Two-Year Home Residence Requirement

Many J-1 visa holders must return to their home countries upon completion of their appointments for a minimum of two years to fulfill the two-year home residency requirement of the visa. The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) can predict whether an appointee is likely to become subject to this requirement, which is based upon the appointee's country of legal permanent residence and on the source of the appointee's funding, but the State Department makes the final determination. A J-1 exchange visitor who is subject to the requirement may not change to an H-1B visa, L visa or permanent residence (i.e. Green Card) without fulfilling the home residency requirement, or arranging for a waiver (a process which can sometimes take up to nine months to complete). Information about waivers of the two-year home country physical presence requirement is available on the U.S. Department of State web site (