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Exchange Visitors subject to the Two-Year Home Residence requirement must "reside and be physically present" in their "home" country for an aggregate of two years before being eligible for certain immigration benefits. The requirement also makes the J-1 visa holders and their J-2 dependents ineligible to change to any other visa status within the United States while they are subject to it. An exchange visitor is subject to the two-year home country physical presence requirement if the following conditions exist:
1. Government funded exchange program - The program in which the exchange visitor was participating was financed in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by the U.S. government or the government of the exchange visitor's nationality or last residence;
2. Graduate medical education or training - The exchange visitor entered the U.S. to receive graduate medical education or training;
3. Specialized knowledge or skill: Skills List - The exchange visitor is a national or permanent resident of a country which has deemed the field of specialized knowledge or skill necessary to the development of the country, as shown on the Exchange Visitor Skills List. Review the Exchange Visitor Skills List 2009.
If you are subject to 212(e), it does not mean that you cannot return to the U.S. for two years in another nonimmigrant status (e.g. F student or B tourist). While subject to the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement though, they are ineligible for the following benefits until this requirement is met or waived:
-They are not eligible to change their nonimmigrant status within the United States from J to any other nonimmigrant category except A (diplomatic) and G (international organization) statuses
-They are not eligible for an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident (immigrant/green card) status
-They are not eligible for an H visa (temporary workers and dependents), or an L visa (intracompany transferees and dependents).
Are you subject to 212(e)?
The Consular Officer may check your visa, DS-2019 or on your I-94 card that you are subject to the two year home residence requirement, 212(e) as you enter the United States; however, the Department of State Exchange Visitor Program has the final determination making this determination. Baylor scholars should contact the IS3 if they have questions regarding whether or not they are subject to the requirement.
Advisory Opinion from the U.S. Department of State
In the case that there is a doubt in whether or not a J-1 visa holder is subject to the requirement; the individual may request an Advisory Opinion from the U.S. Department of State.