Some J1 Exchange Visitors to the US are subject to the two-year home country residence requirement. This means that some J1 Visa holders have to return to their country of nationality or permanent residence for at least two years after completion of their program in the US. During these two years, the exchange visitor is prevented from changing his or her visa status to H, L or permanent resident in the US at any US consulate outside the US, as well as from changing the status to any other nonimmigrant category within the US.
It is possible, however, to leave the US and re-enter with a different visa than H, L or green card during this two-year period, for example with a B2 tourist visa, O1 extraordinary ability visa, F1 student visa and E2 investor visa.
The two-year residence requirement may apply to the following categories:
- The US government has funded the exchange program.
- The acquired skill is listed on the Exchange Visitor Skills List of the US Department of State. This is a list of skills that are in short supply in the home country of the exchange visitor. It is important to note that consular officers often erroneously indicate that you are subject to the two year home residency requirement. By contacting a J1 waiver attorney you can find out whether the consular officer made a mistake and are subject to the two year home residency requirement.
- Physicians who receive medical training
If you fall into any of these categories and are thus subject to the two-year home country residence requirement, but are not able comply with it, your best option would be to obtain a waiver of this requirement.
The Ranchod Law Group focuses on these types of J1 waivers. Please contact us to find out, which waiver would be best suited for you and if you are eligible for a J1 Visa Waiver.