stadt, den karrieremoeglichkeiten und meinem freund. aber das kann ich ja schlecht schreiben, haha…

    anyway.. freu mich jetzt schon auf deine antwort und danke, fuer deine hilfreichen infos!!! :)

    Like

      tiflo said:
      December 10, 2009 at 5:50 pm

      Hi Twinklestar ;),

      given my understanding of the situation, I would talk to the IIE in NYC. They are responsible for you. If your funding came from Germany (Fulbright funding can come from U.S. sources, home country sources, or bilateral funds), they may forward you, but I think they are the ones you have to write to.

      Yeah, think about what you argue for. But, FWIW, also keep in mind that the rule is there for a reason ;) (so that we go back at some point to share the experiences that we had abroad before we vanish forever to the states).

      Florian

      Like

    twinklestar said:
    December 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    hi!

    another stupid question that i forgot to ask earlier.
    the no objection letter… in my case, i have to receive the letter from the US embassy in germany, right? did you just call them up? (there’s no e-mail address on their web site) or do you have a helpful link of contact info for this?

    thanks bunches!

    Like

      tiflo said:
      December 10, 2009 at 5:47 pm

      Hi, nope, assuming you’re German (given your previous post ;), the no objection letter has to be requested from the German embassy in the US (Washington). It’s your home country government that has to have no objection (which doesn’t guarantee that the Department of State will be satisfied, but it’s a necessary condition).

      As I recall, there is a link on the Washington D.C. embassy’s page.

      Florian

      Like

    twinklestar said:
    December 11, 2009 at 10:15 am

    hi!

    thanks bunches for your quick response! i already got in touch with fulbright germany (IIE in new york seems to be not that cooperative), and want to share what they said, since it might help other ppl who read your blog. the fulbright commission would be okay with providing me a letter called “Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung” (something like an inoffical no objection statement from fulbright, stating that they don’t have any objections if i want to apply for the J1-waiver) after i’ve sent them some good reasons why i want to apply for the waiver. i hope that this will help me a lot in convincing the DOS. i’m afraid though that my case is very unlikely to be successful since i’ve received a full scholarship from fulbright which is a ton lot of money.. -.-;; but you never know unless you try! ;)

    thanks again!

    Like

      tiflo said:
      December 11, 2009 at 10:40 am

      Hey, thanks a lot for providing feedback. This is going to be very helpful for others.

      Like

    Memo said:
    December 11, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Hello,

    I studied in the US from 1992 to 1996 with a Fulbright scholarship, which entailed Fulbright finding me a college to partially fund me and covered a return ticket from Fulbright. So I had a J-1 from 1992 to 1996 but I continued my studies from 1996 to 2002 with an F-1 visa. Can I count the number of days I have been physically present in my home country (i.e. vacations) since 1996 or does it have to be starting in 2002?? I have been in Canada since 2002 and in my home country for a total of 410 days since 1996. How am I supposed to prove this to the US state dept? I have the dates on my passport but I don’t have my IAP 66s anymore. Also can I ask an office (?) in my home country confirming the time I spent at home? I have been issued several IAP 66s from 1992-1996 and I think I can find only 1 copy. Does the US department even keep track of J-1s from 1992-1996? I mean it’s been 13 years. I feel that they should just let me be :)

    Does anyone know my chances of getting a job in the US without this J-1 thing being a problem. I am freezing in Canada :(

    p.s. CYP80, are you from Cyprus?? I’d be curious to know your experiences.

    Like

      tiflo said:
      December 11, 2009 at 3:00 pm

      While I am really not an expert in this (repeat repeat ;), I do think you can count all days after the J1, but technically you can only count home stays, not holiday. I think this is sometimes taken to mean that you have residency in your home country, though I would think they probably don’t check that in great detail.

      As for IAPs, it’s your responsibility to keep them, but you may be surprised how long former employers may keep them. You could phone around and try to get a hold of them. That worked for me.

      Like

        Memo said:
        December 13, 2009 at 12:15 am

        Thanks. So you are not sure if my home visits would create a problem? But even then I only have 410 days accumulated. Do you just show them copies of your passport stamps? Do you think the state dept would still have my name in its records as having had J-1 14 years ago?? I wish I could find this out without having to ask for a waiver.

        Like

          tiflo said:
          December 13, 2009 at 1:44 am

          Sorry, I don’t know the answer. Maybe somebody else reading this will. I think the accumulated number of days will be in your favor, as long as you answer that they were part of residency in your home country.

          Like

      cyp80 said:
      August 21, 2011 at 8:27 am

      Hi Memo,

      Yes, I am from Cyprus. If there is any specific question, please do not hesitate to write here and i would be happy to help.

      Best,
      Cyp80

      Like

    Omar said:
    January 13, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    URGENT : What is our take on this??????????

    http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_4514.html#?css=print

    Like

      tiflo said:
      January 13, 2010 at 6:39 pm

      Hi Omar,

      what do you mean? Is this for applications for waivers through the special skills program? That is, I believe, different from the no objection letter approach, right?

      Florian

      Like

    Robbert said:
    February 4, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Hi all,

    I am now in the process of trying to get a waiver for myself and my girlfriend (who also has a J1 visa with a 2yr home requirement). Does anybody know of any regulations that have changed in 2010? we will definitely do the following:

    – apply for a no objection statement through the (in my case) Dutch embassy
    – try to get a statement from Fulbright that they have no objection either (us was told before we accepted the scholarship that is was relatively easy to waive it, no this seems not to be the case. We received about $12500 each which was absolutely great, however if this would limit us from staying here we would be more than happy to repay this amount, but that is also not possible…)
    – get a letter of recommendation from future employers in the US.

    Does anybody have any other tips on what we can do to maximize our chances?

    Any advice would be mostly appreciated!

    Like

    henry said:
    February 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Hey, I’m going to apply for a waiver. In case it doesn’t work, do you think that having double nationality may help to get around the two-year restriction. I do want to go back to my country but after a few years only.
    Thanks!

    Javier

    Like

      tiflo said:
      February 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm

      Hey Henry,

      no idea, but I would be surprised if that matters. It may give you a choice which home country you go back to …

      Does anybody reading this have experience with the effect of dual citizenship?

      Like

    Ruh said:
    February 22, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks so much for posting your experience and for continuous updates on the comments! Super-nice of you!

    I have a quick question regarding the no objection letter from Fulbright. Did you write it and got it signed or do they have a template. And if, have you ever seen it? I need to draft the letter for my scholarship foundation and I am not quite sure how it’s supposed to look. I guess fairly short and formal will do?

