What is the “Two-Year Rule”?

Interested in participating in another J-1 program,  J-1 participants often tell us “The 2-year rule does not apply to me, because the consular officer did not check the box for section 212(e) on my DS-2019”. Yet, according to the J-1 Visa regulations,  they still have to wait 2 years.

Why, you say? Is there another “2-year rule”?

Let me explain…

Two-year home-country physical presence requirement
When foreign nationals participate in an Exchange Program and the program meets certain conditions (ie program was government-funded, graduate medical training or specialized knowledge training), they will be subject to the two-year home-country physical presence (foreign residence) requirement. This means they will be required to return to their home country for two years at the end of the exchange program. This requirement under immigration law is based on Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. If exchange visitors are subject to the “two-year rule”, they cannot change status to that of H, L, K, or immigrant lawful permanent resident (LPR) until they have returned to their home country for at least two-years (or received a waiver of that requirement).

Additional training and internship program participation
When the State Department revised the J-1 Visa Regulations in June 2007, they formalized rules for repeat participation. The Regulations state that “Interns may apply for additional internship programs if they (1) Are currently enrolled full-time and pursuing studies at degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institutions outside the United States; or (2) Have graduated from such institutions no more than 12 months prior to the start of their proposed exchange visitor program. … Trainees are eligible for additional training programs after a period of at least two years residency outside the United States following completion of their training program. … For both trainees and interns, additional training and internship programs must address the development of more advanced skills or a different field of expertise”.

You see how the 2 Two Year Rules address different issues? Section 212(e) addresses potential change of status to H, L, K or LPR. When interested in participating in another J-1 program, we have to look at the Additional Program Participation article of the J-1 Visa regulations. And according to those regulations – unless the foreign national qualifies as Intern – they must wait 2 years in order to qualify for repeat participation.

 

1,022 Responses to “What is the “Two-Year Rule”?

  • Winter.Liu
    6 years ago

    Suppose my J1 visa was expired and 2 years rule applies, I went back to my home country. During the next 2 years, Can I enter U.S with Travelling visa?

    • Section 212(e) applies to a change of status to H, L, K or Legal Permanent Resident status. It does not apply to the non-immigrant B-1/B-2 visa. This visa is for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure, tourism or medical treatment (B-2). So yes, you should be able to enter the U.S. on B-1/B-2 status. Check with your local US embassy to see if you need to apply for an B-1/B-2 visa or if your country is part of the waiver program. Good luck!

      • noviz
        4 years ago

        Hi Mr. Mario,

        I’ve been in US as a culinary intern from the Philippines.
        I’ve been there from September 26, 2011-October 16, 2012.

        My J1 visa it is indicated that bearer is not subject to INA section 212 (e) and in my DS2019 it says two year rule does not apply.

        Right now my fiancé wants to petition me under the K1visa
        I am confused if I really do have the two year rule or not. And if we could go on K1visa and if do i need to have the waiver or not.

        • If your visa states “bearer not subject” and your DS-2019 indicates that 212(e) does not apply, then you do not need to obtain a waiver.

        • Mariah
          4 years ago

          Hi, dear Mario , I lose my DS 2019 it said no subjetv 2 year requirement , but my passport has it what can I do ? I married a year ago but I over staywhat can I do ?

          • Hello Mariah. The passport visa overrides the DS-2019. If the passport visa states “Bearer subject to 212(e)”, then 212(e) applies. The DS-2019 is only a preliminary opinion.

      • Andrew Rozumniy
        4 years ago

        Dear Mario,
        I wanted to ask you whether I am a subject to 212(e). I am going to participate in the J-1 exchange program(as trainee). On my ds-2019 I was ticked as subject to 212(e) due to government funding(though my sponsor is not US government but private non-profit organization that claims to have some government funding) and on my j-1 visa in annotation it is indicated that I am not subject to 212(e) and 2-year rule doesn’t apply. In such case, am I subject to this 2 year home residence rule or not? Will I have to get an advisory opinion and apply for a waiver? Does my j-1 visa have a superior importance over ds-2019?

        • Hi Andrew. If the visa states “Bearer not subject to 212(e)”, then 212(e) does not apply.

    • vivek
      5 years ago

      Dear sir,
      There is no any rule to apply for h1 after completion of j1 visa?

      • Vivek, the Department of State requires that all J-1 participants return home upon completion of their program.

        • Varsha Thebo
          4 years ago

          Dear sir,

          I participated in a US government funded exchange program in fall 2012 and have been awarded a scholarship by the same college (I had been sent to) to finish my degree in USA. The college is now sending me documents and stuff to apply for an F-1 visa. I wanted to know if you could please suggest the probablility/possibility of my getting an F-1 visa given the 2-year residence restriction. The college says that the 2-year residency thing can apply in a way that you don’t leave USA for 2 years once you get back again. I’m eagerly waiting for your kind help. Thank you!

          • You should be able to obtain another F visa as 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas.

          • Lillian
            4 years ago

            Dear Mario,
            I am currently a J-1 holder that is about to expire, and I am returning to my country soon. My exchange program was completely funded by Brazil government! but I want to complete my degree in the USA. However, I am subjected to the 2 years residency rule.
            Would I need to apply for the “No objection” and a waiver to the rule in order to get an F-1? Is it easy to get it approved since it’s for an F-1? What are the chances to get it denied?
            I’m counting on your kind help.
            Thank you in advance!
            Best regards

          • Hello Lillian. I am not sure about the requirements for obtaining an F visa. I recommend contacting the university where you would like to study, they will be able to help. Good luck!

    • Pratik
      4 years ago

      Hello Sir,

      I am planning for a J1 visa for 2 months in May- June (self funded internship on Electronics and Communication related project in a Boston based university). I am also willing to go for my MS in US in 2015. Will I20 clash with the 2 year residency requirement?

      • Pratik, F-1s are not my area of expertise. I think you will be fine, but check with the university where you would like to study.

  • Vincenzo
    6 years ago

    I was on a J-1 Visa, and after my study in the US I am moving to work in a third country (nor US nor my home country). If I spend two years in that country, will I have satisfied my “Two-year rule”? Can I then apply for a Visa to work in the US? thanks!

    • @Vincenzo: you can participate in additional training programs after a period of at least two years residency outside the United States following completion of the training program. So yes, as long as you are outside the US for 2 years, you will be eligible for repeat J-1 participation.

  • I was on a j1 visa on april 2008 on a 2 year rule for a front office traineeship, after my 12 month training. My gm sponsored me for h1b visa and applied for waiver for 2 yr rule and got approved. My h1b visa started oct. 2009, however the company I was working sold the hotel to a third party corporation and I decided to go back home to my country on feb. 2011.My questions are

    1. Do I qualify for a 2nd j1 visa for a management training program since my 1st j1 visa is just a basic training?

    2. My j1 visa waiver was approved so am I still subject to a 2 yr rule if I qualify for a 2nd j1 visa?

    Thanks!

    • @mark: Normally trainees are eligible for participation in additional training programs after a period of at least two years residency outside the United States following completion of their training program. … If you left the U.S. in Feb 2011, you must remain outside the U.S. until at least Feb 2013 in order to be able to reapply. But, there a few complicating factors with your situation: 1) you did not leave the U.S. upon completion of your J-1 program and 2) since you gained management experience on your H1 visa, you would likely duplicate previous experience or skill during a potential second J-1 trainee program. Based on these factors, it is unlikely that you will find a J-1 visa sponsor who will be able to provide sponsorship for an additional program.

  • Arianne
    6 years ago

    I participated the Internship Program(J1 Visa) last March 2010 to March 2011 then went back to my country after the program. Now I want to participate a Traineeship Program/Career Training Program for 12months again with a J1 visa. Am i still qualified for another J1 Visa?It says in my visa “Bearer is not subject to section 212(E) two year rule does not apply” and also in my DS2019 the consul checked the box for “not subject to 2 year residence requirement”. So it means i’m still qualified for another J1 Visa?

    Thanks!

    • @Arianne: most likely yes. Please keep in mind that additional training and internship programs must address the development of more advanced skills or a different field of expertise. How long you have to reside outside the US depends on whether you can be qualified as an Intern again or as Trainee. Please send your resume to blog@htp-usa.com and someone here at HTP will be happy to take a look at it!

  • Milan Thakker
    6 years ago

    Hello Mr.Mario Janssen
    I was on J1 from May 2009 to Feb 2010.
    Although i was having full 12 months visa i came back home country early.
    Thus would like to know will i be eligible for Management Trainee Program for this winter Intake?
    Also one of my friend have more then 3 years of work experience in customer relations.
    He was in UK on student visa basis.
    Came back home country just before few days ago.
    He have never been in USA on any of VISA.
    Will he be eligible for the same J1 winter program?

    • @milan: if you no longer classify as Intern, you are eligible for participation in additional training programs after a period of at least two years residency outside the United States following completion of your training program. I notice that refer to the J1 “winter” program; you may be referring to the Work and Travel program. The eligibility requirements for that program are different from the Intern and Trainee programs. Among other requirements, you must be a full time student at a post secondary educational institution.

  • Hi Mario, thank you for sharing important information on your blog with us!

    My question is, I’m currently doing my 6 months internship in the US, of course on a J1-Visa. I received my visa in a country (EU), where the 212e does not apply. I had studied, lived and worked there for more than 7 years before I came to the US. Though, I was not a permanent resident (I renewed my visa every two years) and I still have the citizenship of a country, where 212e does apply. Thus, I have this on my J-Visa and DS2019. (Some of my countrymen in same situation like me do not, because I think the rule is not clear to any vo)

    What unclear to me is, which country I will have to return? I have been living in the EU for so many years that I already have my job and my life there. So it is impossible for me to return to my fatherland. Does that mean, that due to my J1-experience, I will never obtain the chance to work in the US?

    I am thinking about requesting an advisory opinion. Do you think there is a chance?

    Thank you

    • Tom, it is best to take a look at your DS2019. If the consular officer check marked “212e applies” then you cannot apply for a work permit, unless you apply for a waiver. In order to apply for another J1 in the future, you will likely have to leave the US for 2 years.

      • Hakan Calik
        4 years ago

        Hi,

        I am in the same situation as Fierella. I am a Turkish citizen but I have been living abroad for more than 8 years (studied, lived and worked in the UK and France), but I do not have a permanent residency of a country other than my own counties, Turkey. I recently obtained a J-1 visa at the Paris embassy, in my DS 2019 form, it says I am not subject to 2-year home residency rule but on my visa it says I am subject to. So, I am really confused if I am or I am not?

        P.S. citizens of Turkey are subject to this rule.

        Thank you for your help.

        • Hakan, the visa is the overriding document. If the visa states “bearer is subject to 212(e)”, then you have to reside in your home country for 2 years upon completion of your J program.

  • Hi, I participated in a Trainee Program since January 2010 until January 2011 in the field of marketing. In my VISA says 212 (e) does not apply and in my DS 2019 says:
    Not subject to the two year residence requirement. So it means i can apply to a new trainee program? this time i would be interested in a trainee in Advertising or Communications. Would it be possible?
    Hope you can help.
    Thanks

    • @fiore.andres: Section 212(e) is important when you would like to change status to H, L, K or LPR. If your case, if you are interested in participating in another J-1 program, we have to look at the “Additional Program Participation” article of the J-1 Visa regulations. It is completely separate from 212(e). According to those regulations, you must reside outside the US for 2 years in order to qualify for repeat participation.

      • david j
        4 years ago

        Sir,

        I had J1 vvisa with sect.212(e) and in 2010,and supposed I finished in 18 months but in 13 months I resigned. and now I’ve been away from the US from JUly 2011, but did not reside in my home country but I moved to several countries to work afterward. My passport today has changed, am i eligible to have another j1 visa again as per my current situation? thanks. look forward for ur reply.

        • David, 212(e) only applies if you would apply for an H, K or L visa. You can apply for another J visa, even if you have not resided in your home country. Good luck.

  • Salvador
    6 years ago

    Hello,
    I am an exchange student from an EU country currently studying my second semester at an American University. My J-1 visa will expire in may’12. However, i just got a scholarship from my home country to make a 7-month internship at US starting May’12. Can I get a J-1 intern visa? Should I go back to my country?
    Thank you very much

    • Hello Salvador, it depends. It is best to check with the sponsor who issued your current DS-2019. Good luck.

  • amber harris
    6 years ago

    Hi there,

    I was issued a j-1 visa last year to move to the USA as an aupair.
    I never went in the end, I never used this visa, the aupair company cancelled all my flights, and my contract as I couldn’t leave due to family.
    I am hoping as I never used this visa it was cancelled, and if so, does that mean I’m elligible to apply for other work type visas without having to wait the 2 years on the 212E. How can I make sure this un used j-1 visa doesn’t pose me any problems in the future.

    ambermount@hotmail.com

  • ambermount@hotmail.com, if you never started your J program as an au-pair, 212(e) should not apply to you. I recommend applying for a new J program. Be sure to explain to the new sponsor that you were issued a J-1 visa, but never started the program. Good luck!

  • Hamzaoui Karim
    6 years ago

    Hello Mr Janssen,

    I’m currently carrying out an internship in USA. I have the J-1 Visa Intern with the following dates : from January 27, 2012 —> June 30, 2012. I’m not subject to section 212(E). I would like to carry out another internship in another field during 12 months (from July 1st, 2012 —> July 1st 2013). I will leave the USA on June 7, 2012. I have to come back in Belgium (residence country). My question is : Can I apply for another J-1 VISA as soon as now ?

    Thank you,

    Best regards,

    HAMZAOUI Karim

    • Hamzaoui, you should apply for another visa once you have successfully completed your current program. Best regards.

  • Alexander
    6 years ago

    Hello!

    I’m on Internship program in The USA. My visa and program are expiring in a month. In fact I’ve had only 6 months of training due too incompetence of my Exchange company. When I cam to the USA, I didn’t get the job and accomodation I was promiced. That’s why I’m not dealing with exchange company anymore. Only with sponsor of visa, who doesn’t provide jobs. They only assist in paperwork, so I’ve found my internship by myself and worked there from October to March. Is it possible to extend my visa in this case? I’ve read that It’s possible in special circumstances. I just wanted to know these circumstances to understand if I’m elligible for that. I easily can get a job offer and training plan now. But will it help me to extend my visa?

    Thank you.

    • Alex, you will need to contact the sponsor of your program as listed on your form DS2019. They will be able to assist. Best regards.

  • Degang Guo
    5 years ago

    Hi there,

    I have some questions about J-1 visa. I am a J-1 visa holder now and the current J1 program will be finished September this year. After that I will go back to China. I want to know can I apply for another J-1 visa (different program) next year (not fulfill the two-year requirement)? If yes, will I be subject to the two-year restriction twice (4 years)?

    • Assuming you are currently a Trainee, you are not eligible for another Trainee program until you have resided outside the US for 2 years. This means that you will be able to start another Trainee program in October 2014. Best of luck.

  • Mike L
    5 years ago

    Hi, I have a quick question about J1 training.
    I was on a j1 trainee visa until December 2010. After that, I left the States and also got a waiver (against the 212 E regulation).Can I apply now for another training program, or I would still have to wait for 2 years, prior to that? Thank you!

    • Mike, in order to become eligible again for the J-1 Trainee program, you must reside outside the U.S. for 2 years (regardless of 212e status).

  • Stefania
    5 years ago

    Hi,
    I’m on J1 visa for my undergrad studies for one semester. When the visa was issued the consulate applied the 2 year rule even if I’m not sponsored (I think it was a mistake). Can I apply for another J1 while I’m attending grad school?

    • Stefania, the 2 year rule may apply if the U.S. government (or your government) paid for your semester in the U.S. You can apply for a waiver, though. After obtaining the waiver, you should be able to apply for another J-1 visa. Best of luck.

  • Catherine Biggar
    5 years ago

    Can you explain what the ‘Bearer is not subject to section 212(E) two year rule does not apply’ statement means when it is on your visa?

    • Catherine, if an exchange visitor’s form DS-2019 reads “Bearer not subject to section 212(e)”, it means that they can apply for an H, L or K visa, or immigrant lawful permanent resident (LPR) status without having to return to their home country for at least two-years. Remember that they would still have to reside outside the U.S. for 2 years if they would want to apply for another J-1 Trainee visa.

  • Catherine Biggar
    5 years ago

    So you can apply for a waiver? Thank you for your prompt reply!

  • Patmuz
    5 years ago

    Dear Sir, I woluld like to know if I am eligible to apply for another J1 . I did my Food and Beverage internship in USA from November 2009 to November 2010. I would like to know if its possible for me to apply for a Rooms Division internship in November this year since I would have stayed in my country for two years. I graduated last year in March 2011.

    • Patmuz: the J-1 visa regulations state that you must reside outside the U.S. for 2 years following completion of your program. If you left the U.S. in November 2010 and have resided outside the U.S. since, then you would be eligible to participate in a Trainee program starting November 2012. Good luck!

