Two-Year Home Residency Requirement

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program was established to promote mutual understanding and cultural and educational exchange, with the assumption that participants would return to their home countries and share knowledge gained during the program. In certain instances, visitors in J status are required to return and reside in their home country or country of legal permanent residence for two years before they may return to the U.S. in H, L, or K classification, or as a lawful permanent resident (“green card” holder). In addition, scholars who are subject to this requirement are not eligible to apply for a change to any non-immigrant classification from within the U.S.

Individuals are subject to the two-year home residency requirement — also known as 212(e):

  • If they come to the United States to participate in medical residency under J-1 Alien Physical category OR

  • If they have received direct government funds for the purposes of international exchange OR

  • If, as a J-1 Exchange Visitor, they are acquiring a skill that is in critical demand in their home country, according to the U.S. government’s “Exchange Visitor Skills List.”

Please note that receiving a salary that is funded out of a government grant that is given for the purposes of conducting research does not make the recipient subject to this provision. Most Brandeis University research salaries are funded by grants from the U.S. government. This money is given to Brandeis to do research and does not make a person subject to 212(e). 

In limited circumstances, exchange visitors who are subject to the requirement may apply for a waiver directly from the Department of State if they meet certain conditions. Please talk to the ISSO if you are planning to file a waiver as this could impact your eligibility to extend your appointment or transfer your J-1 record to a new institution.

Please note that the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement can affect students and scholars in any J classification, including J-2 dependents. It is not the same as the 24-Month Bar on Repeat Participation which affects only scholars in J-1 Research Scholar or Professor categories.