    Also, I posted your statement on a very popular immigration website that I have used a lot in the past. I should have asked you first, sorry. Please let me know if you are not ok with it and I will remove it.

    http://forums.immigration.com/showthread.php?309599-j-waiver-no-objection-letter&p=2157909&posted=1#post2157909

    I am writing my statement at the moment and I am wondering how serious I should take it. Yours is so short and simple that I doubt that anybody really cares…

    Like

      tiflo said:
      February 22, 2010 at 10:07 pm

      Hi,

      thanks for the feedback. Spreading the word is, of course, ok, though it makes me feel that I should stress again that I am really not an expert in immigration matters (merely a “user”) – in case that isn’t plenty obvious ;). I based my statement on a statement of a colleague who had gone through the process (back then actually, the only colleague I could find that had gone through the process and, believe me, I asked a LOT of colleagues). So, it’s not a template, just something that I had been told would suffice.

      Florian

      Like

    greg said:
    April 26, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Hi guys,
    I want to share my experience and what I know about this process.
    I was on J1 visa at the end of 1990s (USIA/Muskie), then switched on F1, and now I am on H1B working for a great company. Couple years ago I tried to apply for a waiver to be able to get a green card and used a lawyer. My lawyer forgot to send fee and I paid her almost 1 year for nothing because DOS gives you case No, but does not initiate your case until gets a fee. Never use Azulay Seiden and something lawyers, very unprofessional! Any person with high school diploma can do better job! Why I contacted them? My friends told me that it’s better to be represented by a lawyer. I still think it may add validity to your case, but look for GOOD lawyers! Later I found a different lawyer, but actually paid only for representation – I collected all documents by myself and just gave him a package to send to the DOS. Now my biggest problem is no-objection letter. I would never imagine that this becomes the major problem. My embassy sent me a letter stating that as I was funded by American money my trip to the US is considered as a private trip and they cannot issue no-objection letter. This is neither Yes, nor NO. So, I am stuck. My H1B will expire soon and I will have to leave the US. Good thing is that I am not going to my home country. While in the US I got Canadian permanent residency – just in case. It may take 2 to 3 years, but it’s worth if you don’t want to go home. Some of my friends with the same problem are now Canadians. I also know people who got green card – they just did not mention that they were on J1 visa. This is also a good way out of this 2-year requirement, especially if you had J1 before 2000. Immigration and DOS did not follow every foreigner at that time. If you have any useful info for me – like can embassy be made to answer, please share on this blog.
    Greg

    Liked by 1 person

    [...] there are at most 10 people per year who apply for the waiver from Japan (not from Japanese in US). The article on the waiver application was very [...]

    Like

    Mike said:
    May 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Hi all,I am going to get married and I have 2 year rule.I am an internship student now.I belieeve getting married is not a reason we can write for NOS.thats second time at same company.I was a work and travel student and I finished my school, they called me back to work for them.They dont extend my visa anymore and they dont provide h visa.I know its kinda lazy what I want but can somebody write me a full paragraph of reason that I can write on waive form and US. goverment can accept my reason.I really dont know what I can write.I really need that.I will appreciate for all you do.thanks.

    Like

    Ms Locks said:
    May 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Hi,
    Thanks for posting your experience. Thats nice of you.
    I am currently trying to send all my stuff in for the waiver, however i had overstayed my J1 visa. What are the chances of having the waiver denied or accepted?
    Also, what would you enter in for the question” time not covered by ds 2019…rem i overstayed my visa…
    my embassy has no problem sending a no objection letter and my program sponsor already sent me a no objection letter. Let me also add that i was never funded by any government. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks alot!

    Like

      Mike said:
      May 5, 2010 at 8:06 pm

      that means u stayed there by illegal or not but if you wanna make sure, go ahead and send an e-mail to department of state before u send your papers and they can give you information about that.Can I ask you what you wrote for statement of reason ?

      Like

    twinklestar said:
    May 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Hi Florian,

    I had a quick question about your application. You wrote to the DOS “…I would be happy to send you the Fulbright Commission’s statement along with a more detailed statement of reason why I think I am eligible for a waiver…”
    Did you really send along another statement? If so, how long was that? Or did you wait for an answer for that and they never requested a detailed statement of reason, so you never sent one?

    I’d really appreciate your answer. Thanks! :)

    Like

      tiflo said:
      May 26, 2010 at 8:36 pm

      Hi Twinklestar ;),

      they never asked for it, so I never send it.

      florian

      Like

    hk said:
    December 16, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I wanted to know why you did not apply as interested goverment waiverfrom the university I think university is a goverment entity and should be able to ask for waiver did you try this method

    Like

      tiflo said:
      December 20, 2010 at 8:50 am

      Hi hk,

      universities are not government bodies. I am pretty sure this term refers to government research institutes (e.g. NIH and military etc.).

      florian

      Like

    2010 in review « HLP/Jaeger lab blog said:
    January 3, 2011 at 9:48 am

    [...] Information on applying for a waiver of the J1-visa Foreign Residence Requirement April 2009 61 comments 3 [...]

    Like

    ignacio said:
    February 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    hi, I have a J1 visa subjecto the 2 year equirement and I am looking for an Assistant Professor Position.

    1) Suppose I get an O-Visa. Can I then switch to an H visa and evade the 2 year requirement?

    2) Suppose I go to Europe. Since I have a passport from Latin American country where my visa was issued, can I come back two years from now and
    “fulfill” the two-year requirement.

    Thanks

    Like

      cyp80 said:
      September 13, 2011 at 10:11 am

      Ignacio,

      I am assuming that you probably resolved your situation. If you need any assistance, send me an email and i might assist you or refer you to someone. Due to Fulbright, my j-1 waiver was denied, but with the help of a good lawyer, I received an O-1 visa that allows you to work.

      Best,
      cyp80

      Like

    ignacio said:
    February 21, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    1) Suppose I get an O-Visa. Can I then switch to an H visa and evade the 2 year requirement?

    2) Suppose I go to Europe. Since I have a passport from Latin American country where my visa was issued, can I come back two years from now and
    “fulfill” the two-year requirement.