  • Prabhu
    5 years ago

    I was in J1 visa on 12 months internship from june 2010-May2011 on Jackson marriott .. almost one year has been gone .. my question is

    1.after 2 years can i able to apply on same hotel or do i need to find new hotel for 2nd J1 .. is it possible to convince the visa officer ?

    2.Should i need to apply for advance or different inters?hip .. or can i apply for same training ?

    Thankyou

    best answer would be appreciate

    • Prabhu, in order to become eligible for the J-1 Trainee category, you must reside outside the U.S. for 2 years. Your new program must address the development of more advanced skills or a different field of expertise. So yes, the training must be different. While there is no provision in the J-1 Regulations that prohibits training at the same host organization, I would recommend training at a new host organization.

  • Tetyana
    5 years ago

    My question is following. I’m now on a J-1 visa as an exchange student – Fulbright program. My program ends on June, 21 2012 and I go back to my country – Ukraine. I’m subject to the 2-year requirement. I want to apply for a PhD program next year, so I will need another J-1 or F-1 visa in a year. Can I apply for another Visa if I stay in Ukraine only for 12 months? Can I add the remaining months later by way of coming back to Ukraine and staying there for three months each year of my studies during the summer? Thank you!

    • 212(e) applies to change of status to L, K or H visas (or LPR status). You should be able to apply for another J or F visa. I recommend checking with your current sponsor.

  • Dear Mario, I would like to ask-how strict ii the rule to stay in my home country after J-1 is expired?

    I am going to US this summer as a post-doctoral researcher with 2-years J-1 visa and all forms are completed and ready to be applied, but this regulation I really do not like so much)

    I am russian, married in italian, live in switzerland and completed my phd thesis in uk. So, could be some other country (lets say, Italy) be considered as my home country in this case or not? and if i go to work in eu after the us experience-could it be allowed or not?

    • Zina, the repeat participation requirement of the J-1 Trainee and Intern programs is governed by the U.S. Department of State (they require that you must reside outside the U.S. for 2 years – it does not require residence in your home country). By contrast, 212(e) is governed by USCIS. For the exact details on requirements and consequences of 212(e), I recommend you consult an immigration attorney.

  • twilight
    5 years ago

    Dear Sir,

    I was issued a j1 visa from July 2009 to May 2010, on a Fulbright program. I returned to the us on a tourist visa to visit my boyfriend, first in November 2010, and stayed with him 6 months, and then in June 2010, and i stayed another 6 months (both periods were given to me by the immigration officer, which means i didn’t overstay).
    I’m in my home country right now, and interested in applying for another interesting program by which i will be issued a j1 visa. Technically my 2-year home residency, is fine, but ”m still worried if my stay in the US 2 times to visit my boyfriend is a problem. I’m very serious when it comes to immigration laws, but at the same time I’m very interested in applying to this new program. Do you recommend me to apply for this program, knowing that i didn’t overstay during my 2 visits to the US

    • You two 6-month stays in the U.S. likely will be an issue applying for another J-1 visa. The organization who will sponsor your new program should be able to explain the details to you. Best of luck!

  • I got j 1 from sep2011-sep2012. Now i got a job in the states that starts at july 2012.

    My visa says two yr rule Does Not apply and my ds 2019 states i am NOT subject to the two yr rule either.

    Now i am preparing for h1b. Should i still send an inqury for advisory letter ? Thank you so so much!!!!

    • Sam, based on your note, 212(e) does not apply and you do not need to apply for a waiver. You should be approved for a change of status to H1B.

  • Rafael B
    5 years ago

    Hello Mario,

    Due to some changes in its policy, my school (BYUH) made me apply for J1 Visa (DS 129) instead of the regular F1. They are doing this with all International students. I am going to graduate in Winter 2013, and my J1 visa expires this month (may). I will be going back to Brazil in June for a break, and I will have to reapply/ renew this visa to come back and finish school. Since I am under the 212 e rule, and such rule does apply to me, woud I have any problem to renew my VISA?

    • Rafael, according to your message, the program end date on your form DS-2019 should be sometime in 2013. Therefore, you should not have a problem renewing your J-1 visa (212(e) does not apply to you; it applies to change of status to H, L, K or LRP). Just make sure you have your DS-2019 validated for travel by the school.

      • Rafael Bertani
        5 years ago

        Thank you Mario!!! One last question: What if after my graduation I apply and got accepted in a grad school. Will I have any problem to get a F1 visa?

        Thank you!

  • Patmuz
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario, I would like to know if I need experience in the Rooms Division department for me to be able to apply for an internship in the Rooms Division department. I am also concerned because some programs state that you can only intern within 12 months of your graduation, I graduated last year in 2011 and its past 12months now. I participated in a Food and Beverage internship on a J1 visa from November 2009 to November 2010 and would like to know if its possible for me to apply for an internship on J1 visa in Rooms Division this year in November?

    • Patmuz, you are correct: in order to qualify as Intern, you must start the program within 12 months of graduation. If you no longer qualify as Intern, the J-1 visa regulations require that you wait 2 years until you become eligible to participate in a Trainee program.

      • franck
        4 years ago

        I am under a J-1 18 month. I am also getting married in the current month with an american girl. Do i have to go back to my country even if I am Married?

        • Hello Franck. I am not sure about situations where J-1s get married during their program, sorry!

  • Swara
    5 years ago

    If your J1 visa is approved in 2012 with section 212(e) & later in 2013 you want to apply for F1 visa then is it necessary to obtain a J1 waiver in order to change your J1 status to F1 status?

    • Swara, you should be fine to apply for an F1 visa without obtaining the waiver. 212(e) only applies to change of status to H, L, K or LPR status. Good luck!

  • Hello,

    I came to US with a J1 visa and on my passport appears “Bearer is subject to section 212(e)”. I would like to apply for a tourist visa “B2”. Could I apply for B2 visa or before I need to apply for a waiver?

    • Hi Tony, you should not have any problems applying for the tourist visa; you do not need to apply for a waiver of 212(e). You would only need to obtain a waiver if you were to apply for an H, L or K visa; or Legal Permanent Resident status.

  • I forgot to tell you, I am still in USA and I want to change my status in a B2 visa. My visa is still valid

    Thank you very much.

    Best regards.

  • Tony, no difference, you still do not have to apply for a waiver. But, USCIS will want to know the reason for changing status. Especially since the J-1 visa allows for a 30-day grace period upon successful completion of the program, it is unlikely they will approve the change of status from J to B2 without valid reasons.

  • I understand. I have a friend that was in the same situation like me but he applied for a student visa “F1” and he needed to apply for waiver. Is it possible?

  • kaushik
    5 years ago

    hi

    I am going on a J-1 visa to GM motors warren for a period of three months, from Indian institute of science, bagalore as a Master;s student. next year i want to apply for a Phd next year to the USA? now that i am under the 212(e) 2-year rule would be possible for me to get a F-1 visa to USA or would i have to wait for two years? thanks kaushik

    • Kaushik, 212(e) applies to H, K and L visas; you should not have issue applying for a student F visa.

  • Jamie
    5 years ago

    I know someone who came over to work as a summer camp coach on a J-1 visa 2 years ago. He was able to come back this year on a H visa. Does he need to fulfill the 2 year requirement to apply for an adjustment of status?

    • Jamie, the summer camp coach should check their form DS-2019 to determine if 212(e) was checked. Even is was, since the program ended 2 years ago, they should be fine.

  • Malala
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I am a fulbright student from Madagascar under the 2 year home residency requirement. I am married to an American and we have a baby. My J-1 visa will expire in August 2012 and I and my baby will go back home and be apart from my husband. It’s very tough.
    My questions are:
    1) if i find a job in a third country (not US nor my country) and go live there for 2 years. Can i come back to the US and ask for a permanent visa since I’m married to an American and have an American baby?
    2) if i stay in my home country and ask for a 3 month tourist visa to visit my husband. Would that 3 months be part of my 2 year requirement since I am still a resident in my country and just a tourist in the US?

    Thank you so much for your help

    • Dear Malala, your questions fall outside the J-1 Trainee and Intern visa categories. They warrant detailed advice from an immigration attorney. Good luck with your case.

    • Peter
      5 years ago

      Hello Malala, was anyone able to help you on this matter? are you still in the USA or you left to your home country?

  • Penny
    5 years ago

    Hi, I have a J1 visa from July 2009 to July 2010. And I have a second J1 visa from Sep 2010 to Dec 2011.

    For both my visa, the 2 year rule does apply. May I know if the 2 year rule will stack? Meaning, I’ll have to live outside of the US for 4 years before I can convert to H1 visa, instead of 2 years? Thanks!

    • The 2-year rule is not cumulative; you need to reside in your home country for 2 years before you can change status to H.

      • Hi Mario Janssen!

        Speaking of two J-1 programs (masters and physician) with 2YHRR…

        Do I have to do 2 separate J-1 waivers for each of 2 programs, which both have 2-year home residency requirement?

        I finished the first one, which was sponsored by US government (masters degree) and went back to Russia for 6 months only. Then, I came back for another more advanced program with 2-year home residency rule.

        Now, I am finishing the second program – (medical residency) and planning to apply for Conrad 30 program and work as a physician in medically underserved areas.

        Do I have get another waiver apart from Conrad for my former J-1 program or one waiver should be enough? Is it really possible to get 2 waivers?

        Tough question!

        Thank you so much!

        • Hello Art, unfortunately, I am not familiar with the exact rules of the waiver program. I recommend reaching out to an attorney.

  • Alexandro
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario Janssen,
    I obtained J-1 visa for trainee program in USA with 212(e) rule in my passport.
    In the same time in my DS form mention that i m not subject for 2 year requirement.
    Can it be mistake?
    My program should be completed after 9 months but in DS form written that it can be extended up to 18 months.Can I extend my j-1 visa or get new one after i complete 9 months with company approval without getting another 2 years to my passport?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Hello Alexandro,

      The visa in your passport is only needed to enter the US. Once you are here, you can stay until you reach the program end date on form DS-2019. If your program sponsor extends the program, they will process a new Form DS-2019 for you. Remember, only the sponsor can extend the program (not the host company). As long as you do not leave the US, you will be able to stay until the program end date on the new DS-2019. Should you need to leave the US after your J1 passport visa expires, you will need to go back to the US consulate to apply for a new visa.

      Good luck,
      Mario

  • Paolo
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario, I am a specialist in Surgery (all done with residency and training..) and I am planning 2 projects in the US. In order to best plan it, I would like to have your advice (I am from Italy):
    I should receive a J1 for the first project which is a 6 months research in a University in the US, from Oct 2012 to March 2013.
    I will start a 1 year of further surgical training in another Universty on June/July 2013, this position will provide me a J1 VISA.

    My question is:
    – do I need to wait 2 years after the first VISA and, thus, not be able to apply for the second one?
    – is it true that a “short term” J1 {less than 6 months} does not apply by definition the 2 years rule?

    thank you for your time in considering my questions

    • Hello Paolo,

      212(e) only applies if someone is on a J visa and would like to change status to an H, L or K visa (or LPR status). So even if the consular officer checkmarks “212(e) applies” on your form I-20 or DS-2019, you will still be able to do both programs.

      There are various reasons why 212(e) may apply, ie when the US government or your home country government paid for part of your program. The length of program often does not play a role.

  • kadie
    5 years ago

    Hello Mario,

    i got approved for a J1 visa while doing my first degree in which i spent four months in the States on the summer work travel program. i am now pursuing a second degree – full time, do i qualify for a second J1 visa?

    • Hello Kadie, you should have no problem obtaining another J-1 visa. You could apply for another Summer Work Travel program or a 12-month Intern program.

  • Hi Mario,

    I have done an internship on J-1 in the period Jan 2011-June 2011 and I am subject to the two year rule. I would like to work in the US after I finishes my two years outside US. However, I would like to visit US for some weeks as a tourist, Will this effect my two years HRR?
    Will I still be able to apply for immigrant visa such as H in June 2013?

    Thank you in advance

    Ps. I have the Dutch citizenship

    • Short term entries on B status should not affect the 2 year residency requirement. You should be able to apply for an H visa in June 2013.

  • Hello, I obtained a J1 visa for a program which expired and was completed the 21 January 2011. During that time i was enrolled in university, however now i have completed it. i was originally supposed to work in rooms division but transferred to operations i.e attractions at a theme park within the same company. Two year residence does not apply.

    Can i obtain another J1 visa to participate in another internship in the rooms division now (will this qualify as duplication of experience)or do i have to wait 2 years?

    • Mel, you can start another Intern program within 1 year of graduation. You cannot duplicate experience. When you changed from rooms to attractions, your J-1 sponsor should have amended the program (executed a new DS-7002 and possibly issued a new DS-2019). In this case, you should be able to participate in a rooms program.

  • Hello!
    I am a research scholar on J-1 with a 2-year restriction. I will be back to Italy soon to finish my PhD program back there. My visa expires by September.
    After I graduate, I may want to apply for a postdoc position or work in a lab in the US, sponsored by the US (not Italy) this time. Do I have to wait 2 years to get another J-1 or a work visa?
    If yes, can I go around this rule by applying with the passport of my second country of residence and citizenship (different from Italy)?
    Thank you!

    • Ana, 212(e) only comes into play when you are interested in applying for an H, L or K visa. You can apply for another J-1 visa after graduation, even if you are subject to 212(e).

  • Jugajyoti
    5 years ago

    Hi

    I was a Student Intern on J1 at the U.S from January 24th, 2011 to June 30th, 2011 ( 5 months and 6 days). After completion I returned to my home country. So Can I apply for that waiver?

    Recently I might have a prospect of going back on a J1 again. So I have few queries
    1. Since I was a Student Intern who stayed for less than 6 months, I guess I am eligible for repeat participation. Is it so?
    2. If yes and I get a second J1 visa with the 2 year residency requirement again, will it be like I will have a 2+2 year total physical residency requirement because of the earlier and this current visa?
    3. Or if I the second prospect doesnt happen and I stay in my home country until June 2013, it does implies that I have completed my requirement?

    Please let me know

    Thanks

  • korina gomez
    5 years ago

    Hi,

    im doing an internship for 1 year with a j1 visa, and is gonna finish in octb 25th 2012 i have 2 very important questions and i really need help;

    i meet my bf here and i dont wanna leave him i wanna now what alternatives i have to stay here with him, my 212 (E) does apply could you please explain that for me?

    my other question is, i know all the interns with j1 visa have a 30 days for tourism, my visa expires octb 25th 2012 and my contract too, should i stay untill nov 25th 2012 even when i know that my visa expires on octb 25th?? what can i do?

    thank u very much, i apretiate your help.

    • Hello Korina,

      You are authorized to stay in the US 30 days beyond your program end date (check your form DS-2019 for the exact end date). Keep in mind that you are entitled to the 30 day grace period only if you successfully complete the program. Make sure to leave to US on time. Overstaying your visa will jeopardize future entries into the US. Best of luck.

  • Angel
    5 years ago

    Hello Mr Mario,

    Im Angel from Malaysia, currently in USA as an au pair with J1 visa subjected for 2 years home residency. I’m currently doing my degree in Psychology. My problem is my visa will expire before I could complete my degree, am I allowed for a waiver? and is it okay if I took part in DV green card lottery while in this program? thank you..

    • Hello Angel, the visa in your passport is needed to enter the US only. You should look at the program end date on your form DS-2019 or I-20. If you successfully complete your program, you are authorized to stay in the US 30 beyond that end date. If you need to leave the US temporarily before the end date and your passport visa has expired, you must return to the US consulate to obtain a new visa. Remember to have your sponsor validate your DS-2019 for travel before leaving the US. You can enter the DV lottery at any time. Good luck.

  • ignacio
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I am going to study a 2 year mba program in the usa. My wife is planning to do an exhange program for six months at the same time. The issue is that I will be on an F1 and she will be given a J1 visa. The fact that she will be for six months on a J1 and will after that need to switch to an F2 and eventually to an H if we decide to stay in the us worries me a lot. How probable is for her to get a waiver in case she needs to swirch to an H4 in case I get an H and we decide to stay in the u.s. She is not sponsored and I was told at the argentine embassy in washington that they usually issue a letter for the waiver. Do you think is hard to get a waiver in this case????

    Thanks for your help!!!!!

    • Ignacio, it is not uncommon to switch from a J to a dependent F or H. I would also be encouraged by the opinion that the Embassy gave you. It sounds like an exciting 2 years for you. Best of luck!

  • Radik
    5 years ago

    Hello Mr Mario,
    Im Radik from Russia, have defended my thesis work and have successfully participated twice in w&t programs. what are my approx chances to get 2 year rule if i decide to participate in internship usa program? thank you

    • Hello Radik. Application of 212(e) is at the discretion of a consular officer and depends on various factors. Even if 212(e) applies, there is always the option to apply for a waiver.

