Two-year Home Residency Requirement

Some J-1 visa holders are subject to the two-year home country residency requirement. Your DS-2019 or your J-1 visa will indicate whether or not the two-year home residency rule applies to you. This information is also explained on the reverse side of the DS-2019 form.

Conditions for the two-year requirement:

  • The student is in a field identified by their home government as being in short supply and the field is included on the U.S. government’s “Exchange Visitor’s Skills List.
  • The student receives any funding (regardless of amount) from their home government or they are awarded a U.S. government grant or fellowship specifically designed for exchange.
  • The student is being sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.

A J-1 student can fulfill the two-year home requirement by returning to their home country (or country of residence) at the end of the J-1 program and living there for an aggregate of two years.

Note that under the two-year home residency rule:

  • J-1 students are not eligible to change their immigration status to another nonimmigrant visa within the U.S.(except A, G, or U).
  • J-1 students are not eligible for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident.
  • J-1 students are not eligible for work visas such as the H, L, or K.
Waiving the two-year home country requirement

J-1 students can submit an online petition for a waiver through the Department of State’s website. If you need more information, please see:

Reasons for a waiver:

  • Statement from the exchange visitor’s home country that it has no objection to the waiver
  • Fear of persecution on account of race, religion, or political opinion
  • Request for waiver made by an interested U.S. government agency
  • Expressed interest in a state agency (only for alien physicians)
  • Exceptional hardship to the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or child of the exchange visitor