    Thanks

    Like

      tiflo said:
      February 21, 2011 at 11:00 pm

      I am fairly certain that the answer to 2) is “yes”, but I have no idea about 1). Again, I am a psycholinguist ;). Keep that in mind. But maybe someone else reading this does know.

      florian

      Like

    ignacio said:
    March 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I am in a J1. I’ll graduate soon and will have academic training. If I go to my country during sumemrs does this count as part of fulfilling the two-year requirement.
    Thanks

    Ignacio

    Like

      tiflo said:
      March 13, 2011 at 7:02 pm

      las time i checked, any time in your country counts if it adds up to the required time. so make sure to record when you were in your home country.

      Like

    cyp80 said:
    March 31, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Hi all,

    Just to inform you that after months of hard work, I submitted my application package to Department of State and also to my home embassy in Washington ten days ago.

    Now, time to wait for a decision for the next 2-4 months. I will keep you informed once a decision has been made.

    Best,

    cyp80

    Like

      David said:
      August 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      Hi cyp80,

      How are you doing?

      I have been reading your posts and your plan to waive the two-year rule with great interest. (I will be in the same situation some time in the near future.)

      Are there any news regarding the decision? (At the end of March you wrote that the process may take about 2-4 months which would be about now.)

      I hope it went all well.

      Thanks for your reply.

      David

      Like

        cyp80 said:
        August 21, 2011 at 8:26 am

        Dear David,

        It has been a long time since I entered this website. As you can imagine, this has been a very stressful time. I applied for a J-1 waiver with the help of my lawyer (who someone else recommended). I need to admit she did a great job, asssting me, helping me with the documents to get. I received a no-objection letter from my home embassy in DC, and despite this and the good letters, my waiver was denied in mid-May due to Fulbright.

        I know that there are some exceptions, but more than 90 percent of the times, if you are a Fulbright scholar, you can pretty much forget the waiver. Yet, my lawyer said we have other options. Again, months of paperwork, letters, she filed my O-1 visa petition on August 01 and she said that O-1 visas are processed in 2 weeks (and no need for premium processing and extra charge) and I received my approval from USCIS on August 12.

        It is required that after O-1 visa approval that I leave US, apply for a visa stamp at US consulate in my home country (or any third country but they prefer that we do it in our home country) and the enter US wit the new visa. My current F-1 OPT expires on August 31. Before this date, i need to leave US.

        Thus, to do this, i am flying home on Tuesday and be back in US in 2.5 weeks. Hopefully, this should give me enough time to get the visa.

        If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email. I need to emphasize once more that I couldn’t do this without a good lawyer. A person who was in the same situation referred this lawyer to me and i am so thankful to him that he did. So, i could definitely recommend her to you.

        Good luck. All the best,

        cyp80

        Like

          tiflo said:
          August 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm

          Hi Denise,

          Good luck and thank you for replying to this comment :)

          Florian

          Like

        David said:
        August 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm

        Dear cyp80,

        Thank you so much for your reply! (There was no “reply” button at the end of your post so I had to reply to my own post. I hope you still this message though).

        I’m sorry the J-1 waiver got denied, but I’m really happy for you because of the O-1 visa. Nice job! I assume you applied for tenure track positions or similar jobs in academia? Also, I assume for getting the O-1 visa you need to be well-published and a member of important organizations?

        I really would like to send you an e-mail so I can ask you about the lawyer and other details, but I don’t see your e-mail address.

        My e-mail address is dave2005_8 (at) hotmail.com

        Could you send me an e-mail?

        Thanks so much!

        David

        Like

          tiflo said:
          August 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm

          Hi David

          Denis’s email Address is given as part of her post

          mailto:denizyucel18@yahoo.com

          Hth

          F

          Like

        David said:
        August 21, 2011 at 11:17 pm

        Thanks, Florian!

        David

        Like

    greg said:
    April 17, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Hi guys,
    I have some updates. In international office they told me that I can switch to O visa after my H1B expires. So I don’t have to leave country for 1 year. O visa is for6 years also. I assume you can easily switch from O visa to H and the from H to O and do this indefinitely. The only problem – your dependents cannot work. Next, if you go to some other country, not your own country to fulfill 2 year requirement, this will not count as a waiver. But if you don’t tell them this will be counted. One more extreme example. My friend that I met recently told me that he had J1 visa in early 90-s, but then applied for a green card (he never indicated about J1 visa) and got it in 2004. Now he is a citizen. The only problem is that every time he got mail from Immigration, he was and still is nervous.
    Good luck to all of you,
    Greg

    Like

    cyp80 said:
    April 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Dear Florian,

    Do you know how long it took for sponsor views to be sent?

    Thank you,

    cyp80

    Like

      tiflo said:
      April 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      Dear cyp80,

      as I recall, the Fulbright confirmations arrived within one or two weeks, back then.

      Florian

      Like

    cyp80 said:
    April 21, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Thank you for your response. Best,

    cyp80

    Like

    Sandieguino said:
    May 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Hello, I’m a fulbright, with the j1 visa with the 2 year rule, after my program ended I went to my country and there was a huge strike…. so I decided to go back to USA using my tourist visa, I entered the country with no problems but after consulting immigration lawyers I could not get another visa because I had the “j1 visa and 2 year rule” there on my back…. 1 year later I received a certificate from Fulbright that my exchange wass a success and they were congratulating me with a nice looking “US department of education” certificate….

    So I would like to get this fixed and time has passed 4 years and I’m stuck. I tried to get married but unfortunately I did not want to get married ’cause I did not want to end up stuck with someone who would be asking me for money if I’m barely surviving myseld.

    I have applied to the Diversity Lottery and keep doing that every year…

    Does anyone have any suggestions?? should I marry someone and get the no objection letter from my embassy, request a letter from Fulbright in my country, Fulbright funded me about 2,000 monthly, I was teaching at a highschool.

    any suggestions, tips or comments would be appreciated. Thanks guys

    Like

    Su said:
    August 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    How did you get a letter from Fulbright? My fiance was told that Fulbright didn’t do that – they wouldn’t give him a letter – he has a no objection letter from his country but is waiting on the US side. Who does he need to contact to get a letter?
    Thanks
    su

    Like

      tiflo said:
      August 16, 2011 at 1:27 am

      They don’t like it but they do it when you make clear that you have a no objection letter and that your professional future really lies in the US. I also happened to have been relatively active in academic exchange organizations and I gave the argument that this is another way to contribute to the mission of Fulbright without having to go back. I am not sure though that this mattered.