  • Madhu Maheshwari
    5 years ago

    Hello Mr Mario,

    I am Madhu Maheshwari, I was in USA on a exchange program on J-1 visa. I returned back to home immediately after completion of Program, it is about 6 months my J-1 Visa had expired. I want to ask you that Can I now apply for B1/B2 or F-1 visa, or do I need to complete two year home residency requirement before I apply for B1/B2 or F1 Visa?

    • 212(e) does not apply to an F1 or B1/B1, so you can apply for either visa without a waiver. Good luck.

      • Madhu Maheshwari
        5 years ago

        Can you please tell me on what type of VISA this 212(e) rule is applicable?

        Thanks

  • sushil
    5 years ago

    Hello Mr Mario,

    I have a query regarding my J1 program. I traveled to US in 2009 for 1 year on J1-visa. I completed 11 months and then I have to returned back to my home country. Before leaving I told my sponsors to close my program and they informed me they did so for the date I left.
    After reaching my country I got a research positions from a University in USA but for my work I have to stationed in Europe from the day 1 till end of my contract. For last 2 years I am in Europe.
    Now my question is could I go to USA with H or B visa? Do I need to apply for J1-wavier in this case? ( At the time I traveled to USA in 2009 my DS form had the box checked for 2year residency).

    Thanks
    regards, sushil

    • Dear Sushil, once you have been outside the US for 2 years, you can apply for an H visa.

      Best regards,
      Mario

      • sushil
        5 years ago

        Dear Mr. Mario,

        Thanks a lot for clearing my doubts.

        I was mainly concerned that I am working in Europe but on behalf of a US University even though I never traveled to US for last 2 years.

        Thanks once again.

        best regards,
        sushil

  • Isabel
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,
    I was under a J1 Fulbright scholarship studying in the US for two years. My J1 Visa expired by August 31st 2011. Nevertheless, I left the US and went back to my home country by August 14th 2011.
    I’m marrying a H1B visa holder, who will be transfered to a third country (not my country) by February 2013 for a period of one year. By that time, I will be missing 6 months of HRR in my home country. My question is,
    If I move with my future husband out of the US, will the two years be considered as fulfilled by August 2013 even if I didn’t spend the last 6 months at my home country?
    I should also mention that my future husband is starting his residence process in the US and we would need to go back after I fulfill my HRR and/or after his transfer to the third country.
    Regards,
    Isabel.

    • Isabel, you should be fine in Aug 2013, as you will have resided outside the US for 2 years. However, I would check with the immigration attorney who processed your husband’s H visa, just to be sure.

  • karan
    5 years ago

    I was in US for 4 months in 2010 on Summer work/travel. My j-1 Visa says section 212e does not apply to me and on the lower left side of my DS form also has been ticked with not subject to 2 years restriction.
    So i need to know if i’m still subject to 2 years bar.

    • Karan, you are not subject to 212(e). In addition, the repeat participation rule of the J-1 only applies to previous J-1 Trainee or Intern visas, not J-1 SWT. You should be eligible for participation in a J-1 Trainee or Intern program.

      • karan
        5 years ago

        Dear Mario, I’m not applying for trainee or intern program but I am married to US citizen of which i have a CR-1 interview next month in July. As you said i’m not subject to 212(e) so, does that mean i wont have any issue at the time of interview.

  • Esther
    5 years ago

    Hello Mario.
    I was a German au pair in the States from 2009 til 2010 and met my boyfriend here. we are now married and want to apply for the green card but here’s the issue:

    Since I came in on a J1-Visa I am not sure whether or not the 2 year rule applies in this case, considering the fact that I was an au pair and did not get sponsored or financially supported by the government in any way. I looked around on the internet and found different sources stating that the 2 year rule does not apply on au pairs.

    What is your opinion? Will we be facing any problem during the application process?

    Thank you so much for your help, it’ll be highly appreciated!!

    • Hallo Esther,

      Best thing to do is check the J-1 visa in your passport. There should be a statement on the visa “Bearer (not) subject to 212(e). Good luck.

      • Esthela
        4 years ago

        Hello, Mario , I have my passport with the visa J1 but I lost my DS 2019 not subject 212 z I married , I want adjust status

        • Hello Esthela. The passport visa overrides the DS-2019. If your passport visa states “Bearer subject to 212(e)”, then 212(e) applies. The DS-2019 contains only a preliminary opinion.

  • I m Indian, applied USA visa from Frankfurt (Germany) because I was working in Germany as a postdoc fellow, I got J-1 visa for 3 years (two year rules doesn’t apply) visa valid till Jan 2013 and moved to USA and I stayed there only one year and moved out from USA to UAE. Again my Professor received funding from US DOE for three years and he asked me to come back. Current situation is I have completed 18 months out side USA but in UAE not in my home country India.
    My humble request is kindly let me know I m eligible for J-1 visa again or not, if not what are the condition I need to full fill.
    Thanks in advance.

    • 212(e) only applies to L, K and H visas, not to J-1 visas. If you meet the J eligibility requirements, you should be fine.

  • Maria
    5 years ago

    Hi dear Mario Janssen

    I’m in a training program from may 2011 until October 2012, with visa J1 ,and I’m subject to the 2 years requirement.
    I would like to know what are the possibilities to extend or to keep working with the same company, without staying in my country for two years.
    Thanks

    • Hello Maria,

      The J-1 visa cannot be extended beyond 18 months. More importantly, the J-1 visa is not a work visa. As part of your application for the J-1 visa, you have agreed to return home upon completion of the program.

  • Maria
    5 years ago

    Can I change my visa then to F1 or am I allowed for a waiver ?
    Thank you so much for your help!

  • You should be able to apply for an F-1 visa, but check with the school to make sure they can sponsor you.

  • Hi,

    Been offered 18 month J1 trainee visa, unsure if Section 212(e) will be added to that.

    Questions i have, how do i find out beforehand if i will be subject to that section, and if i am not , what is the process of changing status to K status, would i still need to leave the country ?

    • Bob, there is no way for sure to determine if 212(e) will apply. The consular officer will make that determination. As part of your J program, you must agree to leave the U.S. upon completion of the program.

  • Khaled Diab
    5 years ago

    Dear Mr. Janssen,

    I have a question, I understand that the two year residency requirement for J-1 does not apply to people wanting to apply to get an F-1 visa from their country. Yet, my question is my gf was initially in USA on a J-1 visa (summer work travel) she returned home for a year and then came back again on a J-1 visa yet as an exchange student for a whole year with a two year residency requirement. At the end of her year she returned home again for a whole year. Now she is back in usa on a J-1 visa and she had previously applied to an american school and just heard back about her acceptance. She will be an international student and hence on an F-1 will the school have any trouble switching her status from J-1 to F-1 when they accept her? or will she need to go home again? I appreciate your help and I hope I did not confuse you.
    Thanks,
    Khaled

    • Hello Khaled, she should not have an issue obtaining the F-1 visa, but she should check with the school nonetheless. If they confirm that there are no issues, she should then contact the sponsor of her J program and inform them of her situation.

  • Tinka
    5 years ago

    Hello Mario
    I went to US with an au pair visa two month ago, the visa said it will not expire untill 2013.
    But I have to come back home the last week, because I have some thing to do in my home country.
    So my program and sevis fee has ended.
    Now I’m in China and decide to change an agency then apply for a new au pair visa, do I have to waiver the former J-1 visa?
    Does former visa have any influence for me to apply the new one?

    • Tinka, you should have no problem applying for another au-pair visa. No waiver of 212(e) is needed as it only applies to H, K and L visas. Good luck.

  • Zahraa Amer
    5 years ago

    Thank you very much for your informative blog.
    I am receiving a grant from the USAID for a masters program, and will be on a J1 visa, I was wondering if I can extend my visa for 3 more years if I got accepted in a PhD program while I am there.

    • The university would most likely issue a new visa for you, either a J or an F. Best of luck.

  • Elisa
    5 years ago

    Hello Mario,
    I am on a J1 visa with the 2 year rule. I will be returning in my country this summer but plan to apply for a resident visa in two years to go back to the US. I know I can come back to the US on a tourist visa during these two years but would the period of time I spend in the US while a tourist extend the time I need to spend in home country to fulfill the 2 year residency requirement? Or is it two years of not applying to an immigrant visa that count?
    Thanks for your help

    • Elisa, as long as you are resident outside the U.S. for 2 years, you should be fine and the brief tourist stays should not extend the 2 year period.

  • divya
    5 years ago

    I am in US currently under J-1 visa for two months till july 2012 end and I am bearer of 2 year rule. i ll go back to my home country india by this july.I am interested to apply for another project for 6 months next year jan 2013- may 2013. Is it possible for me to come back here through J-1 or any another visa. The project guide is ready to fund me.

  • Emily
    5 years ago

    hi

    I’ve been accepted onto a graduate programme in public relations with a duration of 12 months. I’ve applied for my J1 visa. My question is, providing the J1 visa is accepted, if the company wants me to continue on after the 12 months, would they be able to sponsor me to change to a H visa avoiding the 2 year rule? Or would I have no choice but to leave the USA for 2 years and just hope that they are willing to sponsor me two years down the line?

    Thanks

    • Emily, part of your obligation under the J program is to return home after completion of your J-1 program. If you are looking to stay/work in the U.S., you should apply for an H visa, rather than a J visa.

  • Amelia
    5 years ago

    Hello,

    I got the tourist visa last month and now I’m thinking to apply for an Internship or Trainee program (J1 visa) (which will take around 3 months to process everything). Can I hold 2 visas in the same time or do I need to cancel the tourist visa first?

    In addition, If I get the J-1 visa.. can I travel outside the USA?

    Many thanks

  • Amelia
    5 years ago

    Hello,
    I got the tourist visa last month and now I’m thinking to apply for an Internship or Trainee program (J1 visa) (which will take around 3 months to process everything). Can I hold 2 visas in the same time or do I need to cancel the tourist visa first?
    In addition, If I get the J-1 visa.. can I travel outside the USA?
    Many thanks

    • Amelia, you could start the application process for the J visa while you are in the U.S., but most sponsors require that you return home and apply for the J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate in your home country. There is no need to cancel the B1/B2 tourist visa. Once you are in the U.S. on a J-1 visa, you are allowed to leave the U.S. for short trips after you receive travel validation from your sponsor.

  • Tariq Ghazal
    5 years ago

    I am on a j1 visa and doing my master’s degree in the US and sponsored by government, Iraq. I am planning to get back to my country after the end of my program in May, 2013. Could I apply for a PhD program and come back to the US before the end of the 2 years? Thank you so much

    • Tariq, you should be able to apply for a visa to study a PhD program after you complete your current program. To be sure, check with your current sponsor/university.

  • Hi,

    I am Vina from Indonesia. I got my J-1 visa last month in Taiwan since I am a student in Taiwan and will participate in student exchange program. I wanna ask you if the travel grace period also applies to participants who are subject to 212(e). Can I fulfill the two-year home-country physical presence requirement outside my home-country? In my case, I wanna continue my master degree in Taiwan and plan to look for a job in USA after graduate from master degree. Many thanks.

    • Hello Vina. Yes, you are entitled to the 30-day grace period upon successful completion of your program. 212(e) does not matter. In order to qualify for an H, L or K visa, you must reside outside the US for 2 year. Good luck.

      • Joan L. Nicholson
        5 years ago

        Hi, can you please clarify this point you make in your reply:
        > in order to qualify for an H, L or K visa, yiu must reside outside the US for two years.

        Does this mean that it is not necessary to spend the 2 requred residency years within the home country?

        Thanks, best,
        Joan

  • My son went to summer camp in the USA this year on a J1 visa. He terminated early because the role at camp was unsuitable and returned to the UK. He want to return to the USA n August to holiday with some friends he made at camp. Can he now apply for a entry to the USA under Visa Waiver Programme (ESTA) and if so does he state that he had a previous visa cancelled?

    • Kate, I am sorry to hear your son had to terminate his J program. He should be able to return to the U.S. under ESTA without any issues. The canceled J-1 has no adverse effect on future entry (unless it was terminated for cause, which it sounds was not the case).

  • karthik ragunathan
    5 years ago

    hi
    i am a medical graduate from india and planning to apply for residency in US next year. I am planning to apply for a research appointment at a US hospital on a short term J-Visa for less than 6 months from november 2012 to april 2013. my question is will i be subject to 2 year HRR?

    I am planning to join a residency program on a H1B visa from july 2013. will the present J-visa affect my chances of joining a residency next year?

    • Karthik, a consular officer will determine if 212(e) will apply to your case. Even is 212(e) applies, it has no impact on additional J1 visas. I will have an impact on H, L or K petitions.

  • Davide
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I would like to understand better the following situation. I am a Ph.D. student in Italy at the University of Milan. I come to USA for 1 year to work on my Ph.D. thesis under the supervision of a Professor that works at the University of Utah. I am not enrolled in classes or courses, I am just visiting my professor that is assisting my research. I get a J1 Visa for Exchange Visitor. I am fully and only founded by the University of Milan, that pays my fellowship (that I would receive also if I stayed in Italy) plus an increment of 50% for my staying outside of Italy (that I would receive if I visited in any other country).
    Basically, no money are given to me specifically for the Exchance program with USA. Should I be subject to the Two Years Requirement?

    Thank you,

    • Ciao Davide,

      It is hard to say. Usually 212(e) applies if any government funding was used to pay for the program, either from the U.S. or the foreign government. Since the Italian government likely subsidizes your studies, 212(e) may apply. But keep in mind that 212(e) only has bearing on future applications for H, K and L visas. Moreover, even if you anticipate needing an H, K or L visa within 2 years, you can always apply for a waiver.

      • Davide
        5 years ago

        Thank you for your answer. I asked you the question based on some research that I did online. In particular based on what I found at the following link:

        http://www.visaservices.duke.edu/J1Waiver212e.html

        I report the paragraph of interest:”If you are marked subject based on the Exchange Visitor Skills List or government funding, there may be additional facts that show the consular or immigration determination to be incorrect. For example, a government scholarship or fellowship that could have been used inside the home country or in any other country, and that was not given specifically for the Exchange Visitor Program may not constitute “government funding” for the purpose of making you subject to 212(e).”

        Thank you so much for your answer and for your time.

  • Devika Agarwal
    5 years ago

    Hi,

    I have a problem…
    I went to the US for a 12 month exchange program (non government funded) on a J1 visa but was given a 2year rule to return to my home country (India). I came back to Singapore, have been working here since (5 years) and now about to take up Singapore citizenship.

    What happens to my 2year rule on my J1 visa obtained 5 years ago on Indian passport?

    What if I want to get a work visa in the future on my Singapore passport?

    • Devika, the U.S. government keeps track of your 2 years outside the U.S. via their database systems. If you ever need to apply for an H, K or L visa, they will know that you resided outside the U.S. for 2+ years.

  • Karla
    5 years ago

    Hi, I came to US with J1 visa subject 2 years rule. I would like to know if I can visit US using my B1-B2 visa. How long may I stay and at the same time do not prejudice my status to int he future get a permanent visa.

    • Hello Karla. Yes, you may visit the U.S. on B1/B2 status without problems. A consular officer and/or port of entry officer will determine the length of your tourist visa.

  • Sinem
    5 years ago

    Hi,

    I was a Fulbright scholar during my master’s degree in US, and I have been pursuing my PhD here with my school’s financial support. I will be done with my PhD next year, and the international student advisor told me that my J1 visa lets me to do academic training in US for 36 months before going back to my country.

    I was curious if I can count my visits to home country during my academic training towards the 2-year requirement. (Also I would like to know if there is a way to count my past visits during my master’s and PhD.)

    Thanks so much for your help. (I am sorry if someone else asked this question before, I couldn’t read all the posts).

    Sinem

    • Hello Sinem, 212(e) requires that you reside outside the US for 2 years. Trips outside the US while you are considered a US resident will not count. Does that answer your question? Best regards.

  • Boetang
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario. I completed my four month programme on a J1 Visa and am bound by the “Two Year Rule.” But can I still visit the US on a tourist visa before the two years are up?

    • Absolutely. You should have no problem visiting the US during the 2 year time frame. Also remember that 212(e) only applies to H, L and K visas. So, if you were to apply for another J visa, or an F student visa, you should have no issues.

  • David
    5 years ago

    Hi,
    Just a quick question. Im an Australian winemaker, and have worked in the USA twice on J1 visas, in 2008 & 2010. The second one i got was within 18 months of my first one expiring. Is there a different rule for Australian or the wine industry.
    My last visa expired in Dec 2010, so when will i be eligible?
    If i have to wait the two years, can I apply for an E-3 visa instead. I have been offered a full-time position within the industry, hence need a bit of guidance.
    Cheers

  • Ester
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario:

    I am writing you in order to ask for some piece of advise regarding my non inmigrant visa status. I am enyojing  a J1 visa ( intern ) after my studies since 19th september to 19th september this year. This is a visa that i got due to a Spanish grant, so it carries the “TWO YEARS RULE”. My major is in Arquitecture and i have been working here like an illustrator because of my artistic skills.

