212e Two-Year Home Residency Requirement

212e Two-Year Home Residency Requirement

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State. Under certain circumstances, exchange visitors (both students and scholars) are subject to the “Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement,” also known as “212(e),” which obligates you to return to your country of citizenship or last legal permanent residence for an aggregate period of at least two years upon completion of their program. [Code of Federal Regulations 22 514.31(a) (1)] For more information go here.

This requirement is imposed upon the J-1 exchange visitor under one of the following circumstances:

  1. When the J-1 program is financed in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by the U.S. government or home country government.
  2. When the exchange visitor has a skill or professional specialization in short supply in his/her country, and that skill appears on the Exchange Visitor Skills List. The scholar’s country is defined as country of citizenship or last legal permanent residence at the time he/she acquired J-1 status. Click here for more information.
  3. When the exchange visitor is a graduate of a foreign medical school participating in an internship, residency, or clinical training program sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

The two year home residency requirement is explained on page 2 of your DS-2019.

An exchange visitor who is subject to the requirement is prevented from changing visa status to an H worker or trainee, an L intracompany transferee, or a U.S. permanent resident. You would not be permitted to change to these visa categories inside the United States nor would you be permitted to apply for them at a U.S. Consulate outside the United States until the requirement was either satisfied or waived. The requirement also prevents you from changing to any immigration status within the United States, although you may leave the United States and re-enter in a new status.

Persons subject to the two-year home country residence requirement can return to the U.S. during this period in most other nonimmigrant statuses, including tourist status.

If you are interested in applying for a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement, review the information here. The waiver application is considered a personal application so the IPO cannot advise on it.

If you do not believe you should be subject or you have conflicting information on your J-1 visa stamp and DS-2019, you may consider submitting an Advisory Opinion with the U.S. Department of State. The waiver application is considered a personal application so the IPO cannot advise on it.