      F

      Like

    CT said:
    August 31, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    This page is really helpful, Florian! Thank you so much! I just learned that my agency will be able to help me apply for the waiver. However, I heard someone said that I have to stay with the J1 for about 20-22 months before I’m eligible to request a waiver. Have you heard anything about this? I’ve only been on the J1 for 1 year. Not sure if it’s enough to apply for the waiver… :-(

    Like

      tiflo said:
      September 1, 2011 at 11:42 am

      Dear CT,

      unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to this. It’s the first time I hear of this alleged restriction. I think most people apply for waivers AFTER the J1 has expired, but I may be wrong about this. Perhaps other people reading this blog will answer.

      Florian

      Like

    Oran said:
    September 8, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Hi Everyone,

    Firstly, Thanks to Florian for starting and moderating this discussion – it is really has been a very useful resource.

    So, my situation is similar to many of you. I came to the US on a Fulbright in 2008 to do a post-doc fellowship. As many of you know the next logical career step is to apply for a faculty position. There are many potential opportunities here in the US, but literally none whatsoever in my home country (Ireland, due to hiring freeze in all public sectors institutions including universities). However, of course, I have the 2 Yr HRR to contend with, which needs to be waived if I am to work here in the US.

    I applied for the waiver based on ‘No Objection’. My Statement of Reason was about 1 page long, with 3 main arguments (some of which were inspired by this forum!). The first, I mentioned already, was that there are NO opportunities in my home country. The second was that my research here was going very well here and its likely to continuing to be very productive. Finally that I am also involved in many student exchanges between here and Ireland, and thus am still working towards the overall goal of fulbright, albeit indirectly (thanks for that one Florian!). Actually, I just remembered, there was one other part where I said my grant was quite small (~ $3,000) and I would be willing to pay that amount back

    However, unfortunately I received the response from the DOS this week and my application was denied. I am not sure what to try next. I believe that there is no option for appeal in these cases. The whole situation is a bit of a shame because I think that FB is a great idea, but surely the original point of the program was not to be a hindrance to a persons career?

    Anyhow, one can only play with the cards one is dealt, I suppose!

    Comments and questions welcome

    O

    Like

      tiflo said:
      September 8, 2011 at 12:49 pm

      Hi Oran,

      I agree that this HRR can cause real (unintended) problems. I always felt that FB’s mission was to further intercultural understanding. Like you, I received a very small FB stipend (I had other funding covering the rest of my costs) and it almost ruined what now turns out to be a fun career in the US.

      I should say that I back then forgot about the HRR (my J1 one was before I actually did my PhD in the States). So I was on an F1 for my studies, then F1-OPT and I only realized that I had an HRR when I already was working for a university: my F1-OPT was about to run out and I wanted to apply for an H1-B. So, imagine my panic at that moment. I have no idea why they agreed to it, but one difference is that I applied when I already had a job (not intentionally, but that’s when I found out about the HRR). My chair supported my case with a letter describing the international search that had led to my hire and how I wasn’t taking anybody’s job since they wouldn’t have hired anyone else anyway. Another difference is that I had already spend some time between the J1 and the F1 in my home country. I don’t remember right now how much time, but I think about one year. Perhaps that mattered, too.

      Have you looked into whether you’re eligible for a greencard application? Does the HRR apply to greencard applications as well? I know it applies to H1-B applications, but I am not sure about greencards. There is an “exceptional scholar” route to the greencard (I recommend pursuing that with a lawyer, ideally paid by your future employer, – it’s expensive, and even with a lawyer it’s quite some effort; still, it’s doable).

      Florian

      Like

      cyp80 said:
      September 13, 2011 at 10:07 am

      Oran,

      I was just in the same situation. If you need any assistance, send me an email and i would be happy to refer a good lawyer who could help you.

      My waiver due to fulbright was denied and she helped me and i received an O-1 visa. So, there are options.

      Best,

      cyp80

      Like

        Sam said:
        June 7, 2012 at 8:17 am

        cyp80. I hope you are still following the thread. I applied the J-1 waiver 4 months ago and still han not received any answer. In fact, the DoS has been waiting the sponsor view from Fulbright for last 2.5 months. Can you please send me the contact info of the lawyer who helped you with the O visa. Do you know if one can transfer eventually from O to Hb1? Thnak you very much. Sam

        Like

          Oran said:
          June 7, 2012 at 12:50 pm

          Hi Sam, that does seem like a long time to be waiting for the response to your waiver application (I think mine came back in 2 months or so). However, I was told at the time that the wait time can vary considerably depending on certain ‘factors’ (which most of us outside the DoS are not privy to!). I do hope you get a favorable response, however as you probably know, the odds are stacked against anyone that came here on a Fulbright. So, if your waiver is denied and you decide to pursue the O visa it is worth remembering that the reason this option is that the O visa is, by definition, a non-immigrant visa and thus can never lead to residency, OR any other visa which could eventually lead to that status (such as H1B). Basically, if you go on to an O, the 2YrHRR can be ‘pushed to the back’ of your time on that visa but before transitioning on to another (immigrant) visa or green card after that – you would have to address the 2YrHRR once and for all! Bear in mind that I am not a lawyer and that this is just my understanding of the situation from my experience with it! Best of luck, Oran

          Like

          Sam said:
          June 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm

          Thank you Oran. Yes, it looks like there is no way around a negative waiver decision. I do not know why the sponsor view takes so long? Somebody told me that it is because the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board meets only quarterly? I do not know if the board is the committee that decides whether Fulbright supports waiver applications? Maybe somebody knows?

          Like

          tiflo said:
          June 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm

          Dear Sam,

          as far as I can tell, Fulbright’s decision depends on whether you received money from just your home country, the US, or both, on how much it was, and on what the bilateral agreements between your country and the US were. Some people get a confirmation that Fulbright is providing a waiver within a few days of giving them a call. Others have apparently been categorically denied such a waiver. When I asked Fulbright (in 2007), waivers were just becoming more common and after I explained my case (on the phone), they wrote a letter within a few days. That was all before I ever submitted the application.

          Florian

          Like

          Sam said:
          June 13, 2012 at 10:52 am

          In fact, grounds changed few years ago. The amount of money is not a determing factor whether you receive a favorable J-1 waiver recommendation or not. There are few persons in the US Fulbright that review applications and determines wheter you are eligable or not. My Fulbright sponsor view has been pending 2.5 months. I have experienced very good service at the DoS (thumps up). The person taking care of my case at the DoS have been contacting the person reviewing my case at the US Fulbright several times, but without any luck. I think it is in Fulbright’s interest to keep these waiting times relative lengthy.

