Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement

Some Exchange Visitors are subject to what is called the two-year home country physical presence requirement. It requires you to return home for at least two years after your exchange visitor program ends. This “two-year residence” requirement may apply to you if you meet one of the following :

  • Receive Funding: You receive any funding (including nominal travel grants) from your home government or if you are named in a U.S. government grant or fellowship specifically designed for exchange.
  • On the Skills List: Trained personnel in your field are identified by your home government as being in short supply and your field has consequently been included on the U.S. government's Exchange Visitor's Skills List.
  • Graduate Medical Training: Your J status is sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.

If you do not know whether your country and/or field appear on the Exchange Visitor Skills List, check the list or ask at OISS.

The two-year home country physical presence requirement is explained on the reverse side of the DS-2019 form.

At the conclusion of a J-1 program, the exchange visitor who is subject to this requirement must reside for an aggregate of two years (24 months) in their country of nationality or last legal permanent residence or have the requirement waived before being eligible for other U.S. immigration statuses, including H, L or permanent resident status. Persons subject to the two year home country residence requirement can return to the U.S. during this period in most other nonimmigrant statuses, including tourist status.

If you are considering applying for a waiver of the two-year home residency please read the guidance from OISS first.