212(e) Two-Year Home Residence Requirement

212(e) Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

Certain J-1 Exchange Visitors are subject to a two-year home country physical presence requirement. J-1 visitors "subject" to this rule must return to their country of last legal residence for an aggregate period of two years or obtain a waiver of this requirement before they are eligible for:

  • H (temporary employment)
  • L (intracompany transfer)
  • Permanent Residence (Green Card)
  • Change to another status from within the U.S.

This requirement does not restrict a visitor from returning to the U.S. in any other immigration status. For example, if the visitor wishes to return as a tourist or student within the two-year period and meets the requirements for those entries, the two-year physical presence requirement does not prohibit this. However, the visitor will still be subject to the two-year requirement until the total two year period is reached.

Who is subject to the requirement?

J-1 visitors who meet at least one of the criteria listed below are subject to this rule:

  • Home Government Funding. -  J-1 visitors who receive funding directly from their home country's government 
  • U.S. Government Funding. J-1 visitors who receive funding directly from the U.S. government. Funding received as salary from University of California grants to the department are not considered government funding for this purpose. However, there are some exceptions which include grants that are specifically targeted for international exchange. Fulbright funding is U.S. government funding.
  • Funding from an International Organization or Bi-National Commission. J-1 visitors who receive funding from International Organizations or Bi-National Commissions (organizations that receive their funding from government sources), such as, United Nations, NATO, or the European Community.
  • The Exchange Visitor Skills List. J-1 visitors whose area of specialization has been identified as being in short supply by their home government of legal permanent residence.
  • Medical Education and Training. J-1 visitors a medical degree or training.

Are J-2 dependents subject?

Yes, J-2 dependents of J-1 visitors who are subject to the 212(e) requirement are also subject to this requirement. Please note that J-2 dependents must rely on the J-1 to apply for a waiver of the 212(e) requirement. J-2s may not apply for the waiver separately from the J-1.

When should I see an Advisor?

If you have a question about whether you are subject to the 212(e) requirement, or how and when to apply for a waiver, you should make an appointment to speak with an advisor at OISS.

  • Do not assume that your visa stamp or DS-2019 have been marked correctly by U.S. government agencies, especially if any of the above "subject" criteria apply. When an advisor feels the assessment has been made in error, you may submit a request for an advisory opinion from the U.S. Department of State.
  • OISS advises scholars not to apply for a waiver of the two-year home country physical presence requirement without first discussing the timing of the request with a Scholar Advisor. Once a "No Objection" recommendation is received from the Department of State, no further extension of the DS-2019 or transfer of the J-1 program is possible. The Department of State has detailed instructions for application of the waiver of 212(e) at https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/study-exchange/student/residency-waiver.html (link is external). Fulbright students and scholars very rarely receive waivers.