          Like

          tiflo said:
          June 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

          Hi Sam,

          thanks for your comment. I don’t see though how it’s advantages for Fulbright to keep people waiting. I don’t think they have any agenda. They are, however, bound to take their mission as an exchange program seriously. Part of that is, I think, that congress and perhaps the senate, which –as far as I understand– have an influence over funding for this program probably don’t want to see American tax dollars being spend to get folks here who are meant to only visit for the short-term (of course, not all Fulbright recipients actually receive US funds). In any case, I’d give Fulbright a call. that’s what I did back then and only then things started to happen (and their reaction was pretty much immediate). But perhaps, as you suggest, things have changed?

          florian

          Like

          Sam said:
          June 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm

          Thanks Florian, Maybe you are right. Just a short comment. I have been trying to call and email them. I can’t get through the swicthboard operator (the person taking the calls). They say that they no nothing and they have no authority give any information. Maybe visiting Washington can help:)

          Like

          tiflo said:
          June 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm

          I called my local Fulbright contact (at the West Coast office) back then and asked for a phone meeting. Good luck!

          Like

          Sam said:
          June 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm

          Thank you. I have no program officer at the Fulbright but with the IIE. Maybe systems have changed in last years? Thank you for your help.

          Like

    landau said:
    November 2, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Hi everyone,
    I have similar situation as many of you. I am currently pursuing PhD in Princeton on the Fulbright (Science and Technology) fellowship. Presumably, I will try to get a waiver in future (I still have few years if I count one postdoc which is allowed). As I understand, to get no objection is impossible (Fulbright paid a lot of money for me – both tuition and stipend for 3 years), but there is also a “Interest of state agency” reason. As a physicist I will be probably involved in NSF or DOE grants (as a postdoc, not now), so this reason might be interesting for me. Does anybody have any experience with applying for a waiver based on this reason.
    Thanks.

    Like

      tiflo said:
      November 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      Hi ‘landau’,

      as I recall from back when I applied this route is pretty restricted to professions directly relevant to medical and national security concerns. For that reason I didn’t consider that route back then (I am holding two NSF grants atm).

      Florian

      Like

        landau said:
        November 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm

        Thanks for the answer. Suppose that after all I have to go back to my home country (Czech republic). Do you have any information how you are supposed to prove after 2 years that you really were in your home country? I guess if you work inside EU they can not keep track of it.
        Thanks.

        Like

          tiflo said:
          November 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm

          I don’t think you need to proof it. It’s theoretically tractable based on your I-94s. But it might be a good idea to keep flight tickets.

          Like

    tiflo said:
    July 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Guys, I just thought I share with you that I got my greencard this April (2012) — five years after I submitted the waiver for the J1 home stay requirement. I was on H1Bs during those five years. I probably could have gone up earlier, but it was quite a bit of effort (I took the O1 route in case anybody is interested). At some point, I’ll post a summary of my experiences here. I’d say it took about a little over one year from starting to plan it in earnest to having the card. Phew.

    Like

    m45 said:
    July 8, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Tiflo, congratulations on your greencard!!! – extremely well deserved

    Thanks everybody for sharing all this great information. My latest J1 visa stamp reads:
    “Bearer is NOT subject to section 212e
    Two year rule does apply”
    As the statement seems contradictory, several people have recommended me to request an Advisory Opinion at DOS, before entering into the whole waiver process. In your experience, is this worth (the advisory opinion)? Or most cases are by default confirmed as subject to section 212e

    Like

      tiflo said:
      July 8, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      Hi,

      I vaguely recall the same statement on my application back then. Unfortunately, searching online only returned a page in Hebrew (from the translation, it’s clear that the poster has the same/a similar question as you). Actually, searching a bit more returns a lot of similar questions. One immigration lawyer’s response is “Typos do happen”. I don’t think that’s it though since I seem to recall that it said the same on mine (which was successful). I would definitely call them and ask for a supervisor.

      Florian

      Like

        m45 said:
        July 23, 2012 at 6:42 pm

        Thanks Florian, I’ll consult with them. Let’s say a J1 waiver is obtained, what is the immediate next step:

        a) File for Adjustment of Status ( I-485), advance parole travel (I-131), and employment authorization (I-765) simultaneously? or
        b) Apply for the O1 visa in the meantime.

        As I don’t anticipate to follow the family-based or employment-based common routes
        Best,

        Like

          tiflo said:
          July 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm

          hmmm. That’s clearly beyond my expertise. I seem to vaguely recall those that my lawyer filed all those things at the same time. Looking at my notes that seems to be the case. If you’re question is as to whether I applied for an H1B or an interim visa back then, I went straight for the H1B. It came really close, but the H1B can be expedited if you pay extra. Sorry, if I misunderstood.

          Florian

          Like

    Fulbrighter said:
    August 3, 2012 at 3:59 am

    Tiflo, your blog was very useful for me when I applied for visa waiver, so I am posting my story here since it might be of use for other guys. I was on Fulbright (junior advanced visiting researcher to complete my phd dissertation, one academic year) and after completing my program I decided to apply for a phd there. My Fulbright was funded both by my home country and U.S. government, so the case was rather hopeless. I got 3 great letters of support from my University in the States (one of the professors was a former fulbrighter, so we thought it might help), my statement was also strong and well-grounded but no way. I also got favorable recommendation from my embassy, but this is never (?) a problem I guess. here is the timeline:
    Department of State Decision: Not Favorable Recommendation

    Item Action Date
    Sponsor Views Received July 10, 2012
    Recommendation Sent July 10, 2012
    Request for Sponsor Views Sent June 12, 2012
    No Objection Statement Received June 11, 2012
    Fee Received April 24, 2012
    Form DS-3035 Received April 24, 2012
    Form DS-2019 Received April 24, 2012
    Passport Data Page Received April 24, 2012
    Statement Of Reason Received April 24, 2012
    Other Received April 24, 2012

    good luck to all applying for a waiver, judging from my experiences and information I collected, it is hard but possible to get a waiver when the funding was rather low and/or the program wasn’t sponsored by both countries (your home c and U.S.), but if the your funding came from both countries and you received a stipend (not only for the tuition, but also your daily expences) – it is impossible. Anyway – best of luck and fingers crossed for you guys!

    Like

      tiflo said:
      August 3, 2012 at 10:39 am

      Thanks for posting this!

      Like

        Ap said:
        August 12, 2012 at 10:51 pm

        I have applied for hardship waiver and Uscis forwarded by application to DOS. When i use to enter my case number it would display pending and show documents recieved. Interestingly for last 2 days , when i enter my case number, it says no new update on your case number. It doesnt show pending and document recieved. Does any one know whats going on ?

