Home Residency Requirement 212(e):
The intent of the Exchange Visitor Program is for the home country to benefit from the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s experiences in the U.S. Accordingly, J-1 Exchange Visitors and their accompanying J-2 dependents may be subject to a two-year home residency requirement.
212 (e) home residence requirement mandates that certain J-visa holders return to their country of nationality or last residence for an aggregate of two years after departure from the U.S., before applying for permanent residence or an H or L visa or for a change of status inside the U.S. to most other non-immigrant classifications.
The requirement applies to those whose:
- exchange visitor program has been financed in whole or part by the U.S. or their home government
- skills are needed by their home country as indicated on the “Exchange Visitor Skills List” created by Department of State
- purpose in coming to the U.S. is to receive graduate medical education or training
- status as a J-2 dependent is tied to a J-1 exchange visitor subject to 212(e)
Who is subject to the two-year home residence requirement?
J-1 Exchange Visitors may be subject to the two-year home residence requirement if:
- they received government funding, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, and for the purpose of exchange, from their home government, the U.S. government or selected international organizations;
- the education, training or skill the J-1 Exchange Visitor is pursuing on the exchange program is on the Exchange Visitors Skills List (a list of areas and disciplines identified by foreign governments as having a short supply of workers in that country) for the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s country;
- they participated in graduate medical education or training; or they are J-2 dependents of a J-1 Exchange Visitor who is subject to the two-year home residence requirement.
What does the two-year home residence requirement mean?
If a J-1 Exchange Visitor is subject to the two-year home residence requirement, s/he must “reside and be physically present” for a total of two years in either his/her country of nationality or legal permanent residence after the completion of his/her stay in the U.S. as a J-1 Exchange Visitor.
What restrictions do I have if I am subject to the two-year home residence requirement?
Until this requirement is met, the J-1 Exchange Visitor is NOT ELIGIBLE for the following:
- H-1B (temporary worker) visa;
- L (intra company transferee) visa;
- K (fiancé/e) visa;
- Adjustment of Status to permanent residence (green card); or
- a change of status inside the U.S. to any other non-immigrant classification except A (diplomats and dependents) or G (representative to international organizations)
How do I know whether or not I am subject to the two-year home residence requirement?
Evidence of whether or not a J-1 Exchange Visitor is subject to the two-year home residence requirement may be found:
- on the J-1 visa stamp in the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s passport. The phrase: “Bearer (is/is not) subject to section 212 (e). Two-year rule (does/does not) apply” should appear; or
- in the section labeled “preliminary endorsement” in the lower left hand corner of the DS-2019 form.
Can the requirement be waived?
If you received funding from your home government or an international organization, or are subject based on the skills list, it is often possible to get a waiver by requesting a "letter of no objection" from your home country’s embassy in Washington, DC.
If you received U.S. government funding (such as a Fulbright) it is nearly impossible to get this requirement waived.
For detailed information on the waiver process, visit the U.S. State Department's web page on waivers.