    At this moment there is a institution interested in sponsoring a new J1 for me (unfortunately they cannot afford hiring right now)  so that I could stay working with them doing all kind of graphic design tasks. I would start there once I would have finished the contract and my J1 period at my current company. The new job would make me improve my skills and would involve tasks really challenging for me.

    Therefore, I have a lot of questions about this matter.
    Is it possible to get the waiver to avoid the two years rule with this proposal for another J1 visa with the cultural institution?
    Could i start with the second visa when i finish my first one or i have to wait some months?
    I am also be interested in improving my English or studying some courses at University, does this two years rule apply also to get the F1 (student) or can i get this visa without the waiver?
    There is any other way i could work with this cultural institution without having a J1 visa.

    Thank you for your attention and your help

    • Hello Ester,

      Once your current program expires, you are expected to go back to your home country. The intention of the J program is for Interns and Trainees from all over the world to come over to the U.S. for a limited amount of time, and then return home. It is not intended for prolonged or long term stay. That said, you can apply for a waiver. Please see this post for an explanation on participation in additional programs. You should be able to attend university on an F visa without a waiver. Hope that answers your questions 🙂

  • Marlene
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario, thank you for having such a great blog with helpful information. My question(s) are: I have two different internships in Silicon Valley (for different companies). The first one will start in Aug-Sept 2012 and end in late December 2012 (depending on when I can get my visa) the second will start January 5th-July 5th 2013. Is it possible to have ONE J1 Visa for both internships? Or will I have to go back to Norway in between the two internships? I appreciate you help!
    Thanks

    • You should only need one J-1 visa. Explain to your sponsor that you will participate in 2 internships at 2 different companies. They will be able to process a transfer of “site of activity”. Your sponsor may charge for the transfer, but at least you do not have to return home 🙂

  • Marlene
    5 years ago

    Thank you so much, thats great news:)

  • Andrea
    5 years ago

    Hi I’m doing all the bureacracy to obtain my J-1 Visa for writing my M.Sc thesis in an US university. I’m fully self funded for that. My exchange will be from september/October 2012 to august next year. I come from an EU country where the 2 year rules doesn’t apply.
    My question is: after i finish my Exchange Program I will come back to my home country to have my M.Sc degree,
    After I obtaind it, can I aplly for another visa, J or F to do my PhD with the same sponsor?

    • Hi Andrea. Yes, you should be able to obtain another J or F visa without any issues.

      • Andrea
        5 years ago

        thank you for your answer, i have just another question about filling my DS2019 form:
        question number 11 say:
        If you will stay beyond 6 months (that is my program), do you plan to
        return to * within 2 years of your departure? what should I answer Yes(i would do my PhD there) or Not?

  • Essan
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario, Good job you are doing here. I have a J1 visa from a third country ( where am studying for a masters’ degree) for a summer work in a US university as part of my thesis. My visa says 2years rule does apply. While in here (Am still in the University in US), I got some fantastic interest to pursue PhD and I plan to start next year January/February,The J1 is valid till December, but I will definitely return to the third country before October.
    Now my question is am I eligible for F1 visa if I want to come back to pursue PhD by January next year? I also heard that I can observe the 2yrs rule in piecemeal, which means I don’t have to necessarily observe 2yrs stay residence( or an once) at a stretch before coming back to the state. How true is this? And what is your general opinion. My university which sponsored by summer trip, will definitely also sponsor my PhD and I have a bond to come back to work for them.I think this should make cancelling the 2year rule easily. Please advice.

    • Essan, you should be fine to apply for an F, as 212(e) only applies to H, L and K visas. Good luck!

  • anthony saria
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario, my situation is I was on a j1visa last may 2008 on a basic rooms division training. I was on a 2 yr rule so I applied for a waiver for 2 yr rule and got approved, however since my j1 ended may 2009 I have to go back home for 6 months while my h1b visa is in process. I came back to the states on h1b visa on Oct. 2009 as F&B manager, by feb. 2011 I went back home because company decided not to continue my sponsorship. Now I am planning to get a 2nd j1 visa for an advance training in ROOMS DIVISION MANAGEMENT,
    1.)does it make a conflict with my H1b visa even my position is F&B manager and not in the rooms division department?
    2.) Is my 6 months back in my country while waiting for my h1b visa count on the 2 yr residency? since I came back feb 2011 on Sept. this yr it will be my 1yr and 7 months in the country.

    Thank you

    • Anthony, the J-1 visa is for cultural and educational exchange purposes. It allows qualified individuals from all over the world to come over to the U.S. and “experience American life and culture” and to learn American techniques, methodologies. After having had a J-1 and an H1B visa, it will be hard to justify that you need additional exposure to the U.S. and additional training in the U.S.

      • anthony saria
        5 years ago

        Thank you. The training that i will request for my 2nd j1 visa is for a front office manager or manager in training program so it will be advance training compared to my previous one. My intention is to gain a more advance management training in rooms division.

  • Lukasz
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I couldn’t read all the comments so I hope my question hasn’t been asked yet.

    I want to do an internship in the US in a buisness related filed, like finance, accounting, managements etc. Is this kind of internship subject to the “two year rule”?

    The conditions for the “two year rule” say something about speciall skills that my home country considers essential to its development. I don’t know what that means. Does my internship fall into this category of skills?

    Thank you in advance

    • Hello Lukasz, whether 212(e) applies or not depends on various factors. It is not so much the program (in your case finance, accounting), but whether the program was (partially) funded by the U.S. or foreign government or if the skills are deemed necessary in your home country. A consular officer will determine if 212(e) applies once you go there and apply for the passport visa.

      • Lukasz
        5 years ago

        Thank you for your reply. It would be an internship sponsored only by a company and not by a government.

        Also, does the two year rule apply only for people who go for the internship for the maximum length of time or for any length time? I mean, I would go for 3-6 months. Would that also require me to come back for two years?

  • Roger
    5 years ago

    I was in the US for 1 years under J1 visa (2 year does apply) for a scholarship from the US government.

    However, 1 month ago, the US government terminated my scholarship but I just got accepted to a another school in the US with a new I-20. I came back to my home country and applied for a F1 visa and received it.

    On my old visa J1 now has been marked as “cancelled without prejudice”, while my new visa F1 does NOT have the line “2 year does apply” on it. Do I still be subject to 212(e)?

    Please help!!! Thank you very much!!!

    • Hello Roger. Remember, 212(e) only applies if you are interested in obtaining an H, L or K visa (or LPR status). So you are fine on your F1. Best of luck!

  • Kriszti
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I was in the States for 2 years +30 days with a J1 au pair visa, I came back 24th May 2012. I’m from an EU country, and my question is: Can I apply for a J1 trainee visa now if I know a company who would give me a trainee job? Or do I have to wait 2 years?

    Thanks for you answer,

    Kriszti

    • Hello Kriszti, you can apply now. The J-1 visa sponsor will be able to explain the requirements of the Trainee category of the J-1 visa. Good luck!

  • Andrea
    5 years ago

    Hi, I am having a J1 visa and subject to 212E, 2 year does apply… can I extend my J1 visa for J1 18 months? Thanks, Andrea

    • Andrea, there is an option to extend your visa. You should check with your current sponsor to see if and how your current J-1 visa can be extended.

  • Hi Mario,

    I had an F1 visa on my passport. I came back to my country on February 2011. Can i apply for the J1 visa? Does the 2 years rule apply to people with F1 visas as well?

    Thank you
    Mek

    • Mek, yes, you can apply for a J visa (212(e) only applies to H, K, L and LPR petitions). However, in order to qualify for the J-1 Trainee visa, you must have a degree from a school outside the U.S. The J-1 visa sponsor that you will apply with can verify if you qualify.

  • Andrea
    5 years ago

    Mario I appreciate your answer, thanks a lot!!! Also: I did check with my current sponsor and he told me that they can try to do a j1 18 months. Is that possible? what is my next step? to talk to ccusa and start the j1 18? do you know the reuquirements?
    Thanks again, Regards, Andrea

  • Yes, 18 months may be possible. It is the max duration for a Trainee program 🙂

  • yasir
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario. I recently got a research fellowship for 1 year at Massachusetts General Hospital starting from sept 2012 through Aug 2013. I got my J1 visa for 1 year, however, am subjected to 212(e) requirement. My questions are
    1. If I want to continue as a research fellow after completion of my 1 year fellowship, do I have to return Back to my home country for 2 years? Can I Extend my DS 2019 form for another research fellowship at the same hospital?
    2. I will also like to do Residency In US. Can I continue on the same J1 visa?

  • Astrid Rivera
    5 years ago

    Hi, Mario

    I came to the US with a j1 visa as Aupair that expire in Dec. 2012. I have also the two year does apply rule. I would like to stay and study in a TOEFL course and be ready to go to college as well. What can I do?? I heard about waiver, what does it means? What kind of visa should I apply to do the english course?

    Kind Regards, Astrid

    • Hello Astrid. It is important that you leave the U.S. upon completion of your program. Once you return to your home country, you can look into studying at a U.S. college. The U.S. college will provide the necessary visa (most likely an F or J). You would not have to wait 2 years, as 212(e) only applies to H, L and K visas.

  • yasir
    5 years ago

    Thanks a lot for your reply.

  • Hello, I was an exchange student in America for the past 6 months this year from January to June on the J 1 visa. I have a two year home requirement but I am planning on gong back to America to study at a university (personal funding) during the fall off next year. Would that have possible? Or do I need to wait for the 2 years to be up before I can apply to return and study in America?
    Thank you.

    • Hello Joey, you don’t have to wait two years to return and study in the U.S. The two year rule 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. To study, you will likely need an F or J visa. Good luck to you.

  • Andrea
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario, as I understood the 2 year rule does not apply to j1. my husband wants to apply for f1 student visa – computers – can I also apply with him for the f2, if I have j1 and the 2 year rule does apply in my visa… or I can only extend my j1 for a j18? can I do this from USA, or I have to do it fro my home country? I am also double citizen – can I apply from my other country??? PLEASE answer all my questions, it is very important to me to understand what is my next step. Thank you in advance! Andrea

  • Prateek
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    Thanks for a very informative blog post. My country/skill falls under the 2-year-home-country requirement, but my spouse’s country does not.
    * If she is on a J2 visa (and I am on J1) Is she subject to the 2-year rule in my home country then? Can she apply for the Diversity Lottery while on J2?
    *If I decide to obtain permanent residency for a third country, where the 212(e) does not apply, do I still have to satisfy the 2-year requirement?

    Thanks for the information, I appreciate your time.

    • Hi Prateek, as the J-1, 212(e) remains in place, regardless of your spouse’s 212(e) ruling. I am not familiar with the DV lottery; unless there is an exception, you can both apply for the DV lottery at any time. In order to satisfy the requirements of 212(e), you have to reside outside the U.S. for 2 years – in your home country or elsewhere.

  • Hey Mario,

    Im currently half way through my J1 visa (March ’12 – March ’13) I’ve been offered a position with a company in my field but with only 6 months left on my visa they wont hire me unless I can extend/convert to H1B.

    My Visa says I am not subject to 212(e).

    What do I do? Can I convert my visa now or do I have to wait until my J1 is finished?

    Also, how do I get the paperwork to prove to my future employers that I can do all this?

    Thanks so much,

    D

    • Hello Dave. The purpose of the J program is for qualified individuals like yourself to be able to come over to the U.S. to experience American life, culture and gain U.S. skills. The intent is also to then return home and share your experience with people back home. The J program is not meant for work purposes or as a transition to another type of visa. You should return to your home country and continue your career there. Best of luck.

  • Supriyo Majumder
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    i would like to seek your suggestions on my situation-

    I earned a PhD in Chemistry from USA (2004 to 2009). After completing PhD I worked in USA as a research scholar in F1-OPT for 15 months and then took J1 visa and worked for further 2 months. After that in November 2011 I moved to Singapore (Not my home country) with a job. I’m an Indian citizen and falls under 2 year home country.

    I understand that I can go back to USA in November 2013 for another J1 program, but Can I enter in H1/H4 visa in November 2013 ? As, I’m in a third country (Singapore) do I qualify for H/L visa after staying 2 yrs in a third country?

    My second question-

    Can I start another J1 program now in a different field, eg, Chemical Engineering?

    Thanks for your help.

    regards,
    Supriyo

    • Hello Surpriyo, your are correct: if you left the U.S. in Nov 2011, you are eligible to participate in another J program in Nov 2013. At that time, you will also have satisfied the requirement of 212(e) (it does not matter that you lived in Singapore), so you could also apply for an H or L visa. From what you are writing, it seems like you could not do a J-1 Trainee program in chemical engineering, as the regulations require a degree from outside the U.S..

  • HI,
    I have a question about the j1-training program.
    I was on such a visa for 1 ad 1/2 years (2 years ago). Finally I finished my training 2 months earlier than I was supposed to. I am interested in applying again, for a new program. I have two questions:
    1. I know that training programs have a rule, that you can’t apply for 2 yrs for a new program. My training 2 years ago was ending in November 2010, but I left earlier in September 2010 back to my home country. Therefore, can the new training program begin in September, rather than November (what’s written on my previous visa stamp)?
    2. Is there a general rule that one is eligible for a training before turning 35? I will be turning 35 in December, does that mean I can’t apply, even though theoretically I begin my program before turning 35?
    Thank you!

    • Hello Mike, interesting situation since the regulations allow participants to participate in additional programs 2 years after they have “successfully” completed a program. Since you did not complete you program, you would not be eligible. There is no age limit for the J-1 visa.

  • Vasista
    5 years ago

    Hi,

    I am currently on J1 visa to US and at the bottom it mention Sec. 212(e) does not apply. Is it possible to change the visa type from US only (or) should I return back to my home country (India). Please guide me on this and how it works.

    • Vasista, the intention of the J program is for participants to return to their home country upon completion of the program. Once you return to India, you should continue your career there. Any future applications for visas to the U.S. can be processed from India.

  • a2222
    5 years ago

    Hi Tony,

    I came to the U.S. through the Fulbright program. So, I have J-1 with 2-year home residency requirement. I’m Syrian, so I changed my status to TPS (temporary protected Status). I have Employment Authorization Card as a result. I know that TPS status doesn’t prevent me from adjusting my status. My question:

    1- Now that I have TPS status, can I adjust my status to H1-B if the employer is willing to do so?

    2- Can I change my J-1 status to O if the employer is willing to?

    Thanks

  • Lewis
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario

    I am recent graduate from UK and have managed to secure an internship as a design engineer in the US. As there is a cap on the the number of intern visas at the moment I am having to apply for trainee j-1 visa.

    My question is will I be able to get a second j-1 visa as a trainee after the current if it is within the year after I have graduated? I ask as there is a possibility that another company is interested in having me aswell.

    Lewis

    • Hello Lewis. There is no cap on J visas. When you complete your J intern program, you must return to your home country for 2 years before you can apply for a J Trainee program. You cannot stay in the U.S. and change from a J Intern to a J Trainee program.

  • Thank you, Mario, I appreciate your answer!
    I actually left earlier with the employer’s approval, to start a business in my home – country, so we speeded the process by two months. I guess I could get a letter from the previous employer to vouch for that. And it will depend on the consular officer, I guess.
    Thanks!

  • One more question.
    I had a training J-1 visa until the end of 2010. After that I spent a few months last year in the States on my B visa, so I applied for a 212 E waiver. Now, I am trying to get a new J training visa, beginning with October. If the employer wants to offer me a job, on H visa, I can accept it, at the end of the training, provided that I apply for a waiver again. Is there a limitation – applying for a waiver in 2011(which was approved) and again in 2013?
    Thanks a bunch!
    Mike

  • Anand Mohan
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,
    I am looking for some information on J1 Visa. I am planning to come to the US by fall of 2012 for a 1 year training program with Caterpillar Inc. I will return to India by fall of 2013. I want to do a 1 year MBA in the USA immediately after this training. From your previous posts, I understood that the two year rule does not apply for my F1 Visa.

    My query is that once I complete my one year MBA in the USA by fall 2014 (The two year rule would be applicable till 2015 in my case) , will I be able to convert from my F1 status to H1 status or would the 2 year rule come into play?

    Thanks in advance,
    Anand

    • Hard to say as the determination will be made by a consular officer at the time when the F will be issued.

  • Alessio
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,
    I’m on a J1 since 2009. I got my DS2019 renew until 2014 before I applied to the waiver. I just got the waiver approved, but the VISA on my passport is expired, can I renew the VISA without have the 212(e) applied again?

    Thank you so much,
    Alessio

    • Alessio, the visa stamp in your passport is only used to enter the U.S.. The program end date is listed on your form DS-2019. You only need to renew the passport visa if you plan to travel outside the U.S.. 212(e) is completely separate; the waiver only applies to H, K and L visas. Best of luck.

  • Tinka
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,
    I am the former au pair who worried about the two year rule.
    And I saw :

    on 22 CFR 62.31 – Au pairs.

    “(p) Repeat participation. A foreign national who enters the United States as an au pair Exchange Visitor Program participant and who has successfully completed his or her program is eligible to participate again as an au pair participant, provided that he or she has resided outside the United States for at least two years following completion of his or her initial au pair program.”