        Like

    Ajit Rajagopalan said:
    September 5, 2012 at 10:13 am

    My J-1 program was not directly sponsored by my home government, US Government or any other international agency (eg Fulbright). However, my professor pays me from research grants that he obtained from US Government agencies (eg NSF, DoE etc). On the DS-3035 waiver application should I check ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ where it asks me whether I was supported by US Government funds? Thanks and once again, great thread of information.

    Like

      tiflo said:
      September 5, 2012 at 12:05 pm

      Dear Ajit,

      again, not being an expert, I’d say “no”, unless you were the direct recipient of the grant, e.g. if it is a Training grant. If it is a research grant to your professor, it is paid from the government to the university and the university employs you. In that case, I’d say no.

      Florian

      Like

        Lorenzo said:
        September 15, 2012 at 3:33 am

        I have a question: how long should be the statement of reasons? and any tips/templates?

        Thank you very much, I am getting crazy just to obtain the no objection letter from the embassy…

        Regards,

        Lorenzo

        Like

          tiflo said:
          September 15, 2012 at 10:53 am

          It’s typically rather short (1-2 paragraphs). I think I posted mine somewhere on this page, didn’t I?

          Like

    xerophytes said:
    September 22, 2012 at 4:05 am

    I’m about to start my J1 visa application. Who does the decision whether you need a 2-year mandatory stay? Would you recommend me getting a NOS while applying for J1 visa? Or shall I just leave it then and wait until I get a job offer in US?

    Like

      tiflo said:
      September 22, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Hey, I am not sure I understand your question. Are you asking what the consequences of the 2-year homestay requirement are? It means you can’t take a paid job in the US with the exception of internships or RAships and certain other exceptions for students prior to graduation or up to 1 year post-graduation. Before you can apply for a visa that would allow you take jobs (other than those exceptions), you will have to either return to your home country for a total of 2 years (can be split into several periods that total 2 years) or you have to apply for a waiver to that requirement.

      A NOS only makes sense in the context of the application for a waiver. Of course, you could ask your embassy now whether they would give you one later, though things might change by the time you need it. Also, if you get the NOS now, it would have a very old date on it by the time it will become relevant (when you apply for a waiver). I don’t know how that would be perceived.

      Like

        xerophytes said:
        September 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm

        Basically my question is, when is the best time to get a waiver (NOS). Right from the start of your J1 visa or when you finish your J1 visa and receive a job offer?

        I’m pretty sure protein crystallography (which is the research I’m doing) doesn’t exist in Philippines (my home residence) and therefore, I would end up working in a different country ie US. I can perhaps go back here in UK (where I finished my PhD) and work for another postdoc but certainly, I don’t want to get restricted and not able to get a job in US if an opportunity comes.

        Like

          tiflo said:
          September 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm

          I don’t know the answer. I wouldn’t apply for it before it becomes relevant. The NOS is the smallest part anyway. I think most embassies provided NOSes. It’s usually more of a question whether your sponsoring agency supports the case (e.g., Fulbright) and whether the US agencies are willing to waive the requirement, which, however, seems to become more and more the default. At least that’s my impression. I welcome opinions of others who have posted here.

          Like

        xerophytes said:
        September 23, 2012 at 3:44 am

        Thanks! I’m not sponsored by my home country, neither by any agency. I’m directly funded by my supervisor in UCLA (who is funded by DOE, NIH, etc). I’ll probably just leave it til when it’s relevant. Hope my J1 visa application will go smoothly.

        Like

    Immigration Adviser Ilford said:
    October 24, 2012 at 4:14 am

    Hello! This is my first comment here so I just
    wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading through
    your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics?
    Thanks!

    Like

      tiflo said:
      October 24, 2012 at 9:27 am

      This sounds like spam, but I wasn’t sure. If it isn’t can you repost with a more specific question? Thank you.

      Like

    mary said:
    October 30, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Hi, Florian,
    Great comments. Very helpful!!
    Could you please clarify how did you strong your arguments on statement of reason?
    Thanks
    Mary

    Like

      tiflo said:
      October 30, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      It was very short. Is there something specific you’re wondering about?

      Like

    Tehreem said:
    March 18, 2013 at 12:31 am

    I do not know whether this forum is still active, but I would like to know how easy/difficult it is to base a waiver request on hardship. I was sponsored for a 4 year phd (completely) on the fulbright. this means they have payed a fairly good amount of money for me. However, I belong to a country which is on the state department’s list of extremely unsafe places to travel. I have got married to an American, and there is no chance of him being safe there, or leaving his phd in America half way through…. do you think there is a possibility that i could get the hardship waiver. your input means a lot. please help.

    Like

      tiflo said:
      March 18, 2013 at 2:12 am

      Dear Tehreem,

      I don’t know the answer, but perhaps others do. One thing I don’t understand: if you married a US citizen, can’t you directly apply for citizenship? Also, isn’t there a special route for the waiver that applies to folks marrying US citizens? It’s been a while so things might have changed.

      Florian

      Like

    Mo said:
    April 17, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Hi Florian,
    This is a great blog! Thanks for all the work you’ve put into it!
    I’m planning to apply for a waiver and I was wondering if I can request the “No Objection Letter” before filling out the on-line application and paying the $215.00 processing fee. In case I receive a negative answer from my embassy, I wouldn’t like to waste the money. I appreciate your input!

    Thanks for taking the time to keep this blog active!

    Like

      tiflo said:
      April 17, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      Hi Malina,

      finally, a question that I think I can answer, haha =). Yes, that’s what I did. I first gathered all my information and then paid the fee. Good luck with your application!

      Florian

      Like

        Mo said:
        April 17, 2013 at 9:25 pm

        Thanks for your quick response!! :)

        Like

    Madi said:
    April 21, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Hi again Florian!

    Do you remember by any chance what you told your Embassy when you asked for the No objection letter? I’m about to e-mail the embassy and I wasn’t sure if I should motivate why I think I’m eligible for it (maybe send them the statement of purpose I will upload on the DOS website) or just ask for the letter without that many details?

    Also, is it required to have a letter from an employer when you send your application to DOS? I’m worried about my employer’s reaction :)

    Thank you so much!!

    Like

      tiflo said:
      April 23, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      Hi

      I’m traveling and don’t have my NOS with me. It was short (4-6 sentences) but I did motivate my request, that I had been offered a job by a great department. I highlighted that the choice was between unemployed academic in Germany or having the chance of a productive research career at one of the best places in the world for what I do.

