Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

Intent of the Requirement 
The intent of the requirement is to have the home country benefit from the exchange visitor's experience in the United States. Exchange visitors come to this country for a specific objective such as a program of study or a research project. The requirement is intended to prevent a participant who is subject from staying longer than necessary for the objective, and to ensure that he or she will spend at least two years in the home country before coming back to the United States for a long-term stay.

An exchange visitor is subject to the requirement if any of the following conditions apply:

  • If the exchange visitor's participation in an exchange program was financed, directly or indirectly, by the United States government or a foreign government for purpose of exchange.
  • If the skills that the exchange visitor is coming to develop or exercise are in a field which the exchange visitor's "home" government requested be included on the State Department skills list.
  • The exchange visitor comes to the United States to receive "graduate medical education or training."

The exchange visitor can tell if he/she is subject by looking at the J visa page in the passport which would say "212e does apply" and/or the bottom box of the DS-2019.

If you are subject to the requirement, the exchange visitor can only change to A or G status within the United States. An exchange visitor subject to the requirement can change visa status outside of the United States at the discretion of the consular official but is NOT eligible for an H (temporary worker), L (intra-company transferee), or immigrant status until the two year home residency requirement has been completed or a waiver is granted.

Waiver of the Residency Requirement

Please visit the U.S. Department of State waiver website for complete details.

Please note that the waiver application is the exchange visitor's responsibility.