    And I saw
    “Au pairs or companions who have successfully completed the program in the past, have resided outside of the U.S. for at least two years and are between 18 and 26 and a half, may return on the Au Pair in America program for a second time on a J-1 visa.”
    on au pair in america web site

    Ii it means apply for a new au pair visa need to waiver the two year?
    But I have not successfully completed my program and I am going to change the agency.

    Can I waiver it in China?

    Thank you!

  • Suvasree Mukherjee
    5 years ago

    I am on a J-i visa in US from May 2012.
    But for some reasons I would like to quit my present job and return to India.
    In the next two years I will be applicable for the two year rule in which I cannot re-enter US in a J-1 visa status.
    But my husband has a good chance of getting a postdoc position in US and will get a J-1 visa sometimes in 2013.
    Can I accompany him on a J-2 visa status then?

  • Valeshka Valdivia
    5 years ago

    My friend came to New Jersey in August 2000 as an Au-Pair with the J-1 Visa.
    She didn’t finish her program because she was mistreated by the kids, so she came to California and stayed here.
    Now after 12 years she met her future husband and they are going to get married. But someone told her that she will have to leave the country for 2 years. Is this true, is there anyway around it? like paying a fine or probably if she is in college or if she is in a depression treatment?
    I would really appreciated your help.
    Thank you

    • Valeshka, overstaying a visa is a serious offense. I advise to visit an immigration attorney to discuss the case.

  • Dear Mario,
    I have had TWO J1 visas subject to the 212(e) rule, (the 1st one: July-2-2088 to Aug 21-2008) (the 2nd one: Dec-15-2008 to July-15-2009).I am currently with a F1 VISA for my Masters in Food Science and HUman Nutrition and I am finishing my OPT. The company where I am currently developing my OPT wants to sponsor my H1B visa.

    My questions are:
    1. Do I have to ask waiver for my TWO J1 visas obtained in the past or only for teh last one?
    2. After J1 visa rule WAIVER aproved, Can I Apply to the H1B visa while I am still with F1 VISA (OPT)?
    Thanks

    DF

    • Dina, as part of the Department of State’s educational exchange program, you are expected to return home upon completion of the program. Best of luck continuing your career overseas.

  • Queenie
    5 years ago

    I have J-1 visa with the 2 year requirement applied. I was wondering if the amount of time I traveled and stayed in the U.S. to visit would extend the 2 year of residency in my home country?

    I appreciate all your help!

    Thank you!

    • You need to reside outside the U.S. for a minimum of 2 years. An occasional trip to the U.S. does not extend the 2 years.

  • Suvasree, you should not have a problem obtaining a J-2 when your husband applies for his postdoc in 2013. Good luck.

  • Abdul Samad Shabbir
    5 years ago

    Hey,
    I am in USA on a J1 visa working for 18 months. On my DS-2019, ”Not subject to a two year rule ” is ticked/marked. But on my visa NOTHING is written about a two year home residency rule. Does it mean that I am NOT subject to the two year home residency rule? Thanks in advance for helping 🙂
    Best Regards

  • pl tell me my visa till 8 june 2013 can i cum back to usa …my hotel has cancel my program can i cum back if my visa is valid 8 june 2013..and the two years rule does not apply ..pl reply me

    • If your host organization cancelled the program, you need to contact your sponsor. They may be able to transfer you to another host organization. Once you leave the U.S. you cannot return on J status, even though your passport visa is still valid.

  • Mario
    5 years ago

    Dear Mr. Jannsen,

    I am confused as to how the 212 rule works. The 2 years physical requirement to stay in Colombia and not to be back to the US is only as J1? Can I come back as a tourist? Student? H1B visa? What exactly does the 212 rule prohibit?

    Thank you so much!

    • Good question. If 212(e) applies, you cannot obtain an H, K or L visa. You can travel to the U.S. as a tourist (ie B1/B2 status), J or F student.

  • Hang V.
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I am in the US on a J1 and subject to a two-year home residency requirement. On my DS-2019 it says “student – nondegree” and “academic training” for 3 months. I am wondering if I am eligible for another J1 visa upon finishing this J1 in another category – J1 for specialist?

    Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.

    Hang V.

    • Hang, 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. You should be able to apply for another J visa.

  • Hi,
    I’m a teacher and was in the USA on a J1 visa (Teacher & scholar category) from 2008 to 2011. I’m subject to the 2-year home stay requirement and am currently back in Germany. The school I was employed with will have an opening as of January and I was wondering if I can reapply for a second J1 visa (same category, same program) to return to the US before the end of the 2 years? Or would I have to wait until completion of home stay requirement although I would not apply for an immigrant visa?

    Thank you.

    • 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. You could apply for another J visa. There are likely repeat participation rules for the Teacher/Scholar category. I recommend checking with the sponsor who issued you previous J1. Good luck.

  • Alecia Lee
    5 years ago

    Hello,
    I was a Fulbright in the US doing a master’s and the 2 year HRR applies. I have been working in my home country since and the rule should expire in May 2013. If I obtain a job offer from a US employer, when is the earliest I can apply for H visa? Thank you in advance.

    • You will be able to enter the U.S. on H status once you complete 2 years residency outside the U.S. The appropriate moment to apply for an H depends on the application processing times as well as availability of H visas. It would be good for you to check with an immigration attorney.

  • Serhat
    5 years ago

    Hello Mario,

    Thank you so much for having a blog like this.

    So İ got a ten-year multiple enterance B1/B2 visa on September 2010 and visited the US for a month. After a year, İ went back to the States holding a J1 visa and stayed there between September 2011 and June 2012. Do İ have to apply for the B1/B2 visa again, or is my visa still valid and İ can visit the US anytime İ want?

    Thank you so much!
    Serhat

    • Serhat, you can reenter the U.S. as long as the B1/B2 has not expired (there should be a date on the passport visa).

  • Ruben
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I have been working as an intern in the US for 6 months and obtained a J-1 Research Scholar visum. The two year bar on this visum should expire July 2013. It is also stated on my visum: Bearer is not subject to section 212(E) two year rule does not apply’. At this moment I got an offer to work in the US. As I understand I will have a 2-year bar on repeat participation on a J-1 Visum. However, would I be able to apply for a H-visum (e.g., H1B) given that I am not subject to section 212(E). The question is, does the 2 year bar still apply (until mid July 2013) if I apply for a different type of visum than the J-1 visum?

    Best,

    Ruben

    Catherine, if an exchange visitor’s form DS-2019 reads “Bearer not subject to section 212(e)”, it means that they can apply for an H, L or K visa, or immigrant lawful permanent resident (LPR) status without having to return to their home country for at least two-years. Remember that they would still have to reside outside the U.S. for 2 years if they would want to apply for another J-1 Trainee visa.

  • Ruben
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I have been working as an intern in the US for 6 months and obtained a J-1 Research Scholar visum. The two year bar on this visum should expire July 2013. It is also stated on my visum: Bearer is not subject to section 212(E) two year rule does not apply’. At this moment I got an offer to work in the US. As I understand I will have a 2-year bar on repeat participation on a J-1 Visum. However, would I be able to apply for a H-visum (e.g., H1B) given that I am not subject to section 212(E). The question is, does the 2 year bar still apply (until mid July 2013) if I apply for a different type of visum than the J-1 visum?

    Best,

    Ruben

    • Ruben, when your J-1 visa expires, the Department of State and your J-1 visa sponsor require that you return to your home country. Best of luck continuing your career in the Netherlands!

      • Ruben
        5 years ago

        This is however what I found in the net, seems to contradict with what you are telling:

        We understand that this new 24-month bar may cause some concern and have a negative impact on some of our J-1 Exchange Visitors. While the new regulations will cause many of our Exchange Visitors to become subject to the 24-month bar, there are other options available, one of which is the J-1 Short-Term Scholar category. UCAR can bring Exchange Visitors to the US in either the Research Scholar or the Short-Term Scholar category. The Short-Term Scholar category does not carry with it any bar on repeat participation. The Short-Term Scholar category allows an Exchange Visitor to come to the US for a maximum of six months per visit. Therefore, if a visitor is subject to the 24-month bar, they can still return to the US for a maximum of six months per visit in the Short-Term Scholar category. New J-1 exchange visitors can also utilize this option to avoid becoming subject to the 24-month bar in the future. It is highly recommended to utilize this category whenever possible. Furthermore, it is possible to enter the US on any other visa type that the foreign national is eligible for (for many of our non-support visitors, this could mean a B1 business visa). This 24-month bar is only on repeat participation as a J-1 “Research Scholar” or “Professor.”

  • Hi sir mario! I was a j-1 visa holder for a 1year internship program in the u.s. before and my visa was also subjected for 2 year rule. i flew to the states last April 16, 2010 and came back to my homecountry on April 11, 2011. My concerns are..

    1. Im assuming by this coming April 11 of 2013 which is next year i’m officially done with the two rule and could freely apply again for another type of visa?

    2. If your answer is yes, my another concern is about my employer whose gonna be sponsoring me for a working visa and he wants me to be in the u.s. on the same month (april 2013) next year which where my 2 year rule is no longer applies to me. Prior to the expiration of my visa can i already start working for my sponsorship process ahead of time or do i have to wait till my 2 year rule expires and wait for April 2013 to come before the processing?

    • Don, since this is a questions concerns an application for an H visa, it is best directed to an immigration attorney. Good luck.

  • Nikhil
    5 years ago

    Hi,

    I was on a J-1 visa for my summer (2012) internship at USC for 2 months. My visa read, “212(e) does NOT apply”. I am considering applying for a 6 month bachelor thesis in Spring 2013 at USC, again in same field: VLSI, Electronics Engineering. So, am I eligible for a J-1 visa or I need to fulfill the 2 year home country residence?
    Could I also enter on F-1 visa as a short -term student?

    Also, I plan to do my Masters/PhD in US in 2013 or 2014. I will need the F-1 visa to pursue my higher studies. So, if I take a F-1 visa for thesis now, instead of a J-1 (IF I am eligible for one), would it create trouble for getting a F-1 visa for higher studies later?

    • Nikhil, 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. You should have no problem applying for another J or an F visa.

  • Hi,

    My son recently married a young lady from China. She has paid for all of her college education out of pocket with no government assistance in China, however she has visited the US for the past two years on a J1 visa. Now that they are married she is trying to figure out how to stay in the US with her husband and not have to return to China for two years. Is this possible?

    • Wanda, this should be possible. I strongly recommend seeking legal advice though. Also, it is imperative that she not overstay her visa.

  • Thomas
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario

    I have a question about J1 to H1-B status. I will be entering the US on a 12 month internship visa (J1) soon, and intend to complete the 12 months. At the moment, I am unsure of whether I am subject to a 2 year foreign residency requirement. But my question lies in what happens afterwards, if say, I was to get sponsored. Will I be able to change the status of my visa to a H1-B (with the help of a waiver, if foreign residency applies) or what are my options?

    Thanks
    Thomas

    • Thomas, as part of the J program, the Department of State requires that you return to your home county upon completion of the program. Good luck with your program in the U.S.!

  • Karla
    5 years ago

    Hi Dr. Mario

    I am subject to 2 year HRR, during my internship program at US I knew my fiancee and we intend to get married soon. We are facing with the rule that I must go back to my country and stay at least two years. We were talking about if I can stay in my home country and visit US for two years until fulfill the requirement, So my question is how long I can stay in US using my tourism visa without compromise the residence requirement, and at future get my green card.many thanks

  • Silvia
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario. I have a quick question. I’m a Medical Doctor. I spent one year in USA (from february 2011 til february 2012) as a Research Scholar J1. I have in my DS2019 212(e) does apply (since i was founded by italian government). I went back to Italy in february 2012 to finish my residency program (neurology). I asked to US institution to extend my J1 until july because i wanted to come back to the US. I was not able to come back in july so they closed my program. Now i would like to apply for a postdoc position with a J1 program again. Is is possible? Do i have to stay in Italy for 2 years? Thanks!

    • Hi Silvia, you should be able to return on another J program without having to wait 2 years. Good luck!

  • venkat
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I am from India And doing my postdoc on J1 from April 2010 upto Nov2012. I applied for J1 waiver in advance and it will get by end of September or mid of October, and also I am planing to move another University.
    My Questions No 1- is should i continue in J1 ? or I should have to change to H or L . Q-2- Question this J1 waiver certificate is valid for another 2 years? or if i move another university,so i have to get waiver for this DS2019.
    Q-3-before DS2019 expires, i have to transfer to another University or even in the grace period also should i transfer ?

    Please help me in this regard
    Thanks

    • The rules for postdoc are a little different from the J-1 Trainee and Intern categories. It is best to check with your university. Best regards, Mario

  • Hi there!

    I graduated 2 years ago of my masters degree, I worked for 1 year in a very well known multinational company and then I’ve been 1 year in China learning chinese. My question is what kind of visas suits me best if I find a company that wants to hire me as an intern in the US for a determined period.
    Thank you very much

  • Daisy
    5 years ago

    Im an au pair (j1 visa) and in my passport says “bearer is not subject to section 212(e). Two year rule does not apply”. My boyfriend and I want to marry as soon as my year as an au pair ends. Do I have to go back to my country and stay outside the USA for 2 years? Or can I apply for a green card after the marriage?

    Thank you !!

    • Hello Daisy. As part of the J program, participants are expected to return home upon completion of their program. If you are not subject to 212(e), you can apply for a green card. Please be careful not to overstay your J-1 visa.

  • melly
    5 years ago

    hi, i have question regarding of my status over here. I came to usa as j1 summer work and travel program, its for 4months, however when im here i met my husband and get married with him. I am trying to apply for GC right now, but somehow i lost my DS2019 and i dont know if im subject to 212(e) or not, in my visa however it do say that “bearer is not subject to section 212(e)” i am trying to contact my sponsor, my agent but they all cant help me, somehow they throw away all the copy of the ds after the program finished. I am on schedule for green card interview right now and i dont know what to do. please give me some advice.

    • Melly, J-1 visa participants are expected to return home upon completion of their program. If you are not subject to 212(e), you can apply for a green card. Your passport visa should have a notation that states whether 212(e) applies. Just be careful not to overstay your J-1 visa.

  • Alan Brame
    5 years ago

    Hi I went to the USA on a J-1 visa as an exchange student. Things didnt work out and I came home early ( only in USA for 1 month) . I didnt notify the embassy or anything I just came back. I was wondering whether:

    1.Is the visa cancelled now and the 2 years start automatically from now.
    2. Because I came home does the 2 years still apply as I didnt spend the whole time there.
    3. Do I need to notify anyone in the embassy about the fact I’m in my home country and not in the USA so that if the 2 years does count it starts immediately and not in 11 months time when the visa expires.

    Thanks!

    • Alan, the 2 years start the moment you leave the U.S. and your sponsor terminates your program. Make sure that you inform your sponsor of your departure immediately. The 2 years still apply, even though you did not complete your program.

      • Alan Brame
        5 years ago

        Thanks, so is there any other way that I could study in the USA for a masters degree starting next september?

  • Beani
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I’m a J1 physician that is subject to the 2 year home requirement and currently in the grace period of 30 days. I was granted a waiver and was wondering if a switch to B1/B2 or J-1 extension may be granted at this stage?

    Unfortunately, I do not yet have all the requirements for my H1-B switch and felt if I applied for it they might reject it. Do you think I may be granted an extension of J-1 or would it be wiser to apply for a B1/B2 switch to remain in the US legally after the 30 day grace period expires? I can imagine my situation looks bleak, but your thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Beani, an extension can be granted by your program sponsor under certain conditions. I recommend reaching out to them. Good luck!

  • Liliana
    5 years ago

    Hi, I have a question regarding my J1 career training program, my initial program was for 6 months and I extended to 18 months, until March 2013. I got a waiver since I was subject to 2 years rule. My J1 program expires on March 2013 and I want to enroll in school as F1 earlier than March 2013. Can I enroll in school early January 2013, would be a problem to finish my J1 early than the date I am supposed to? Can I switch from J1 to F1 without finishing my J1, with 2 months early than the end date from my DS-2019?
    Thanks!

    • Liliana, you can end your J program early. Please make sure to communicate with your program sponsor. Also be sure to mention to the school that you are currently on a J visa.

  • Joe Irving
    5 years ago

    Hi, I am in the USA as an intern on a J-1 visa. I have met an American woman and we have been talking about getting married. I am worried that my 2 year HRR will stop this from being possible. Can I apply for a fiance visa while subject to the HRR and if not can you advise me on how to make our plans possible? Thank you.

    • Joe, J-1 visa regulations require that you return home upon completion of your program. If you are interested in returning to the U.S., I recommend contacting an immigration attorney.

  • Annemarie
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I’m currently an exchange student in the USA on a J-1 visa. I decided after 6 months that I wanted to do academic training (in simple english is an internship) which is a benefit of my current J-1 visa. My exchange office extended the dates of my return. I will return home in November. I want to do an internship in the states in February next year. Is this possible? Or is there a wait?