      Hth

      Florian

      Like

    DieuMerci said:
    June 10, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Hey Folks,

    Thanks for such tremendous work. For a J1 VISA holder graduating in 2016, what are her chance to get the two HRR waived under Persecution/No objection path?
    Thanks

    DM

    Like

      tiflo said:
      June 11, 2013 at 3:36 am

      Hi DM,

      that really seems to depend on a) your citizenship, b) where your funding for the J1 came from (from your home country: best chances; from private institution: ok; from some federal mechanism in the US, such as Fulbright: worst chances), and how convincingly you can argue that leaving the US would be bad or even dangerous for you.

      Florian

      Like

        DieuMerci said:
        June 18, 2013 at 11:56 pm

        Hi Florian,

        I am from Togo. My country is not contributing to my funding, but IIE and my host university.
        Politically, I am having terrible threats with the ruling party, but I am crazy enough to go back home, my only concern is my family!
        Could you share your email with me?
        Thanks
        DM

        Like

          tiflo said:
          June 19, 2013 at 1:13 am

          Dear DM,

          my email is tiflo@csli.stanford.edu, but I am really not an expert in these questions. As you will see when you poke around on this blog, the blog is about language processing and my lab, not about visa issues. I just posted this information since I had gone through the process and several friends and acquaintances asked me about it.

          I wish you the best of luck though with your application. It sounds like you’d indeed be better off here! There are some pages that list legal advice (for free). I think I posted some links to them in a reply elsewhere on this page. I’d also encourage you to call the Department of State or, whoever is now responsible for these waiver applications. Last time I checked they gave you anonymous information about your rights and possible paths to a waiver.

          Florian

          Like

    Desh said:
    August 21, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Hi Florian,

    Thank you very much for maintaining this blog…its so helpful!

    I have a similar kind of question that Malina has asked regarding obtaining the NOC first before paying $215. The embassy of my country needs a “Waiver review file number obtained from the Department of State” while applying for the NOC. Is this the file number which will be generated with Bar-code when I will fill up the DS-3035 online? If yes, then I will be able to apply for the NOC before mailing the documents to the DoS.

    As I understood, the embassy has to send the NOC directly to the DoS. I am wondering if the Embassy will let me know whether and when they will send the NOC to the DoS as I have to mail my documents (with a check of $215) to the DoS as well. Did they inform you in your case? I know it depends on the particular embassy, but, I will try to ask my embassy if I get an idea from you.

    Thanks,
    Desh

    Like

      tiflo said:
      August 22, 2013 at 6:09 am

      Hi, (have to keep it – in train right now and about to arrive),

      I sent my NOC request before I filed the remainder of the forms I think, but it’s so long ago at this time. I do remember that they informed me when they sent the NOC.

      Also, I recommend you give your embassy a quick call. In my case, they were very friendly and helpful and they deal with this all the time.

      Florian

      Like

    NanaKweku said:
    September 17, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Hi Flo,
    I’ve been reading the posts on your blog
    very interesting and insightful
    i also have similar problem
    I am on J1 visa which expired in May
    but my I90 says D/S
    I wanted to change status but because of the
    mandatory two year requirement, I cant
    my program was not sponsored by the US government
    neither was it sponsored by government
    It was solely private
    the International office in my school says I should
    either go to Canada to get a visa or move to my home country
    for a visa
    I met a lawyer who also told me same thing
    my problem is that, what if I am refused the visa?
    I want to apply for waiver
    so I can apply for the F1 visa
    what will you advise
    I understand perfectly well that
    you are not an immigration lawyer
    but I guess your experience can help
    One more thing is that both the lawyer and the International
    office tell me even though the visa is expired,
    the D/S in the I90 gives me a chance of hope
    since technically, I am still in status
    Hope to hear from you soon

    Like

    NanaKweku said:
    September 17, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Hi Flo,
    I’ve been reading the posts on your blog
    very interesting and insightful
    i also have similar problem
    I am on J1 visa which expired in May
    but my I90 says D/S
    I wanted to change status to F1 but because of the
    mandatory two year requirement, I cant
    my program was not sponsored by the US government
    neither was it sponsored by government
    It was solely private
    the International office in my school says I should
    either go to Canada to get a visa or move to my home country
    for a visa
    I met a lawyer who also told me same thing
    my problem is that, what if I am refused the visa?
    I want to apply for waiver
    so I can apply for the F1 visa
    what will you advise
    I understand perfectly well that
    you are not an immigration lawyer
    but I guess your experience can help
    One more thing is that both the lawyer and the International
    office tell me even though the visa is expired,
    the D/S in the I90 gives me a chance of hope
    since technically, I am still in status
    Hope to hear from you soon

    Like

      tiflo said:
      September 17, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      Hi,

      I hope some other users have input on this, but I personally would go for the waiver, too, simply because I don’t see what harm could come from it. It’s less risky than just applying for a new visa. I don’t know what the D/S refers to (immigration forms have changed a lot since I went through this process), but I’d be careful not to overstay your welcome. I think usually there’s some grace period before you have to leave the country and, if you have all your immigration forms, the application for the waiver doesn’t take long. If it’s really important to you, it might be best to hire an immigration lawyer. They will take care of everything and can represent you in the US court even if you decide to leave the country to apply for a new visa.

      Florian

      Like

        NanaKweku said:
        September 18, 2013 at 11:20 pm

        Thanks for the swift response.
        So is my embassy supposed to send the waiver letter to DoS directly?
        or I have to take it

        Like

          tiflo said:
          September 19, 2013 at 2:20 pm

          They will do it.

          Like

    NanaKweku said:
    October 28, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Tiflo,
    thanks for the advice
    My country’s embassy just wrote acknowledging
    receipt of my No Objection waiver
    they said they will be sending the request
    to the DoS
    I thought I should let you know
    will keep you and the rest of the group updated
    on my case
    Thanks

    Like

      tiflo responded:
      October 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Glad to hear that =). Good luck and thanks for keeping us in the loop.

      Like

    braolo said:
    February 25, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Hi Florian!

    Thanks a lot for sharing you experience and your advice for such a tricky application.
    May I ask you two questions?

    1) how could you convince and how could you get a statement from the Fulbright commission? Was it from your home country fulbright commission or from the IIE?

    2) In addition to the Objection Statement from you home country embassy, what other documents did you enclose to your application?

    Thank you so much! I’m in the process of finalizing my waiver application and I am desperate need of help.

