J-1 Visa Waiver Requests

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has a two part process for evaluating requests to serve as an Interested Government Agency (IGA) to recommend a waiver of the two-year foreign residence requirement for individuals in the United States on J-1 Exchange Visitor visas.

The first step in the NSF process is an initial screening. The supervisor/sponsor sends the NSF Visa Waiver Officer:

  • A letter explaining who the J-1 visa holder is, where they were born/current citizenship, what position they have at the university/research institution and a brief description of their current research and how the research is related to NSF. Include a CV and, if their work is supported by NSF, provide the grant number(s).
  • Letters of support (3) focusing on the visitor's role in the research activity.
  • It is important to emphasize how the visitor's research is in NSF's and the Nation's vital interests, and why absence (to satisfy the J-1 residency requirement) would be detrimental to those interests.

Based on the submitted materials, a decision will be made whether to encourage a full application. If the decision is negative, the supervisor/sponsor will be so notified. If NSF decides to consider a full application, the supervisor/sponsor will be sent requisite forms and instructions to apply for a support letter from the NSF as an Interested Government Agency.

The complete application will be reviewed in a manner consistent with NSF standards for the review of research proposals. If the review is favorable, the Foundation will recommend to the Department of State that a waiver be granted. Please be advised that NSF will accept only one request per individual and that there is no reconsideration should the Foundation decide not to support the visa waiver request.

Anne Emig
NSF J-1 Visa Waiver Officer
(703) 292-7241

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