Two-Year Home Residency Requirement (212(e))

Learn whether you must meet the two-year home residency requirement or 212(e), and how to do it.

Some exchange visitors (EV’s) who participate in a J-1 program will be subject to the 212(e) or two-year home residency requirement. This is often indicated on your J-1 visa, or noted on your DS2019.

Who Must Meet the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement?

EVs become subject to the 212(e) if they meet one or more of these criteria.

  • Government-funded exchange program

    The exchange visitor’s program was financed by the U.S. government or the government of the exchange visitor’s nationality or last residence. The funding could be in whole or in part, and direct or indirect.

  • Graduate medical education or training

    The EV entered the United States to receive graduate medical education or training.

  • Specialized knowledge or skill (Skills List)

    The EV is a national or permanent resident of a country that has deemed the EV’s field of specialized knowledge or skill to be necessary to the home country. These skills are listed on the Exchange Visitor Skills List.


If you are subject to the 212(e), you cannot:

  • Change your status in the United States through a petition to USCIS

  • Change to any H or L status including H-1B or L-1 principal or H-4 or L-2 dependents

  • Immigrate to the United States (you cannot become a permanent resident)

However, this does not prevent you from obtaining new visa documents and applying for a new U.S. visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

How to Meet the Requirement

 You can resolve the 212(e) in one of two ways:

  • Return to your country of permanent residence when you entered the United States, and live there for two years, or

  • Request a waiver of the requirement from both your home country’s government and the U.S. Department of State.

Please note that once the U.S. Department of State has recommended the J-1 waiver and sent notification to you, to your J-1 program sponsor, and to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), we cannot extend or transfer your J-1 program. We recommend that you extend your J-1 program as far into the future as possible before obtaining your J-1 waiver approval. Please consult with OIA’s scholar services staff if you have questions about your strategy.