212(e) Two-Year Home Residency Requirement
In some cases, J-1 Scholars are required to return to their home country or country of legal permanent residence for two years before being eligible to apply for certain nonimmigrant (H and L) and all immigrant visas. J-1 Scholars subject to the 212(e) are also not eligible to request a change of status to another nonimmigrant status while inside the United States, with the exception of A and G classifications.
The 212(e) applies to J-1 Scholars in one of the following situations:
- They received direct government funding, either from their home country or the U.S., for the purpose of international exchange.
- Their country has an Exchange Visitor Skills List and their field of research is on this list.
- They came to the U.S. in the J-1 Alien Physician category to participate in medical residency .
- Is determined by the home country or country of legal permanent residence.
- Can affect Exchange Visitors in all J categories, regardless of program duration.
- Applies to both J-1 Scholars and J-2 dependents.
- Does not prevent individuals from returning to the U.S. in any visa status other than H, L, K, or greencard.
If the J-1 Scholar believes they have been incorrectly subjected to the 212(e) per the reasons above, or the 212(e) information on the J-1 visa does not match the DS-2019, they should request an advisory opinion from the Department of State.
The Office of Global Services (OGS) is not able to directly assist or prepare documentation for this process.
In some cases, J-1 Scholars subject to the 212(e) may apply for a waiver from the Department of State.
J-1 Scholars considering applying for a waiver should notify OGS. If the waiver is pending with USCIS or approved, the J-1 Scholar will not be eligible for a program extension even if they have not yet reached the five-year program duration maximum.
OGS is not able to directly assist or prepare documentation for this process.