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Two Year Home Residence Requirement

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What is 212.(e)?

Two Year Home Residency Requirement (212.(e))-
establishes a physical presence in your home country at the conclusion of your visit under the J1 exchange visitor program. Not all persons arriving under the J1 visa will be subject to this requirement, only those visitors falling into one of the following groups can become subject:

  1. If you are participating in an exchange program that is financed, directly or indirectly by the United States government or a foreign government for the purpose of the exchange;
  2. If you are coming to develop or exercise skills in a field that your government requested be included on the Department of State Exchange Visitor Skills List;

An exchange visitor will continue to be subject - even if the purpose of the exchange or the funding changes during program participation. It is important to note that if the principle J1 visitor becomes subject - all dependents who enter on J2 status will also become subject.  If you are subject to 212.(e) you will have a notition on your visa stamp or you may also have a notation in the lower left corner of your DS-2019.

What are the effects of being subject to 212(e)?

When you are subject - you must reside in your 'home' country for an aggregate period of two years before becoming elgibile for certain immigration benefits. This means that while you may come back to the U.S. for another J exchange visit (Note - other restrictions may still apply) or possibly under another non-immigrant visa status (i.e. F1/2 or B1/2) you will still have the two year home residency to comply with or obtain a waiver. It is also important to note that this time does not have to be continuous. Therefore, if you return home and physically reside in your home country for 6 months - return to the US (if eligible) under another nonimmigrant category  - you will only have 18 months remaining on your 2 year requirement.

When you are subject - you are also not eligible for:

  • an immigrant visa or adjustment of status to lawful permant resident status
  • an H visa (temporary worker/dependent) or L visa (intracompany transferees/dependent)
  • to change your nonimmigrant status inside the United States from J to any other nonimmigrant category (i.e. F1/2 student)

 Can I request an Advisory Opinion or Wavier?

If you have a doubt or question on whether you are subject to 212(e), you can request an Advisory Option from the Department of State Wavier Review Division.

To request an Advisor Opinion, mail the following to the DOS Waiver Review Division (currently there is no charge for this opinion):

  • Legible copies of all DS-2019 forms
  • A written request for the advisory opinion. You should include details of why you are unclear or why you believe you should not be subject - you should include your Wavier Review Division Case Number if you have already requested a waiver.
  • Mail all materials to:

INA 212(e) Advisory Opinion Request
Waiver Reveiw Devision, CA/VO/L/W
U.S. Department of State
2401 E Street, NW, (SA-1, L-603)
Washington, DC 20522-0106

How do I apply for a waiver?

In order to qualify for a waiver the two-year residence requirement, you must qualify under one of the 5 grounds for waivers. You will choose one that applies to your situation. It is strongly recommended that you review the procedures from the DOS Waiver Review Division

  1. No Objection Statement (NOS) - your home country governement issues a statement that it has no objection that you do not return to fullfill the home residency requirement.
  2. Request by an interested government agency (IGA) - if you are working on a project for a US federal goverment agency and it is deemed that returning home for two years will be detrimental to its interest.
  3. Persecution - you feel that you will be persecuted based on your race, religion or political opinion if you were to return to your home country.
  4. Exceptional hardship to a US citizen (or legal permanent resident) spouse or child of an exchange visitor.
  5. Request designated by State Department of Public Health or its equivalent.

To apply for a waiver, follow the instructions from the Department of State online.

212(e) can be extremly complex and difficult to understand, the Department of State Wavier Review Division has also developed Frequenstly Asked Questions, you are encouraged to review for further clarification.