Two-Year Home Residence Requirement for J-1 Scholars
INA 212(e) Home Residence Requirement applies only to J-1 exchange visitors. As the Section states, the exchange visitor if subject must reside and be physically present in their home country for a total of 2 years. In addition, while being subject to 212(e), J-1 exchange visitors are ineligible for H, L, or K, or permanent resident statuses and cannot change from J to any other nonimmigrant status within the United States.
How do I become “subject” to 212(e)?
The Consulate will assign 212(e) to those exchange visitors who 1) receive direct or indirect U.S. or home country government funding, or 2) study in fields considered in short supply in their home country and which appear on their home country’s “Skills List”.
How do I know that I am “subject” to 212(e)?
Your J-1 visa stamp in your passport and/or your DS-2019 will specify whether or not you are subject to 212(e). On the bottom of your J-1 visa, it will read: “Bearer is subject to 212(e). Two-year rule does apply.” On your DS-2019, the following statements will be checked in the Consular’s section: “Subject to two –year residence requirement based on:” and “Government financing and/or” or “The Exchange Visitor Skills List and/or” or “PL 94-484 as amended”.
Could I change status to F-1 if I am subject to 212(e)?
Even though you are subject to 212(e), you may return home to your home country, apply for another nonimmigrant status (including F, but excluding H and L), get a new visa, and re-enter the U.S. This is the easiest way to go about obtaining another nonimmigrant status. You cannot change to F-1 status in the United States if you are subject to 212(e), unless you got a waiver.
Can’t I get this 212(e) requirement waived?
Waivers of the two-year home residence requirement may be granted by the Department of State’s Waiver Review Division under special conditions.