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212(e) Home Residency Requirement 

After completing a J-1 program in the US, certain exchange visitors must spend 2 years in their home country before they can apply for a change of status in the US or return to the US as an H visa holder, L visa holder, K visa holder, or as a Permanent Resident. The intent of this requirement, also known as the Home Residency Requirement, is to have the home country benefit from the exchange visitor's experience in the US. 212(e) does not apply to all J-1 exchange visitors.

Only the U.S. Department of State can determine if a J-1 and/or J-2 is subject to the 212(e). If you hold J-1 status and meet any or all of the below criteria, then you will be subject to this requirement:

  • You have been financed in whole or part by the US or your home government;
  • Your skills are needed by your home country as indicated in the US government's "Exchange Visitor Skills List", or;
  • Your purpose in coming to the US is to receive graduate medical education or training.

Any J-2 dependent of a J-1 exchange visitor who is subject to the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement is also subject to the Two-year Home Residency Requirement.

An exchange visitor subject to the two-year home residence requirement is NOT permitted to apply for a change of status within the US to any status other than A, G, T, or U visa status. However, being subject to this requirement does not prevent you from being able to apply for a visa at a US Embassy or Consulate for any status other than H, L, K, or permanent residency. For example, if you are subject to 212e, you could apply for a B-1/B-2 tourist visa or an F-1 student visa at a US Embassy or Consulate, and the status would become effective upon entry to the US

If you are unclear as to whether you are subject to the two-year home residence requirement, you can write to the US Department of State and request a formal advisory opinion. Before doing so, however, you should first consult with a Scholar Services Advisor.

212(e) Waiver

Exchange visitors who are subject to the two-year home residence requirement may, under certain circumstances, apply for a waiver of the requirement. If you are considering applying for a waiver, you should consult with Scholar Services as soon as possible.  

Once you receive a recommendation for the waiver, you CANNOT extend or transfer your J-1 status. There are also risks associated with international travel. We strongly suggest that you wait until the final year of your J-1 program to apply for the waiver.