    Like

      tiflo responded:
      February 25, 2014 at 8:04 pm

      Hi Braolo

      1) I got the statement from the IIE. I simply urged them to consider my case given that I a) had not received much money from them (most of my funding had come from a US university and a stipend I had from Germany) and b) that it was the choice between an unemployed academic in Germany or an employed academic in the US. I also stressed that I was actually active in furthering the idea of academic and cultural exchange (I was on the scientific advisory board of a transatlantic initiative between Germany and the US)

      2) I enclose a brief statement about the motivation for my application to a waiver (it’s obligatory) and –I think (it’s a long time ago)– I had a letter from my employer (the chair of my department).

      HTH

      Like

        braolo said:
        February 25, 2014 at 10:23 pm

        Thank you so much! I’m going to contact the IIE and try to explain them my situation. Thank you so much for your help!

        Like

        Braolo said:
        February 26, 2014 at 10:27 am

        Hi Florian. It seems the IIE changed its policy, they told me they do not want to be involved in the waiver process.

        Like

          tiflo responded:
          February 26, 2014 at 10:38 am

          Hi Braolo, thank you for the update. That is good to know.

          Like

    Dana said:
    May 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Hi everybody,

    I would like to thank Florian for this forum. I got several ideas for my Statement of Reason from here.
    I was not in Fullbright, and got my 2YrHRR due to my work at CDC. Later my J1 program was transferred to a private university. When I applied for a waiver DoS sent the sponsor view request to the university. The International Student Program officer had never received a sponsor view request before, so he forwarded it to my supervisor and he shared with me what he was asked to write in these views. I think if you address same things in your Statement of Reasons that would be helpful to you. I learned that program sponsors write Sponsor Views based on your Statement of Reasons solely, especially if they are a third party and are not familiar with the nature of your work and your country situation.

    Here are the things that you should write about in your Statement of reason:
    – brief description of your case: when you came to the US, what was the purpose of your program, what research/job you are involved now
    – have you been informed of a purpose of exchange program and the reason for 2YrHRR (would be nice to emphasize in you statement that you recognize the purpose of exchange program and its obligations, however you have several reasons to apply for a waiver). Keep in mind that waiver application is by default intent of emigration. You have to show that you had no intent when you had been enrolled in a program but things changed since then and now you have strong reasons to disobey the rules.
    – was a waiver previously considered (have you applied for a waiver before)
    – how much receiving/denying a waiver would affect you work
    – how much money US and/or your country government spent for your program (direct and indirect funding, travel, insurance)
    – do you have a job being held back in your country, if not explain why (avoid mention that you quit before or while being in the US, that would be considered as an intent to stay in the US and your waiver will be denied!). The best answer is that your job contract in your home country expired while you were in the US.
    – will you be able to find a job in your home country to utilize the skills acquired during your program, if not explain why (avoid to say that your skill set is too unique for your country, that could be considered as you intentionally chose that skill set for your program to be able to find a job in the US only)
    – how your knowledge and skills benefit your country, how your presence in the US benefits your country (participating in exchange program of other students, sharing your knowledge with your colleagues in your home country, try specify it as much as you can)
    – what the impact on your home country is if you do not return
    – country conditions (reducing science funding, hiring freeze), anything global that can prevent you from finding a job and applying your skills, but try to put it as recent events, otherwise your coming to the US will look like an intent to emigrate.
    – what effort you made to meet 2YrHRR (means how much time you’ve already spent in your home country, if you were visiting your family every year count this time and write about it, e.g. I wrote that every year of my J1 program I was visiting my home country during vocation for about 3 weeks and I spent this time also to meet my colleagues and share my work experience and knowledge received during my program, which was true as all my friends home are also my former co-workers :).

    Also keep in mind the following:
    – you will not be able to extend your program once you applied for a waiver. So if you have an opportunity to extend your J1 till the max date then go for it. J1 holders from some countries have exemptions for US taxes, meaning you can file a return for ALL your taxes both federal and state.
    – you will not be able to transfer your J1 program to another institution once you applied for a waiver. However, if you have troubles in your current lab, you can transfer in to another lab and even another department but within same institution only.
    – once you’ve received a waiver AND filed for H1B or any other status adjustment you will not be able to leave the US until your status adjusted. If you do leave you may get a denial at the US board. Because once you file for status adjustment your J1 visa is not valid anymore.

    Like

      tiflo responded:
      May 8, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      Thank you for the detailed comment. This is really helpful :).

      Like

        madeleine said:
        October 10, 2014 at 4:54 pm

        Hi Florian, congratulations to your (now long ago) successfully accomplished mission ;) since I’m applying for a J1 visa waiver (based on a Statement of No Objection) myself and I had to contact the German Embassy as well. I’ve read (unfortunately too late) that some attorneys recommend to attach a letter requesting the Embassy to write your case number on the envelope they are sending to the Visa Waiver Division. I wanted to know how you prepared your documents for them? Did you attach a cover letter? In hindsight I feel very foolish for only submitting the forms/letters they asked me too (http://www.germany.info/Vertretung/usa/de/05__Dienstleistungen/06__Reisehinweise/Visa__Waiver__J1.html). I hope you can share your experience and everything is well on your end! Madeleine

        Like

          madeleine said:
          October 10, 2014 at 5:00 pm

          By the way: I’m pretty sure I studied some of your work while doing a psychology class (Allgemeine Psychology) at my university in Berlin two years ago. It is funny to encounter the papers while actually visiting your page to find out about the waiver.

          Like

          tiflo responded:
          October 10, 2014 at 6:46 pm

          haha, there’s Jaegers everywhere (though none in academia that I am related to, as far as I know). Who knows!

          Like

          tiflo responded:
          October 10, 2014 at 5:14 pm

          Hi Madeleine, I’m about to board a flight so I have to keep it short. If you mean the letter to the embassy, I just sent the things they requested but I had given them a calk beforehand. They were very quick to reply, which made me think that it was a or or less automatic process.

          Like

          madeleine said:
          October 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm

          Hi Florian, thank you for your quick response! It is fantastic to hear from you so promptly. Yes I meant the files you sent to the German Embassy. I called them too but no one picked up the phone whenever I tried (might be worth to try it again – thank you for your reply). It seemed to me rather odd that I should to instruct them to put my case number on the envelope – thinking that they handle a lot of cases like mine. I’m glad to hear you did neither and it worked out for you just fine. I wish you a good flight! Madeleine

          Like

          tiflo responded:
          October 10, 2014 at 6:01 pm

          Yep, they do this quite often I think :). Good luck. (From the airport)

          Like

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