212(e) Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

212(e) Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

J-1 Exchange Visitors subject to the two-year residence requirement must return to their “home” countries following completion of their J-1 programs and be physically present there for an aggregate of two years before being eligible to return to the United States in immigrant (permanent resident/green card) status, H status (temporary workers and dependents), or L status (intracompany transferees and dependents). Exchange Visitors subject to the two-year home country residence requirement are not eligible to change their non-immigrant status from J to permanent residence or to any other non-immigrant category except A (diplomatic) and G (international organization).

Note: Former Exchange Visitors are eligible for all other non-immigrant visa types, even if subject to the two-year residence requirement. Only lawful permanent residence, and H and L visas, are prohibited. Exchange Visitors subject to the two-year residence requirement are eligible to leave the U.S. and apply for visas to return as tourists, or as F-1 students as long as they are otherwise eligible for those visas. The two-year home residence requirement should NOT be confused with the 24-month bar on repeat participation.

Persons with a two-year residence requirement are eligible for program transfers and extension of their J status up to the limits of time for their particular Exchange Visitor category.