    • Annemarie, it depends… There are certain requirements for repeat participation. I wrote a post about the subject here: http://blog.htp-usa.com/2011/10/05/can-a-j-1-participate-in-additional-j-1-programs/

      • Annemarie
        5 years ago

        Hi Mario,

        From what I’ve read so far. It seems that I am not subject to any wait period because all the conditions seem to apply to those who went and did an internship or traineeship on a J-1. I came to the USA on a J-1 for university student exchange and not on a J-1 intern or trainee program. Yes, I did end up doing academic training but I also continued to do that along with my university exchange program (which is a benefit of my J-1). Am I right in thinking that the wait period won’t apply to me as I came on a different type of J-1?

        Kind Regards

  • Sarah
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario, thank you so much for your great advice. I was on a J1 with two years home residency in 2008. After completion of the program I left US and I came back once on B1 visa and then again on F1 visa. I have been outside US for 7 months. However, I am going to do my PhD, on F1, for 4 years and during these 4 years I would be out of US time to time. Assuming I stay out of US for 2 years (in total, not in one session), am I fulfilling the two years home residency?

    Looking forward to hear from you.

    • Sarah, 212(e) requires that you reside outside the U.S. Trips outside the U.S. while you reside in the U.S. do not count. Best regards.

      • Sarah
        5 years ago

        Thanks Mario,
        This means I should not be in status while I am outside the US?

  • Kaniska Mallick
    5 years ago

    Dear Sir,

    Greetings.

    I am an Indian National currently working at Jet Propulsion Laboratory/ California Institute of Technology based in Pasadena. Prior to moving to US, I was working in UK and residing there for 3 years. I was issued the J1 visa at London Consulate. My DS-2019 form states I am not subject to home residency requirement and the J1 visa stamp on my passport also does not mention the 2-year residency requirement. My query is whether I am subject to two years home country residency requirement before changing my status to H1B or any other visa category?.

    One of my colleague at the same institute also has similar case of Indian citizenship and getting the J1- visa issued from London Consulate. His forms are also similar to mine.

    I request to you please provide your valuable advise in this case, whether we are subjected or exempted from 2-year residency requirement rule under J1-visa.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks in advance,

    Kaniska

  • Sarah
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I just wanted to add more information about my case. During the summers, I will be teaching in other countries rather than U.S. while I am on F1. In other words, I will be on F1 for 4 years, doing PhD in the U.S. and in summers I will be out of U.S. and will teach in other countries and this means that I will reside in those countries (I have a work, working visa document from those countries). I wanted to know if these times that I will be out of U.S. will be deducted from my remaining two years.

    Thanks

    ps. this is not an occasional vacation.

  • Katerina Cervenkova
    5 years ago

    Hello, I would like to ask you about two year rule. I am an au pair and I extended in the USA for another year. My J1 says about two year rule but in my passport is that two years rule desnt apply. Does it mean that I should be alright if I marry my boyfriend? We plan do it after my au program, before my visa expires. Thank you for your answer!

  • Annemarie
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    Just following up.

    Hi Mario,
    From what I’ve read so far. It seems that I am not subject to any wait period because all the conditions seem to apply to those who went and did an internship or traineeship on a J-1. I came to the USA on a J-1 for university student exchange and not on a J-1 intern or trainee program. Yes, I did end up doing academic training but I also continued to do that along with my university exchange program (which is a benefit of my J-1). Am I right in thinking that the wait period won’t apply to me as I came on a different type of J-1?

    Kind Regards

    • Hello Annemarie, you should check you DS-2019 (or I-20) to see if 212(e) applies. Good luck!

  • Jenna
    5 years ago

    Hi, I am a Canadian who will be applying for medical school residency in programs that have J1 visas. I really only need a H1B visa, but some only offer J1. I do not WANT to stay in the usa after completion of my program, I want to go back to Canada to practice. So returning for 2 years is not a bad thing for me. Is there anything in the visa that says I have to go back to the USA or can I just do my training and leave for Canada forever?

    • Jenna, upon completion of your J program, you are expected to leave the U.S. and return home. There is no requirement to stay in the U.S. Best of luck.

  • Katie
    5 years ago

    I had my J1 visa for 12 months to engage in an exchange student program. After I came back to my home country (in May of 2010) my mom got a type 01 work visa so I came with her as a dependent on a type 03 visa in September of 2010. Even though I didn’t have my two year rule completed the Embassy still gave me the visa…so now I’m wondering, is it going to create problems in the future if my family decides to apply for permanent residence here in the US?

    • Katie, in your situation if you run into issues with the two year home residency rule, you could consider applying for a waiver.

  • Daniel
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    my question is about the validity period of J-1 two-year rule: After finishing my exchange program (on J-1) in USA, I went back to my home country, stayed there for 6 months and then came to USA as a graduate student on F-1. Now it has been almost 5 years, and I will apply for jobs in USA, and if a company offers me a job, would I be eventually eligible to get H-1B visa (regarding to J-1 two-year rule)?

    Thank you for your time,
    Regards

    • Daniel, upon completion of your F study exchange program, you are expected to leave the U.S. and return to your home country. You will probably run into issues with the 2-year home residency requirement as you have not resided outside the U.S. for 2 years.

  • Uyanga
    5 years ago

    Hello, After I completing my training program in 2008 I’ve been residing US almost 5 years and my question is
    Can I and my family apply again J1
    Thank you for your attention and help

    • Uyanga, you do not qualify for a J-1 visa. The J visa program is intended to allow foreign national to come over to the U.S. and experience American life and culture through various program categories. The program is not intended to facilitate an extended stay in the U.S. for individuals who are already here.

  • Marie
    5 years ago

    Hello! I recently completed my 1-year internship from a hotel in the US; the duration of my internship was from June 2011-June 2012. Before I left, my company there told me that if Im interested, they would very much like to rehire me because I demonstrated very good performance during my time there. They also told me that they are willing to help me with the expenses involved with reapplying. A few weeks ago I decided to take them up on their offer, and after informing my old employers there, we decided to go ahead with my reapplication. I have researched a lot about my case, but so far i haven’t found anything that really answers my questions. One, since I am now already a graduate of more than 12 months, I am no longer qualified for a J1 internship visa. So instead, my employers and I want to apply for a J1 Trainee visa; Im a Bachelor’s Degree holder, and I have at least 1 year working experience outside of the US, so we believe that I am qualified for the Trainee program. My question is, since its the same company, is this okay? And according to my J1 internship visa, the two-year does not apply to me. So does this mean that I am allowed to reapply for a J1 visa just a few months after I returned from my internship? And if I independently seek out a program sponsor to provide me with the DS 2019, do you think I’ll have a good chance with getting approved? Please help me.. I really need the answers to these questions.

    • Marie, if you no longer qualify an Intern, you have to wait two years under the “repeat participation” rules of the J-1 visa regulations. There are other requirements, ie your new training has to address the development of more advanced skills or a different field of training. I wrote a blog about this topic here http://blog.htp-usa.com/2011/10/05/can-a-j-1-participate-in-additional-j-1-programs/

      • Marie
        5 years ago

        Dear Mario,

        Thank you very much for your response! I have received the same response from other organizations that I inquired with the same concern. Can I obtain a waiver for me to return to the US? And does the fact that I already have a job offer from a company there give me an advantage with obtaining a waiver?

  • Anurag Jain
    5 years ago

    Thanks for a nice blog and clarifying so many doubts. I have a doubt of my own.
    I am currently in the USA on a J1 visa in the trainee category. My training program does not match any of the three requirements for section 212 (e) since:

    a) It is not funded by U.S. Govt. or Govt. of India (my home country) as this is a training program at a private company.
    b) The training program code is not in my country’s skills list for section 212 (e).
    c) I am not here as an alien physician for a medical training.

    Yet, the consular officer in India made the assessment that section 212 (e) applies to me and mentioned it in my VISA stamp. I have read on some websites that he can make a wrong assessment and it is not a final and binding decision. He didn’t even look at my training program, and still made the decision

    I need to know that is that decision final and is there is no way i can get that revoked? If I can, how (apart from applying for a waiver)? I really don’t want to have that constraint applied to me. I would really appreciate any guidance in this regard.

    • Anurag, the consular officer has the discretion to apply 212(e). While their decision is final, you can apply for a waiver. Best of luck.

  • Rajarshi Roy
    5 years ago

    You have a wonderful blog and I observe that you actively answer people’s questions!
    I am an Indian citizen and current Indian legal resident.
    I went on a six-week J1 program to USA during high-school when I was a resident of Singapore (now I am no longer). This was in no way funded by the Indian government. The two year home residency requirement for India was stamped on my J1 visa.
    From 2008 to 2009 I was in Singapore.
    From 2009 to now I am an F1 student. (My J1 visa has long expired four years ago in 2008).
    Does the J1 two-year home residency requirement still apply to me when I apply for a H visa after my OPT finishes?

    Thank You for your guidance!

    • Hello Rajarshi, yes, it looks like 212(e) still applies. You would not be able to apply for an H, K or L visa until you have satisfied the requirements of 212(e). Best regards.

  • ashish yadav
    5 years ago

    Dear sir, I am going to usa as a exchange visitor for 4 months. (Non salary). usa university is not payinf for me. Does the J1 two-year home residency requirement for me ?
    Thanks

    • Hello Ashish. The decision whether to apply 212(e) will be made by a consular officer when you apply for the J-1 visa.

  • Patricia
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    Hi,

    I spent five years in a PhD program in New York under a J1 visa, after that I returned to my country in January 2011.
    Recently, I was invited to spend 11 weeks in my former lab during my summer vacations. I was informed by the International Student officer from US University that I need a J1 visa for that.
    The problem is that my former J-1 visa had the 2-year residency rule. And I will complete the two years in my country only on January 15 2013. But I would like to go to US on month earlier in order to return to my home country before the classes in my university start.
    I want to know if I would be eligible to a J-1 visa in such circumstances or if I have to ask for a waiver.
    Thank you,

    • Patricia, 212(e) only applies to applications for H, K and L visas; you should be OK to apply for another J visa. Good luck.

  • Kumarsinh Jhala
    5 years ago

    I was on J-1 Visa from june 1 2012 to august 3 2012, as a part of student exchange program. Can I apply for F-1 Visa on june 2013? and after two years, when I complete my Graduation, Can I apply for H-1?
    Thank you

    • Kumarsinh, you can apply for an F visa in 2013 as 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. You will not be able to apply for an H after graduation until you reside outside the U.S. for 2 years.

  • Samantha
    5 years ago

    Hi!
    I was on J1 Fulbright for 3 years then to complete my last year of MFA i switched to F1 status. Can i apply for OPT, before i go back for my two year rule.

    Thanks for your help!

    • There are certain rules when it comes to OPT, but you should be able to apply for OPT. Check with your educational institution/ program sponsor. Best of luck.

  • Katie
    5 years ago

    I have interviews in USA shortly. I am a teacher and am confused about visas. H1b are difficult to get but is it possible to stay permanently on j1 – if not how do I do this. Also if I do a j1 with an exchange company is it possible to stay as I’ve searched and it seems it’s frowned upon but happens. Advice pls!!!

    • Katie, if you are looking move to the U.S. longterm/permanently, the J-1 is not the right visa for you. The J visa is for educational and cultural exchange purposes; upon completion of the program, you must return home.

  • Katie
    5 years ago

    Which visa allows me to live more permanently there and do you have advice on how to obtain such a visa?

  • Hello,
    I am an intern doctor and I am applying for a two months elective in US. on a J1 Short-term scholar Visa The program is not funded by either the Egyptian or US governments. Will the two years home residency still applies to me? and Should I take the paper saying the it’s on my personal fund to the embassy official on the interview day to prove this?
    I also want to make sure if I can visit the US on a B1/B2 visa in these two years in case this requirement applies and How long can I stay there?
    Thank you,

    • Hello Hind. The decision whether 212(e) applies is made by the consular officer. Yes, you can bring documents that support your position that the program is self-funded. If 212(e) applies, you can still visit the U.S. on B1/B2 status during the 2 years.

  • Hi Sir,

    My program date in my DS-2019 is until Feb 2013, but there’s a new plan for me to shorten my training before Christmas this year. I already have the ticket on December going back to my home country but the program date in my DS-2019 is not yet updated. I’ll be leaving in 3 days and there’s no way i can have the new updated form this coming weekend. What should I answer to the immigration officer in the Port of Entry in the US if i’m asked how long i will be staying? Should I still say 5 months to be consistent with the DS-2019? Or say that i’ll be home after 2 months. Thanks in advance!

    • Hello A.L. Always present true statements to Port of Entry officials. Explain that you will stay for 2 months and that your sponsor has not yet issued updated paperwork.

  • Marie
    5 years ago

    Hello Mario!

    I have posted a question here a few weeks ago, and I’m very grateful that you replied promptly. I would like to ask another question: I am a graduate of a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management last year, March 2011. If I enroll in a second degree, for example a degree in tourism, will I still be eligible to apply for another J1 internship visa? The J1 intern visa requires that an applicant is pursuing a full-time course at a degree- or certificate-granting academic institution outside of the US, but it doesnt specify whether second-degree course students are eligible or not. Please help me clarify this matter. Thank you!

  • Hello Marie. The J-1 visa regulations are very specific when it comes to this issue. They state that “A new internship is also permissible when a student has successfully completed a recognized course of study ( i.e., associate, bachelors, masters, Ph.D., or their recognized equivalents) and has enrolled and is pursuing studies at the next higher level of academic study”. This means that you would qualify if you now pursue full-time studies at the next higher level, ie Masters. Another Ba degree will not be sufficient.

  • Maria
    5 years ago

    Hi. I will be applying for a second J1 trainee visa (did one stint on a J1 subject to 212(e), which I complied with by living in my home country for over 2 years). I am uncertain as to whether the sponsor that gave me the ds2019 receives government funding, which will make it so I´m subject to the 212(e) again… is there any way of figuring out if they do receive funding without asking directly? Also, they aren´t paying for anything (my employer is, which is a private business) so will that make it so that it is irrelevant whether the program sponsor gets gov money and there´s no way I am subject to the rule?

    It looks like the consulate official will determine whether I´m subject or not, so my other question is will I be able to see the completed ds2019 before arriving in the States? I mean, will I know if I am subject to the rule beforehand? And if so, and in the case I am, can I decline to go and not be subject to the rule or once the visa is granted I am automatically subjected to it even if I don´t end up going? Thanks!

    • Hello Maria. The decision whether 212(e) applies is made by a consular officer. You will know after your visa is issued and attached to your passport. At that point, you could still decide to cancel the program. But why? Even if 212(e) applies, it would only hinder a potential application for an H, L or K visa. If you are interested in those visas, you should not apply for a J visa. The J visas is intended for educational and cultural exchange purposes and you are expected to return home upon completion of the program. Good luck!

  • Maria
    5 years ago

    Thanks for your reply. I am interested in doing the training, I just don´t want to be forced to comply with 212(e) again. I do intend to return home, however. If I decide not to accept the program after the visa is issued would I still be subjected to the rule or that would be void if I never make it to the States? Thanks.

    • Good question. I believe 212(e) would only apply after you enter the U.S. and actually receive J-1 status.

  • SUMIT DEY
    5 years ago

    Dear Sir,

    I was in U.S. from 05.29.2008 to 09.16.2011 on J1 visa as post doctoral researcher. I came back to my home country on 09.20.2011. Can I re enter U.S. with another J1 visa as researcher right now or I need to stay for 2 year in my home country?

    Thanks,
    Sincerely,

    Sumit Dey

    • Sumit, you should be able to return as section 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. To be sure, check with your program sponsor.

      • SUMIT DEY
        5 years ago

        Dear Sir,

        My program sponsor told me that they can not process my application to obtain a J1 visa, as I have already held one earlier and there is a two year reapplication ban that is imposed by India.

        At this stage, what are the option I have, to work as post doctoral researcher in US?

        Sincerely,

        Sumit

  • David B
    5 years ago

    Hi, I am currently studying in the US on a sports scholarship and I am also Irish. Am I eligible to stay here for the summer and work if I get a J1 visa on top of my current visa? Is this even possible.

    Thanks a mill
    Dave

    • David, you can only have status in 1 visa category only. Check with you current sponsor/school to see if the visa allows for temporary work. Good luck.

  • Cristina R
    5 years ago

    I wanted to ask if I am able to travel back to the states for a one week holiday, i finished a 7 month internship in florida in june 2012, and wanted to just go back for a holiday or do i also need to wait for 2 years to return?

    thank you.

    • Cristina, you can come back to the U.S. for vacation. Just make sure you have the necessary tourist visa (or waiver if you country is part of the waiver program). Have fun!

  • Hello sir ..
    Actually I got the J1 visa in 2011 . I had done my internship and now my visa is expired . But it has written on my visa Rule applies . But I want to go again for internship . So what I have to do ?? Please guide me.

