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212 (e) Home Residency Requirement, Bars, and Waivers

One of the major issues with J-1 status is determining whether or not you are subject to the two-year home residency requirement, and if so, what options are available.  Please read the following information carefully, and contact your international coordinator if you have any questions.

What is the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement?

The two-year home residency requirement (or 212(e), as it is referenced in the immigration regulations) means that those who come the U.S. in J-1 status cannot become permanent residents in the U.S., change status in the U.S., or get work or family-based visa status such as H, L or K until they return to their country of last permanent residence for at least two years cumulatively.

Who is subject?

Those in J-1 status (and their J-2 dependents) can become subject if any of the following apply to the J-1 program:

1) If the J-1 receives funding from the U.S. government, home government or an international organization to use for the J-1 program.

2) If the J-1 worked or studied in a field that appears on the "skills list." This is a list of fields of specialized knowledge and skills that are needed in the J-1's country of last permanent residence for its development. Canada, Australia and Germany are examples of countries that are not on the list. China, India and South Korea are examples of countries that have many skills on the list.

3) If the J-1 participated in a graduate medical training program in the United States under the sponsorship of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.

A schematic overview of who is subject to the 2-year home residency requirement is given in this chart. If you are not sure whether you should be subject to the 2-year home residency requirement, please contact your International Program Coordinator.

For complete information on the Two Year Residency Requirement, please visit the U.S. Department of State web site.

Waiver of 212(e)
To request a waiver of the Two Year Requirement, you must file a DS-3035 form, which may be accessed through the Department of State's web site:

12 month Bar
Individuals that participated in J program for more than six months are not eligible to enter the US as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor until 12 months after the exit from the US.  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.

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
J scholars in the Research Scholar and Professor categories will not be able to return to the US as a J scholar for a 2 year period upon conclusion of their program.  When a J 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 International Services to reactivate it.  At that point, the 24-month bar time starts to accrue.