J1 Visa – 2 Year Residency Rule Waiver

The J1 visa is issued to the foreign exchange students who have traveled to the United States for the reason of getting some training or some sort of education. As per the clause of the J1 visa (Professional Career Training Program) the people traveling to the United States on the J1 visa would be required to stay in the home country for the next two years post the completion of the training in the U.S for which the visa was issued in the first place.

The basic reason for this requirement defined by the US government, is that the person who has acquired the advanced skills and knowledge from the U.S by the virtue of the exchange visitor program, he or she should go back to the home country and spread the knowledge to people there. But there could be a lot of reasons and requirements because of which the visitor might not be able to travel back. Under such situations there is a provision of waiver of such clause at the discretion of the United States government.

This J1 visa waiver is suitable for the people, who falls in any of the under mentioned categories.

  1. Like medical graduates who had originally entered in to the United States and now post the completion of the education they would like to stay back in the United States.
  2. People who are foreign nationals and had come to the US. For the purpose of participating in any of the government funded programs, the same would also apply to the programs those are funded by other countries in the United States or by other international organizations.
  3. The people who are foreign nationals, who had attended the exchange program and are now required to go back to their home country but there the knowledge would be of little or no importance due to the lack of the resources there.
  4. If the J1 visa holder is able to obtain a NOC or a no objection certificate from the government in his home country.
  5. If the project the J1 visa holder is working on is of importance to the federal government or any of its agencies, in that case the federal government might choose to waive off the clause.
  6. If by the compliance of the J1 visa clause would be subjecting the spouse and the children of the person to a lot of hardship and problem then again the case could be reviewed for a waiver. But under such a situation the children and the spouse of the person has to be a citizen or atleast a permanent resident of the United States.

Guest Author

Tushar Mathur

9 thoughts on “J1 Visa – 2 Year Residency Rule Waiver

  1. i got my j1 visa last decemeber 2009.In my j1 visa its marked that im a subject to a two year residency under skill list.but when i checked the philippine skills list of my country.my field

  2. Hi Jackelyn,
    If it says that your are subject to 212(e) then ultimately if you want to come back within those 2 years on a non-immigrant visa, you need to get that condition waived.

  3. Hi, my visas just expired and im about to go back to my country, is there anyway that i can get the waiver even though i have returned to my country?

  4. Hi there,

    Amazingly useful site, thank you so much for the time to maintain it.

    Question on this topic, if yo can spare a minute: I’m an Aussie citizen. Was on the 4-month work/summer/travel J-1 during college in 2002. Returned to Australia and remained there for 6 years. Now back in the US on the 12-month work/summer/travel J-1. My employer is prepared to file and LCA to switch me to an E3. Considering that I did return to Australia on my first J-1 for well above 2 years, will the fact that I am currently on the 12-month J-1 be ok to switch to the E3? I am intending on visiting a Canadian consulate to switch, won’t be trying to change status within the US.

    Also, will my employer have to state somewhere that this is not a permanent role (even though it’s permanent in the sense that I am full-time with benefits and on a salary, with no expiry date, etc) or is this my job to prove my return intent?

    Thanks kindly for your help!

  5. Hi Jen,
    If your current J1-visa does not have any 2 year rule applicable to it (which it will state on the visa stamp on the passport), then you can either transfer within the US or apply for a totally new E3 visa outside the country. Now in terms of proving your residency abroad the best thing I can recommend is to read the link I just referenced as that will cover what you are asking.

  6. Hi CJ,

    Keep up the good work; this website is such a valuable resource.

    I am in a similar situation to Jen; I am currently on my second J1 visa and would like to switch to an E3. It would be ideal if I could change to the E3 by filing form I-129, but I am unsure if I am eligible to do that. My first J1 was subject to the two year rule, and I have not spent 2 full years in Australia since then. However, the two year rule does not apply to my current J1. Do you think I can file form I-129?

    I know that you cannot file I-129 if you are on a J1 that is subject to the two year rule, but I cannot tell if this restriction extends to people like myself who have not fulfilled the 2 year rule from a previous visa.

    I have tried hard to find a definitive answer about this, but the USCIS language around this seems pretty ambiguous. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

  7. James you would most likely have to get a waiver to be sure of no denial of your E-3 visa application as the terms are generally pretty explicit. It is interesting though that you were able to get another J-1 visa AND that the visa was not subject to the 2 year rule.

  8. Thanks for information!

    I am a native Vietnamese and went to the US on J-1 visa with 2 year rule. I have moved to Australia and got Australian citizenship. I haven’t fulfilled the 2 year in Vietnam yet.

    Am I still eligible for E3 visa?

  9. hi!

    I am currently doing Internship on J1 Visa with CIEE till October 19th this year(2 year rule does not apply). I would like to apply for h1-b visa this april. Will I be able to stay on J1 visa till the end of my Internship programme after filling an application for h1-b? or will I be sent back to my home country ?

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