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Two-Year Home Residency Requirement

The Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement [212(e)] applies to some J-1 visa holders. After completion of a J-1 program, the scholar may be required to reside in the home country for a minimum of two years before being eligible for the following:  H, L, or K visa classification, U.S. permanent residency, or filing a change of status petition from within the U.S. to any other visa classification. If the J-1 is subject to this requirement, the J-2 is as well. 

You may be subject to the Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement if:

  • You receive any funding from your home country's government (including travel grants etc.).
  • Your field is on the U.S. government‘s Exchange Visitor’s "Skills List.”

Near the end or after the completion of your J program you may find it necessary to apply for a waiver of the requirementKeep in mind that once you have submitted the waiver application, UHV International Programs cannot extend your J program. 


212(e) Waiver
J-1 visa holders who are subject to the requirement based on the information noted above and who do not wish to fulfill the requirement by returning to their home countries for two years may apply for a Waiver of the two-year home residence requirement. Failure to inform an UHV International Programs advisor regarding this matter could jeopardize the visa holder's ability to secure an extension of the Form DS-2019, or the option to change into another non-immigrant status.


The 12-Month Bar

Individuals who have been in the United States for more than six months in the previous year (12 months) in J visa status are not eligible to enter the United States as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for a 12-month period. Time spent in the J-1 Short-term Scholar category does not count towards the 12-month bar. The 12-month bar applies to both the J-1 principal and any J-2 dependents. The 12-month bar does not prevent individuals from returning to the United States in any other visa status.

The 24-Month Bar

Any individual who participates in an Exchange Visitor program in the Researcher Scholar or Professor category on or after 11/18/06 is subject to a 24-month bar on "repeat participation" in those categories. Scholars subject to the 24-month bar may not return to the United States as a J-1 scholar in the Research Scholar or Professor category for the 24-month period. This bar also applies to J-2 dependents. The 24-month bar is not the same as the Two Year Home Residence Requirement. The 24-month bar does not prevent individuals from returning to the United States in any other visa status.

Impact of the 24-Month Bar

When a scholar either concludes or leaves a J-1 program, whichever happens, earlier, the scholar's record becomes inactive in SEVIS; thus making it impossible for the HIO to reactivate it. At that point, the 24-month bar time starts to accrue. Therefore, it is extremely important for the International Programs to be informed of a scholar's departure from UHV and his/her plans, so that the scholar's SEVIS record can be properly maintained to facilitate his/her possible return to the United States.