Home Residence Requirement
What is the effect of being subject to the home residency requirement? The 212(e) or the home country physical presence requirement is a statute that requires that individuals of the J status must reside and be physically present in the country of nationality for an aggregate of two years following his or her departure from the U.S. before they are eligible for an immigrant, H or L visas, or to change status in the U.S., except for A (diplomatic) and G (international organization) statuses. An exchange visitor subject to the 212(e) may return home and apply for a visa as a tourist, business, or an F-1 student, but the requirement will still carry until the two year home residency is met.
How do I know if I have the requirement? A consular officer or DHS official will decide if you are subject to the 212(e) and mark it on the DS-2019 and/or the J-1 visa. There are three cases that may mean that you are subject:
- Government Financing: Includes financial support through an agency of the government of the U.S. or through a home country.
- Skills List: If the education that you are coming to pursue is in a field that the home government requested be on the State Department Exchange Visitor Skills List because it is a field of specialized knowledge that is needed for the development of that country. Learn more about the Skills List at the U.S. Department of State web site.
- Graduate Medical Education or Training.
How can I be waived from the requirement if I am subject? Our office does not assist with the waiver process, nor do we advise on this matter. In most cases, we recommend that you request support from an attorney that specializes in immigration law. The exchange visitor or attorney can request a written advisory opinion from the DOS Waiver Review Division if there is doubt about being subject to the 212(e). For more information concerning the procedure to obtain a waiver, please refer to the U.S. Department of State, "Waiver of the Exchange Visitor (J) Two-year Foreign Residence Requirement."