Requesting an Advisory Opinion for J-1 Visa Holders

An advisory opinion is a request to State Department’s Waiver Review Division as to whether you are subject to the two-year home residency requirement or not. If you are thinking about requesting an advisory opinion, you should first discuss your J status with your Designated School Official (DSO).


Not everyone needs to obtain an Advisory opinion. You should only request an advisory opinion after you have participated in a J-1 program and you have doubts whether you are or are not subject to Section 212(e). For example, if you know that you are subject to 212 (e) because you received funds from your home government, there is no need to obtain an Advisory Opinion. Yet, if there is a mistake or discrepancy in your documents (DS-2019 and visa foil) it is advised that you request an Advisory Opinion.

Who can request an Advisory Opinion?

You certainly can apply for advisory letter yourself, but we highly recommend that you seek advice of an experienced attorney prior to taking any actions because an experienced attorney isn’t going to simply ask State Department whether you are subject or not. Rather, (in most cases) attorney tell them that State Department has made a mistake in your case and must fix it. Gathering all the documents and evidence requires legal work and experience. You will eventually save so much time and money by first consulting with an experienced attorney.

Processing Time for Advisory Opinion

According to the Waiver Review Division, the average processing time for an advisory opinion request is from four to six weeks. This does not include the time it takes for the opinion to be mailed and delivered. To account for this additional time, consider adding a week or two to the expected range.

Can I check my Advisory status?

The Waiver Review Division issues case numbers for requests for J-1 advisory status opinions. If you have your case number, you can track the status of your advisory opinion on the internet at the J1 Visa Waiver Online page of the State Department’s website. Click on the check status link on the page and enter your case number to request the status of your advisory opinion request.

You can also email the Waiver Review Division to check on the status of your advisory opinion request by contacting

What if I do not receive the favorable recommendation again?

Advisory Opinions are not appealable meaning you cannot ask the Department of State to review their recommendation. However, you may be eligible to submit another Advisory opinion. Note that proving you are not subject to 212e will get harder every time you submit a new request. Therefore, it is very important to do it the right way at the first place.

If the advisory opinion from the State Department determines that you are subject to the home presence requirement, you will either return to your home country for two years or apply for a waiver if one of the five categories for waivers above applies to you.

Attorney Mehrani has been nationally recognized for her work in obtaining favorable recommendation from Department of State for J visa holders. If you need to obtain an Advisory Opinion, we can help.

The information provided here does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. If you need to book a consultation, please click here.

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