I applied a J-1 visa in 2013 as an exchange student to a US university. Unfortunately, the US embassy issued my visa too late so I decided not to come to US at that moment. In other words, I did not use that J-1 visa at all.

One year later, I came to US as a F-1 student. I will graduate soon and start my new job in a few months. I would like to apply for H1B visa and the company is willing to sponsor it.

In this case, do I need to apply for the J-1 waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement from USCIS and my home country? It seems my case is a "corner case" because the DS3035 (the form for the waiver) form requires an entry date of the J-1 visa. Obviously I do not have those information because my J-1 visa is never used.

Edit: Sorry about posting this thread on this site. I thought that the "travel" site allowed any types of posts about visa questions. I should have read the guidelines before posting it. Is it possible to transfer this post to the expatriates site?

The reason I want to transfer this post is that Michael's answer is quite good and solves my "corner-case" problem. It might be useful for some people in the same situation.


If you never used the J-1 visa and never entered the US in J-1 status and never participated in the exchange program, then the two year residency requirement does not apply to you and you of course do not need a waiver for it.

In order to trigger the requirement, you actually have to enter the US in J-1 status and participate in an exchange program, not just receive a visa.

The regulations require, among other things, that you must have entered the US in J-1 status, or changed status to J-1, and participated in an exchange program. (22 CFR 41.63(a))

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  • Thanks a lot! Michael. I sent the same question to USCIS by email. Hopefully they will reply to me soon. However, your answer is obviously clear to me. – RESSY VAN Sep 29 '19 at 1:14

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