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Two-year Home Residency

Two Year Home Country Residence Rule (212e Rule)

J exchange visitors who:

  1. were financed in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by an agency of the U.S. Government or
  2. by the exchange visitor's government, or
  3. are nationals or residents of a country which have been designated by the Department of State as requiring the skills of the exchange visitor (see the State Department Skills List in the Office of Visa and Immigration Services)

must return to their country of nationality or last residence after completing their program in the United States, and reside there physically for two years before they may become eligible to apply for an immigrant or temporary worker visa (H or L visas). 22CFR514.44

Waivers to the Two Year Home Country Residency Rule (212e)

It is possible to apply for a waiver from the home country residency requirement. If approved, the exchange visitor must apply for a change of immigration status, as it is not possible to apply for a J program extension once a waiver has been given. Some possible reasons for a waiver application include:

  1. Departure from the United States would impose exceptional hardship upon the alien's spouse or child (if such spouse or child is a citizen of the United States or a legal permanent alien).
  2. A return to the country of his or her nationality or last legal permanent residence would subject the individual to persecution on account of race, religion, or political opinion.
  3. The individual's admission to the U. S. is found by the Attorney General to be in the public interest.
  4. The foreign country of the alien's nationality or last legal permanent residence has furnished the State Department Waiver Review Board a statement in writing that it has no objection to such waiver in the case of such alien. This statement of no objection shall be directed to the Waiver Review Board through diplomatic channels; i.e., from the country's Foreign Office to the Agency through the U.S. Mission in the foreign country concerned, or through the foreign country's head of mission or duly appointed designee in the United States to the State Department in the form of a diplomatic note. This note shall include applicant's full name, date and place of birth, and present address. Upon receipt of the no objection statement, the Waiver Review Branch shall instruct the applicant to complete a data sheet and to provide all DS-2019s and the data sheet to the Waiver Review Branch.
  5. A United States Government agency may request a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement on behalf of an exchange visitor if such exchange visitor is actively and substantially involved in a program or activity sponsored by or of interest to such agency.
  6. A request by a United States government agency, excepting the Department of Veterans Affairs, on behalf of an exchange visitor who is a foreign medical graduate who entered the United States to pursue graduate medical education or training, and who is willing to provide primary medical care in a designated primary care Health Professional Shortage Area, or a Medically Underserved Area, or psychiatric care in a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area.

Please go to the State Department's website at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1296.html for detailed information on waiver applications.

Also, please note that once a waiver is received, your program sponsors may not offer you any further benefits associated with your J program. You may finish your current program, but you may not apply for an extension, or for academic training.

Last Updated: 5/28/09