Maintaining J-1 Status

J-1 Scholar: 212(e) Two-Year Home Residency Requirement

Are you subject to the 212(e) Two-Year Home Residency Requirement?  

If you have a J-1 Visa and meet one or more of the criteria listed below, you may be subject.  You would normally see this requirement marked on your J-1 Visa stamp and/or DS-2019. If you are subject to the requirement, your J-2 dependents are also subject to this requirement.  


  1. You have received funding from your government or the U.S. government for J-1 program participation; or, 
  2. Your skills are deemed to be in short supply by your home country; or, 
  3. You have participated in clinical training (i.e. a medical residency or fellowship) 

If you are subject to the two-year home residency requirement, you must “reside and be physically present” in your “home” country for an aggregate period of two years after completion of your J-1 program OR apply for a waiver of this requirement before being eligible for certain immigration benefits. If you are subject to 212(e), you are also ineligible for the following benefits: 

  • An immigrant visa or adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident (immigrant/green card) status  
  • H Visa (temporary workers and dependents), an L Visa (intra-company transferees and dependents), or a K Visa (fiancé and dependents)  
  • A change of your nonimmigrant status within the U.S. from J to any other nonimmigrant category except A (diplomatic), G (international organization), or U (victims of qualifying criminal activity) statuses  

Waiver of 212(e)  

Please note that if you intend to apply for a waiver of the 212(e), you should discuss your plans with J-1 Scholar Advising and your host department, as this can impact your eligibility for an extension of your J-1 status or a transfer of your J-1 record to a new institution.  Applying for a waiver and having it approved without consulting J-1 Scholar Advising and your host department does not obligate Penn State to sponsor you for an H-1B.  

Advisory Opinion on Subjectivity to 212(e)  

If you do not know whether the two-year home residency requirement applies to you, after having reviewed the eligibility information on the Department of State website, you can request the Department of State's Waiver Review Division to conduct an Advisory Opinion. An Advisory Opinion is a review of your exchange visitor program documents to determine if you are subject to this requirement. Please refer to Department of State Advisory Opinion for more information.