J-1 Visa holders are subject to a two-year home residency requirement. This means they must return to their home country and reside there for two years before they will be eligible for any additional immigration benefit in the US.
One way to waive the J visa's two-year home residency requirement in by obtaining what is called a no objection waiver. This method is the preferred route for waiving the J visa home residency requirement but it is not available to everyone and it requires adhesion to strict procedural guidelines.
The process of obtaining a no objection waiver varies from country to country. The applicant must obtain a letter from their country of citizenship and every country has a different procedure in place for obtaining that letter. Every country has unique factors to determine eligibility for the letter. The first step is contacting the consulate of the applicant's citizenship in Washington, D.C. to inquire as to their procedure and whether the applicant would qualify under the factors.
Once we have that information we would put together a request for a no objection letter in accordance with the requirements set forth by the consulate. We would submit the request to the consulate in DC. If the consulate in DC approves the request they will issue a letter of no objection. We would then submit a request for a no objection waiver to US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) which would include the letter from the consulate. USCIS will make a final determination of the applicant's eligibility.
This process requires that the applicant's country of citizenship approves the application and that US immigration approves the application.
If the applicant is not eligible to obtain a no objection letter or if the applicant's country of citizenship refuses to issue the letter there are other options available. There are J visa waivers based on hardship to family, persecution, and government agency waivers. The no objection waiver is the easiest route but the applicant should be aware that there are other options if they cannot obtain the no objection letter.
Here you can see where a visa is marked to indicate that the reciipient is subject to the two-year residency requirement.