Exceptional Hardship Waivers
According to the Department of State (DOS), if a J-1 holder can demonstrate that his or her departure from the United States would cause exceptional hardship to his or her U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident spouse or child, he or she may apply for an exceptional hardship waiver. (Please note that mere separation from family is not considered to be sufficient to establish exceptional hardship.) This waiver basis requires that the J-1 holder submit Form I-612, Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement of Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, directly to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), within the Department of Homeland Security. Only if USCIS makes a finding of exceptional hardship will the Waiver Review Division proceed with the waiver case under this basis. USCIS will forward its decision directly to the Waiver Review Division.