Office of International Affairs International Student & Scholar Services

Two Year Home Country Residence Rule

The intent of the United States government is to have the home country benefit from the J-1 Exchange Visitor’s experience in the United States. Exchange Visitors come to the United States for a specific objective such as a research project or a program of study. The Two-Year Residence rule, also known as rule 212(e), is intended to prevent a participant who is subject from staying longer than necessary for the objective, and to ensure that he or she will spend at least two years in the home country before coming back to the United States for a long-term stay. Determination of whether a participant is subject to the two-year rule and what is the home country of the participant under terms of the rule are sometimes complex issues. Although this page contains general information, the assistance of an International Counselor at the Office of International Affairs should always be sought in dealing with this rule. Detailed information on the rule and related issues is available from the U.S. Department of State at

Requirements of the Rule:
If you are subject to the rule, until you have resided and been physically present for a total of two years in your home country or have received a waiver from the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), you are not eligible for:
1. H, L, or permanent resident status in the United States.
2. A change of status inside the United States from J to another nonimmigrant status (except as an official government representative).

You are subject to the Rule:
1. If your exchange visitor program is funded by your home government or by the United States government; or
2. If your subject of work or study is listed on the “Skills List” for your home country; or
3. If your program is as for graduate medical education or training; or
4. If you are a J-2 dependent of a J-1 who is subject.
If you have ever been subject to the rule and have neither received a waiver nor fulfilled the required two-year in your home country, the requirement remains in force no matter what other actions you have taken since becoming subject.

Information on the waiver process is available on the U.S. Department of State web page. You may also need to consult your home country embassy, consulate or other government agency concerning your home country’s role in the waiver process. Also consult an International Counselor at the Office of International Affairs.