  • alina
    5 years ago

    Hi!
    I have a B2 visa and I would like to do a 2 months internship in Philadelphia. I know I have to apply for a J visa but my question is: can I keep my B2 visa while I have the J visa?or the J visa will cancel the B2 visa???

    • You can keep your B2 visa; it will remain valid. However, you will only have one status at one time, either J1 or B2…

  • Dear Mr Janssen:

    I’m a German national who’s planning to go to the U.S. for an internship next summer (for that I need a J1 visa [trainee]). Is it possible for me to re-enter the U.S. in 2014 for a LL.M. program for which I need also a J1(?) visa (due to a stipend)? Or would I be subject to the “2-year Rule”?
    Thank you for your help.

    • You can participate in additional programs even if 212(e) applies. If you qualify as Intern, you don’t have to wait; when you no longer qualify as Intern, but rather as Trainee, you have to wait 2 years before starting another program.

      • Thank you for your answer. I have one additional question:

        Next year I have to go to the U.S. as Trainee. But would I qualify as Intern (again) if I take up Ph.D. studies in Germany after my visit? In this case I wouldn’t go to the U.S. for an LL.M. program in 2014 but as a ‘shorttem scholar’ (for which I need also a J1 visa).

        Thank you again.

  • Saskia
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,
    I wonder if it is possible to switch from a J1 to a Q1 visa? I would like to work as an Au Pair and afterwards apply for an International Program at Disney. Does this still subject to the 2 year rule?

    Kind regards,
    Saskia

    • Hello Saskia, 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas, so you should have no problems applying for a Q visa. But remember, “switching” from a J visa to another visa is not endorsed by the State Department. When you participate in a J program, you are expected to return home to share your experience with others in your home country.

  • neven
    5 years ago

    hi sir, i graduated last april 2011 and went to US for a 1 year internship, am I still qualified to reapply for another j1 visa?and how long does it take for me to wait to reapply.thanks

  • saad ashraf
    5 years ago

    sir i am a currently 3rd year medical student at pakistan. i went to usa undergraduate exchange program funded by us government and back on jan 2012. now i again wanted to go usa for doing clinical elective and to give usmle exams at united states. am i eligible to go usa or i have to stay 2 years in pakistan.kindly help

    • Saad, 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visa petitions, so you should be able to apply for another J visa.

  • Dear Mario,

    My wife obtained her J1 visa in 2001 with 2 year home residency requirement.
    After obtaining a degree in 2003, we went home for 1 year, and in 2004 we were back on F visa for her PhD. During 5 years of study and 17 months of stem program we visited our home country several times for some months, and later she obtained O1 visa, and we are still traveling – visiting our home country.
    So far over all we were home for 18 months.

    My 1st question is: Does 2 year home residency has any expiration since my wife was issued J1 visa in 2001?

    Do we need to complete another 6 months to be able to get H visa or green card?

    • Phon, if you are interested in immigrating to the U.S., I recommend reaching out to an immigration attorney. They will also be able to answer the question about 212(e). Best of luck.

  • Hi Mario,
    I was offered a Specialist position at a prestigious university, under a J1 visa. However, I would like to apply for an MBA program 2 years from now. My concern is: will I be able to extent or change my J1 visa to do the MBA without the need of going back to my home country for 2 years?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Jair, the 2 programs will likely require different visas. The be sure, check with the university where you plan to study the MBA program. Good luck!

  • Rohit Shah
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,
    I was part of a trainee program in the US with a J1 visa from Jan 2012 – July 2012. As per my visa 212(e) applies, but my skill set does not feature in the Exchange Visitors Skills List . Currently I will be joining a firm which requires frequent travel to US on a B1 visa. Should I apply for a waiver for the 2 year residency clause or can I go a ahead and apply for B1. Does applying for the waiver restrict applicant for applying for a B1 visa, till the time the waiver appeal is addressed ?
    Kindly advise.

    Thanks in advance.

    Regards
    Rohit

    • Rohit, since 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas, you should be able to apply for a B visa without any issue.

  • HI Mario,

    I am J1 visa holder, after finishing my exchange program can i change to J2 visa as a dependent of my wife, a J1 visa holder, without fulfilling 212(e) requirement?

    Thanks,
    Fred

    • Fred, yes; this is possible. Contact your sponsor. They will be able to change add you as a dependent to your wife’s sevis record. The sponsor will also be able to explain to you what to do to change status from J1 to J2.

      • Daniela
        5 years ago

        HI,
        Is this true even if both have a 2-year requirement? I started my J1 in 2010 and my husband got his J1 on 2011. For personal reasons he would like to change from J1 to J2 even if that means that his time in the US will be shorter because I got my J1 earlier. We both have a 2-year requirement to go back to our home country. Can we still do the switch? is it written somewhere that that’s allowed because I suspect that our immigration officer is going to be adamant to make the change. Many thanks!

        • Daniela, your husband should be able to switch from J-1 to J-2. You should contact your program sponsor and explain the situation. The sponsor will require proof of marriage. They will be able to add him as a dependent to your J-1 record. Once his change of status is approved by USCIS, they can terminate his primary (J-1) sevis record. Your sponsor will likely charge a processing fee for this change. Good luck.

  • Pawan
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I am expecting a job offer in USA and thus most probably will apply for my H1B in April 2013.

    Also, I am having an internship opportunity for which currently I am applying for J-1 visa. I’ll be entering USA for internship in May 2013 (i.e after applying for H1B).

    Is it possible?

    To apply for my H1B, I’ll need a waiver from 2-year home residency clause. Can I apply for waiver even before entering USA through J-1?

    Thanks!

    • Pawan, the J and H visas are very different. If you are interested in working in the U.S. for a longer period of time, the H visa is a good option. However, if you are interested in going to the U.S. for training and cultural exchange purposes, the J visa would be the better option. It is not acceptable to enter the U.S. on J status with the intention to change status to H.

  • MAHENDRA P. SINGH
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario, I have a question regarding re applying for J1 visa

    I am a postdoc and working in US since 2010 (2 and half years) and my visa expired in may 2012 but I have valid DS2019 (ends in may 2014). Due to some circumstances I need to resign from my current job in end of November and I will be in my home country for couple of months. Since J1 visa for research scholars are for up to 5 years and I only completed 2 and half years but I have 212(e) apply to my visa. Now my concern is can I apply for another J1 visa for 2 more years from my home country or I need to wait 2 years.

    Thank you.

    Mahendra

    • 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas, so 212(e) does not have an impact on J status. You could contact your sponsor to see how long you can return home without losing J status (usually 30 days). If you don’t return within that time window, the sponsor will end the program. In that case, you can still apply for a new J program, but you would have to start the process from the beginning and there is no guarantee it will be approved.

  • Elizabeth
    5 years ago

    Hey!
    Just a quick question regarding visas!
    I am currently on a j1 visa which is valid until the middle of January 2013, however I will be returning to Ireland for christmas so ill be leaving before my visa expires (17th December), so I wont be given the 30 day period to use to travel etc.
    I want to return on a holiday visa and I am aware that Ireland are part of the visa waiver programe so I can apply for an ESTA but my query is regarding the timing in which I can apply for a holiday visa?
    You see I want to return to the US around the 7th of January 2013 as a tourist to travel aroud America as I hope to return to college in March 2013.
    Do you think it would be too soon to return to America as a tourist?
    Thank you for your time and great blog!

    • Hi Elizabeth. You should be able to return to the U.S. as a tourist at any time, especially if you buy a plane ticket with a return date. Best of luck and happy travels!

  • SUMIT DEY
    5 years ago

    Dear Sir,

    I have posted a question here a few weeks ago, and I’m very grateful that you replied promptly. I would like to ask another question: I was in U.S. from 05.29.2008 to 09.16.2011 on J1 visa as post doctoral researcher. I came back to my home country on 09.20.2011. Now I got a another chance to another Post-doc in USA, but my program sponsor told me that they can not process my application to obtain a another J1 visa, as I have already held one earlier and there is a two year J1 reapplication ban as a researcher.

    At this stage, what are the option I have, to work as post doctoral researcher in US?

    Sincerely,

    Sumit

    • Hello Sumit, I am not familiar with the repeat participation rules for researchers. For the Trainee category, there is a 2 year foreign residency requirement. If your sponsor informed you of a similar rule for researchers, then I am afraid there is not much you can do it this point. Best of luck.

  • Good day sir!

    I had my internship for a year, Sept 15, 2011 to Sept 15, 2012 as a requirement in school. I just came back to my home country on Oct 12, 2012 to finish my last semester in college from Nov 2012 to March 2013. Now i am planning to go back this May or June 2013 for another internship. Am i still eligible to apply for another j1 visa since I am not subject to 2 year rule?

    Thank you!

    • Hello Sab. From what you are writing, it appears that you are eligible for another J-1 Intern visa. Good luck!

      • “Good day sir!
        I had my internship for a year, Sept 15, 2011 to Sept 15, 2012 as a requirement in school. I just came back to my home country on Oct 12, 2012 to finish my last semester in college from Nov 2012 to March 2013. Now i am planning to go back this May or June 2013 for another internship. Am i still eligible to apply for another j1 visa since I am not subject to 2 year rule?
        Thank you!”

        “Mario Janssen
        November 30, 2012 at 9:09 PM
        Hello Sab. From what you are writing, it appears that you are eligible for another J-1 Intern visa. Good luck!”

        In addition to what I said earlier. I am a Culinary Arts students from the Philippines. Is it true that Culinary Arts field is not part of the 2 year residency rule? And since My visa does not indicate that I am subject to a 2 year rule, I should be absolutely fine to go and apply for my 2nd internship this May 2013 right? I appreciate it. Thank you!

  • Tatiana
    5 years ago

    Hello. I would like to ask you if I can apply for a second j-1 visa. I am subject to the 2 yea rule ( but i wasn’t sponsored by anyone) and I applied for a waiver. Now, while I am still waiting for the waiver, I want to intern with another company in the U.S. Do I need an j-1 visa to be a paid intern? Also, am I eligible for a second j-1 without a waiver for my first one? Moreover, I’ve have double citizenship, so one passport hasn’t got any visas on it.. Are my both passports subject to the rule? please let me know asap. Appreciate it, thanks.

    • Tatjana, 212(e) does not apply to the J-1 visa. You don’t need a waiver to apply for another Intern visa. Best of luck.

  • Rudyvoella Apidi
    5 years ago

    Hi, am intending to apply for a H1B visa and i was currently on a j1 visa with a two year rule to it. Can my employer/sponsor in the USA apply for this to be waived or do i have to do it myself??

    • Rudyvoella, the intention of the J-1 visa program is for participants to return home upon completion of their program.

  • Charles
    5 years ago

    Dear Sir,
    My J1 visa has expired last October and I am subject to 2 year rule and i have returned to my country (Bangladesh) in due time. After returning my country I got B1 visa for 5 years.
    now my question may apply for 2 years rule waiver from my home country? my J1 visa’s program sponsor was USAID

  • Amina
    5 years ago

    Hi!
    I’m going to the USA as exchange student for 4 months on J1 visa.
    If I provide bank statement showing I will cover my expenses my self without any funding, get a J1 visa without 212 (e), but later on decide to receive fundings from the government. Will anyone check it out later and give me 212 (e)?

    Please reply by email if possible.

    Thanks.

    • Hi Amina. Whether 212(e) applies is determined by a consular officer. It is hard to say if 212(e) will apply in your case. Good luck in the US!

  • Mostafa Salama
    5 years ago

    Hey Sir,

    I have J1 visa and I want to stay in US after I finish my exchange program here in US. I started in 2012 and it is for 3 years.
    My visa stated that I m not subject to section 212(e).

    What I have to do to stay in US ??

    • Hello Mostafa. The intention of the J-1 visa program is for participants to return home upon completion of the program. Once your J-1 visa expires, you cannot stay in the U.S. and must leave the country to continue your studies or career in your home country. Good luck!

  • Dear Mario,

    I am one of the physicians on J1 visa pursuing training in the United States. currently I am on my 4th Year J1 visa. I would like to complete 2 different fellowship which would take atleast 4 more years. My question to you is,

    1) Can I extend my J1 visa beyond 7 years? How difficult it is?
    2) If I marry a US citizen during these 4 years , can I get a green card ? If yes, Would I be allowed to complete my training on green card?
    Thank you so much!

  • Jagoda
    5 years ago

    Hello! I am holder of B-2 visa that expire in 2018. This year I want to apply for J-1 visa. Am I eligible for J-1 visa even thought I have B-2? The two year rule, it means I must be outside of USA or I am not supposed to travel to other places as well, that I need to stay in my country for two years?

    • Jagoda, you can apply for a J-1 visa while also having a B-2 visa in your passport. The two-year rule means that you cannot apply for an H, L or K visa within 2 years after completing a J-1 visa program.

  • Clifford
    5 years ago

    Dear Sir

    I have been in the US on the J-1 visa since August 2009 until 31 August 2011 (two year rule does apply).

    After that I returned to my home country (on 31 August 2011) for two weeks and then left for 2 month to do an internship in another country. I returned back to my home country in late November and started working in my home country since 1 December 2010. During my work in the home country i have occasionally travelled around the world on business and private trips (including two trips to the US on B1/B2 visa) to the total amount of around two months. I was working in my home country until 15 August 2012.

    On 22 August 2012 I have moved to another country and started working therein. In addition, I am working for an international organization that is a supranatiional institution (i enjoy diplomatic rights and my stay in this country does not count towards immigration requirements in here). Although I am not working on an official assignment from my home country.

    My questions are as follows:

    (1) How the two year period is being calculated (i.e., will my trips to the US, other countries will be taken in to account and, therefore, should be excluded from the calculations)? (2) Based on the above facts, when will i be able to apply for work visa in the US? (3) If I yet have to satisfy the rule what is a rough estimate of time i should spend in my home country? And (4) whether, if at all, the period of my work for supranational organization counts towards the two year rule calculations?

    Thank you very much in advance and best regards
    Clifford

    • Clifford, you must have resided 2 years outside the U.S. in order to become eligible for an H, L or K visa. There is some confusion about whether trips to the U.S. count or not. To be safe, I would recommend not counting the trips and reside outside the U.S. a little longer (ie 2 years and 2 months in your case).

      • Clifford
        5 years ago

        Dear Mario, many thanks for your kind reply. Did I understand you correctly, the rule sets a requirement to leave the USA for two years and I am not required to stay in my home country for a total of two years (I may be residing in any other country rather than the USA)? In my situations, I stayed in my home country for a total of 1 year and 9 month and now have moved to London. Consequently, my residence in London will be counted so as to staisfy the two year residency rule requirement?

        Many thanks,
        Clifford

        • Clifford, your question falls a little outside the parameters of this blog, which focuses on the J-1 Intern and Trainee categories. My understanding is that your stay in London will count towards the 2-year requirement, but just to be safe, I would consult an immigration attorney.

  • Graziella
    5 years ago

    Dear Sir,

    I am a swiss citizen and I did an internship for a year, in the USA, with a J1 Visa. I saw on my passport that the ” 2 years rule” does apply to me. My question is: Can I still go to the USA as a tourist, in those 2 years, and visit the country? With a B1/B2 visa? Or does the ” 2 years rule” apply to everything? Can I go to the USA for 2 weeks, just to visit?

    Thank you for your time.

    • Graziella, you can absolutely visit the U.S. as a B1/B2 tourist during the 2 years. The only thing you cannot do is apply for an H, K or L visa. Have fun!

  • William
    5 years ago

    Hello. What if I have stayed in my home country for one year after the end of the J1 program, then I came back to the US as a F1 student, in order to meet the two-year requirement, how many years do I need to stay in the home country? One or TWO? Thank you very much.

  • Vicky
    5 years ago

    Hi, I had a J1 visa for receiving a government scholarship while in a US graduate school. Initially it was automatically stamped to be subject to the 2 year rule, but after receiving a document from the government who gave me the scholarship clearly stating that I am not under the obligation of home country service, all my visa afterwards were stamped as “NOT Subject To The Two Year Rule.” After graduation and 2 year of post-doc, I successfully obtained H1B visa. As it close to the 5th year of my H1B Visa, my employer started my PR process. The problem is, now the USCIS is asking me to provide document about my fulfillment of the two year rule. I have provided past visa(s) with stamps of “not subjected to the 2 year rule” and a newly issued statement from my government with statement of “under NO obligation to go back to serve my country.” Will these be enough? According to the lawyer of my employer, these are not enough, and the government letter will back fire at my case for PR application. I checked with the graduate where I studied and the VISA agency, neither of them has my files stored. My questions are: (1) Since my country has provided a letter indicating I have no obligation to go back to my country for service for this scholarship, is it not enough? (2) Since I have hold a H1B visa for almost 6 years, can I use this to assist my PR application? I could have done something earlier had I found out the problem — my student files and visa files may still be accessible then. (3) Are those later VISA stamps enough to justify my waiver of the 212e rule? I appreciate your help and guidance in my case. Thank you!!

