212e Home Residency Requirement Waiver Process

212e Home Residency Requirement Waiver Process

J-1 exchange visitors who are subject to, but do not wish to comply with, the 2-year home country residence requirement may be able to obtain a waiver of the requirement by applying to the Waiver Review Division of the U.S. Department of State (DOS).

It is important to note that J-1 visa holders are expected to complete their research, teaching or study objective within the time allowed on the J-1 visa. The two-year home residency rule enforces this expectation. On occasion a student or scholar's objective changes during their time on the J visa. If this is your situation, and you have identified that you are subject to the two-year home residency rule, then you may need to request a waiver. There are many different types of waivers, depending on how you are subject to the residency requirement. The most common option for obtaining a waiver is via a “No Objection Statement.” Additionally, if your J visa was sponsored by a U.S. funding agency such as Fulbright, or if you were sponsored by the ECFMG, then the waiver process is different, and in some cases not possible.

At present many waiver applications are taking more than a year to be approved.

The Waiver Review Division will make a recommendation to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for or against the waiver. USCIS makes the final decision, although in most cases it accepts the Waiver Review Division’s recommendation. PLEASE NOTE, it is critically important that you notify the IPO before submitting the application. Once a waiver recommendation has been approved, no further J documents can be issued (for Academic Training, extension, or transfer). Reissuing the J Document will reapply the 212e home residency requirement to you.

Certain exchange visitors who are subject to the 2-year home country residence requirement are not able to obtain waivers using this procedure. Exchange visitors who are subject due to U.S. government funding (i.e., Fulbright, etc.) may not be eligible to apply for a waiver based on a “no objection statement.” The Waiver Review Division usually takes the position that an exchange visitor who received U.S. government funding is required to return home to fulfill the goals of the program that funded you. If you do not wish to fulfill the residence requirement, you need to determine if you are eligible to apply for a waiver through one of the other procedures available to applicants. Consult the DOS website for more information.