    • Hi Vicky. Sorry to hear about your situation. As you may remember, J-1 visa participants are expected to return home upon completion of their program and not apply for H visas. It is hard to predict how USCIS will interpret your case. Best regards.

  • Gautam Mishra
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    Thanks you for the effort that you put in on this website.
    I myself have a question and would very much appreciate your feedback.

    I was issued a J1 in 2006 while I was a residing (student visa, I am an Indian national) in UK at the time. Upon completion of the program I had returned to UK and have continued living there till now (on resident permit).

    A) Not sure if HRR rule applies to me or not.
    and
    B) If I have to return to home country, then where? Coz legally I reside in UK.

    Your feedback would be really valuable to me.
    Best wishes

    • Gautam, your passport and DS-2019 (formerly IAP-66) will show if the 2-year rule apply. In order to satisfy the requirement, you must reside outside the U.S. for 2 years.

  • mukesh
    5 years ago

    Dear Sir
    I was issued an J1 visa from May 2011 to may 2013 in US Embassy India to work as a PDF in NIH. I worked in NIH from May 2011 to July 2012 and returned to India due to some personal reasons.
    My question is that Is 212e is still applies to me or Can I go to USA for another PDF (if selected).
    I am very confused regarding this.
    Pls help me asap to clear this situation.
    Thanks in advance

    • 212(e) still applies, but it only applies to H, K and L visas. You should be able to participate in another J visa program.

  • ashwin
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario

    I am coming to US for Jan-Mar as an exchange student in J1 category with the 212e restriction. I was wondering if I can intern in the US for May – July (again under J1) without the waiver.
    I am an undergraduate student from India.

    Thnks
    Ashwin

    • You can since 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas, not the J-1 visa. Good luck in the U.S.!

  • hossam Ahamed
    5 years ago

    I was in j1 visa in Fulbright program and I returned back home (Egypt) when my 1 year finished in August 2011 I stayed only for 3 months in Egypt which is my home country then I got job in Saudi Arabia and now I have been in Saudi Arabia for one year so I’m planning to complete another year in Saudi Arabia to complete the two years condition for j1 visa then I’ll apply for f1 visa and as soon as I get to USA I’ll try to find any way to be resident in USA but if they asked me where you been these two years I’ll say I was back home in Egypt and I did not travel anywhere. the question here Do they can know in the immigration where I have spent these two years or not? I know it’s silly question but I’m just asking?

    • Hossam, you must respond to questions honestly and completely. It is the right thing to do and simply not worth the risk. I hope it works out for you.

  • Renato M
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario, I have a question regarding repeated participation using a J1 visa.

    I had a J1 visa (student category) that expired on May 31st, 2012. I was now invited to join a training program at a company in the US. The two year rule applies to my visa. Will I be able to obtain another J1 visa, this time on a trainee category, even before two years have passed ?

    Thank you,

    Renato

    • Renato, as described in my blog post, there are two different 2-year rule. 212(e) does not apply to you, since you are not interested in a H, K or L visa. The repeat participation rule of the J-1 visa regulations does apply. It states that you must wait 2 years if you can no longer qualify as Intern.

      • Renato M
        5 years ago

        Mario, thank you for your prompt reply. Just one more thing, I did see the rule regarding the repeated participation if one no longer qualifies as an intern, but I thought that would only apply if I had previously had a J1 in the Intern category. Both my DS 2019 and J1 visa say “Student non-degree”. Even if I did not have a J1 Intern visa before do I still have to wait 2 years to be eligible for the J1 Trainee visa ?

        Thank you again Sir.

        Renato.

  • I am PhD Student under J1 Visa and I am going to complete it by 2015. My wife is currently working in US under J2 and he will start her PhD next year. I have few questions.

    1. Is she need to change her visa status from J2 to F1?

    2. When I completed my Phd program, How long can I stay in US under J1?

    3. If she is not going to change her visa status from J2 to F1, can she depends on my visa furthermore?

    4. Once I completed my PhD, Can I work as a Research Professor under another J1 Visa ?

    Thanks,
    Neo

  • jose malayil
    5 years ago

    Dear Sir,

    Thanks a lot for explaining J1 visa related issues. I also do have a small query. I am an Indian citizen currently staying in India. I did my phd in Ireland. I am expecting a postdoc position in an American University. The funding comes from US government source and nothing to do with Indian Government or home universities. I am expecting a J1 visa from the host institution in US. I was wondering whether I need to satisfy 2 year home residence requirement as the postdoc program doesn’t have any liability with Indian Govt or institution. Your reply is much appreciated.

    thanks in advance

    jose

  • Ramki
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    Thanks for this very useful blog post.

    I was in J1-Research Scholar category from June 2008 to Nov 2011 and subject to 212(e). Now I got an opportunity in another university and they are willing to sponsor H1-B. I started my waiver process only in September. I am supposed to start my job in Feb 2013.

    1. Can one apply for H1-B while a J1 waiver is pending?
    2. Am I eligible to get a J1-Short term scholar visa while I have 212(e) and waiver is pending?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Ramki. While sometimes related to the J-1 visa, H1 visas and waivers fall outside the parameters of this blog. I recommend checking with the university. Good luck!

  • Marwan
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,
    Thank you for taking the time to answer all these questions and different scenarios!

    The first time I came to the US was on a J-1 Exchange Program and it said “2 year rule does apply” on the visa. Then I went back home for a couple of months and came back to the US again but on an F-1 Visa to study in high school, then took my F-1 to college on a full scholarship……Can I transfer my status to J-1 if I have a work offer that sponsors J-1?

    Looking forward to your input,
    Marwan

    • You can’t. The J-1 visa regulations require that participants have a degree from a post secondary education outside the U.S. Your college degree here in the U.S. will make you ineligible for the J-1 Trainee or Intern programs.

  • hello sir,
    I did j1 for 4 years and then went back to my home country applied for j1 waiver got approved came back to us on b1 visa but could not pass lisencing exam so lost the job offer at waiver place , but i have a offfer for another fellowship also my degree is not recognised in myhome country . iwanted to do another fewlloship on j1 can u pl giude . this 2 year rule should i be going to my home country or any country is good since my degree not recognosed in my country .
    also can j1 visa be transfered to f1 if waiver is approved ,
    thank you

    • Raj, 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. It has no bearing on exchange programs such as the F and J visa programs.

  • Violeta
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario!

    I have a question regarding my second J-1 visa.
    I had a J-1 visa (exchange student) which expired on May 28th, 2011. A company will hire me as an intern and I will hold another J-1 visa before the two years have passed. The two year rule applies to my visa. Will I be able to obtain another J1 visa, this time on a trainee category? What do I need to be required as a intern?

    Cheers!
    Violeta

    • Violeta, you qualify an Intern if you are currently a full-time student or have graduated less than a year ago. A Trainee is someone who has graduated and has one year experience. If you no longer qualify as Intern, you can still apply for another J program, but this time as Trainee. However, you must wait 2 years after completion the Intern program.

    • Renato
      5 years ago

      Violeta, I am in the same situation as you… I also was an exchange-student ona J1 visa and now want to apply for J1 Trainee within the first two years. It is still quite unclear to me if we can do that.

      • Hi Renato. I realize the two different “2-year rules” are a little confusing. If you are interested in another J visa, forget about 212(e). That rule only comes into play if you apply for an H, K or L visa.

        So let’s focus on the other two-year rule… If you want to apply for another J-1 visa and if you no longer qualify as Intern (current student or graduated less than a year ago), you have to apply as a Trainee. In that case, the J-1 visa regulations state that you must reside outside the U.S. for 2 years after completing the Intern program.

        Please let me know if you still have question…

        • Renato
          5 years ago

          Hi Mario! The part that is unclear is when you say “you must reside outside the U.S. for 2 years AFTER COMPLETING THE INTERN PROGRAM.” The thing is I did not participate in any INTERN program, my J1 visa and DS 2019 says “student non-degree” (college student), which was my first J1 visa and I think it is the same situation as Violeta is facing. Even if I was neither an Intern nor a Trainee does the 2 year rule regarding repeat participation still applie?

          • Hi Renato. I now understand the confusion 🙂 OK, so if you have never participated in an Intern program before, then you don’t have to wait 2 years. But, the eligibility requirements state that Interns must be enrolled in or have graduated from post-secondary education outside the U.S.. For Trainees, the regulations state the you must have a degree from post-secondary education outside the U.S. and one year experience outside the U.S.. If you meet those requirements, then you are good to go!

          • Renato
            5 years ago

            Thats a relief! I think I do meet those requirements since I have a college degree fom Brazil and also that 1 year experience.

            Congratulations on keeping this blog going, you are helping a lot of people here! Thank you very much for you attention and prompt answers!

          • You are welcome 😉

  • Kalil Charanek
    5 years ago

    Good afternoon.

    First of all, congratulations for your work. I am pretty sure it helps a lot of people.

    Secondly, I would like to ask you something. I was an exchange student in the USA under a J1 via from January to June 2011, and in my visa it states that the 2 year rule does apply. I have now been accepted to a PhD starting January 2013. Do you believe I should face any problems with that? I am aware that the rule does not apply to another J1 visa.

    Just to mention, I am from Brazil, and I am going to attend the PhD program at the same university where I was an exchange student.

    Thank you very much.

    Regards.

    • Kalil, since 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas, you should be fine pursuing your PhD. Good luck!

  • Charles
    5 years ago

    I have obtained 5 years valid USA visa for tour USA on 10th December 2012.but I have cancelled my tour now. I would like to tour to USA after 8 months. will it any problem/hamper my B1 visa?

    I am eagerly waiting for your reply.
    best regards,
    Charles

  • Gaurav
    5 years ago

    Hi,

    I have been to US in June 2011 on J-1 visa for an internship. I want to visit again next next month using B-1 visa. Does two-year rule apply to me ? Do I need waive it off?

    • Gaurav, you can apply for a B1/B2 visa without having to wait 2 years. 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. Enjoy your next visit to the U.S.

  • Hello Mario,
    I am seeking your opinion regarding the J-1 visa. I got J-1 visa and DS-2019 valid from July2012 to June 2014. But under some circumstances I had to terminate my program in Dec.2012. would appreciate if you could answer the following queries-

    1. If I g back to my home country, and look for some position here again, is it possible that within few months I can return to USA for J-1 or any other visa for my research like H1 or so.
    2. If being in my home country, I will marry my boyfriend who is already a J-1 in USA for next 4 years, am I able to get her dependent J-2. or in that case do I need to fulfill 2 yr rule?
    Thanks in advance

    • Mok, you can participate in additional J-1 Trainee or Intern programs after you successfully complete the first J-1 program. After you return home, you can apply for any other visa, including H. You can apply for J-2 dependent status; 212(e) does not apply to the J visa.

  • Charles
    5 years ago

    Dear Sir,
    I have a five years valid multiple B1 US visa is it mandatory to buy return ticket for entry in USA?
    Regards,
    Charles

    • Charles, it is always best to enter the U.S. with a valid return ticket. Without one, the port of entry officer will question your intentions to return to your home country.

  • Sayana
    5 years ago

    Hi, I came to u.s. with a j1 visa that has a 2 year applied rule. I would like to know if I can apply for a tourist visa and if it so, how long would it take to have an answer. Thank you.

    • Sayana, you can apply for a B1/B2 tourist visa at the U.S. consulate in your home country. The processing time depends on the local consulate, but should not take very long. have fun during your next visit to the U.S.!

  • Francis
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario, I was in USA under a J1 Visa and the 2-years rule from october 2010 to August 2011. I went back to my home country where I have a permanent job. However in the last year and half I spent a total of 6 months in the USA (because of meetings, conferences and research collaboration) under B1 visa that was previously issued (in 2006). So, would like to know if the period I spend in the USA under the B1 will delay the 2 years expiration date (supposed to be in August 2013). Thanks

    • Francis, the time spent in the U.S. will likely not count towards satisfying 212(e). USCIS requires that you reside outside the U.S. for 2 years.

      • Francis
        4 years ago

        update…
        My two years are almost finished so I went on line to start the process for the interview at the consulate for H4 visa. By filling application, I have also to declare the last entries/exit from US. That means they will see I was in US for about 7 months in 2 years…I afraid I will be rejected. WHat do you think?

        • Yes, probably; 212(e) requires that you reside in your home country for 2 years. Those 7 months will not count.

  • Carlos
    5 years ago

    Hello! Does the 212(e) apply also for H-4? My wife is under the 2 years rule and I’m in USA with H-1. I know that H-4 is not working visa, but it’s still H category.
    I appreciate your time

    • Hi Carlos. Good question. I recommend reaching out to USCIS or an immigration attorney. Good luck.

  • Alberto Martin
    5 years ago

    Hello,

    I have been on exchange in the US during the first semester and until December 22, 2012 with a J-1 visa. Now I got an internship and I will extend my J-1 visa until May 1, 2013.

    During Christmas holidays I’m going back to my country (spain) so I will process and new visa by then with the new and extended DS-2019 that I already got.

    My question is that if for my first J-1 VISA, which I processed last summer, the “2-year-rule” didn’t apply, is it possible that now this situation will change and have the “2-year-rule” in the new visa? I’m worried because I’m planning to get a K-1 visa in one year.

    Thank you!

    • Hello Alberto, if your program and funding has not changed, then the new J-1 visa should not be subject to 212(e). Good luck, let me know how it goes.

  • Sithara
    5 years ago

    Hi,

    I am from India. I have got my j1 visa with two year home country rule. I am going for a 3 month program and the J1 I got is only valid for 5 months. My questions are

    1. If I am not using the J1 visa, will I be eligible for H4 ( My husband’s H1 is under extension, he will be traveling once his extension is approved. )
    2. I am not getting any financial help from US or Indian government. I am using my private fund to support myself during the stay in US. So how are the chances of getting the waiver ?
    3. Will I be able to extend the j1 with the same organization/ transfer the J1 to some other organization in US?

    Please help me out. I am in serious dilemma..

    Thanks.
    Sithara

    • Hello Sithara, I am not sure about eligibility for H4 visas, sorry. I also cannot tell you about the chance of approval of a waiver request. Under certain conditions, sponsors are able to process extensions or transfers. Please check with your sponsor.

  • Sayana
    5 years ago

    I applied for a tourist visa and they told me is going to take 5 months until I get an answer. And my J1 visa expired on October 1st. Now I would like to go back to my home country and I would like to know if I should wait until I have the answer for my B2 visa or I can just leave without any problem. If later on i want to come back would I be able to apply for another working visa?
    My lawyer told that once the application has started I can stay legally while I wait for the answer.
    Thank you for help.

  • Dear Mario
    I am Indian citizen, and have been in USA on J1 visa for fellowship for about 4 yrs, and do have 212e stating that I am subject to home return rule (India). Although I was working in UK at that time, the J1 visa was issued using India as my home country. Now, I have left US, and am in UK for 2yrs. Can I apply for H visa, or is it required for me to be in India for 2yrs?
    Kind Regards
    Raj

  • Sarah
    5 years ago

    I recieved a J-1 visa for surgical residency here in the US, my contract was for a year and the J-1 visa was for the year with the possibility of extending it. I decided to quit the program and resigned before my contract ended. The Program where I was training told me that because I did not complete the year, the 30 day grace period did not apply to me and that I have to leave the country immediately. What do they mean by immediately? And is it possible to come back the US on a visa waiver as a European citizen before the two years are over? I would appreciate a response. Thank you for you help

    • That is correct, the 30-day grace period does not apply. In practice, “immediately” means as quickly as possible/practical. A few days… Communicate with your landlord, close bank accounts and book a flight. You should not have a problem returning to the U.S. on a tourist visa.

  • Dear Sir,
    I am the student of University of Limerick in Master of science in Software Engineering course in IRELAND in September,2012-August,2013 .I am from INDIA(INDIAN PASSPORT holder) . I want to apply J1 visa from here(IRELAND).I am looking for paid(little allowances for meal, transport) Internship in any good company in U.S.A. from next june,2013 to may,2014(12 months).Internship is not included into my course. I am having summer vacation from June ,2013 to august in 2013. Do I need to apply to the U.S.A. consulate in IRELAND or should I return to my home country and then apply to a U.S.A. consulate? Where will I get the visa easily? I want to apply from here. Can I apply my J1 visa from here? Will I face any problem to get a J1 visa from here?

    • The Department of State requires that you apply for the J visa in your home country. Best of luck.

  • Jane Wong
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario Janssen, I read my comment one more time and find a mistake. Please discard the previous comment and read this one. Sorry for the inconvenience.

    Thank you for taking your time to answer our questions. It really helps a lot to each of us. My situation is :
    (1) When I was in my third year in my home country college, I was sponsored by U.S. Government to attend an Exchange program studying at University of Arkansas from Jul 2010 to Dec 2010 holding J-1 Visa .

    (2) It is checked on my DS-2019 that I was subjected to Two-Year rule for the exchange program.

    (3) After the exchange program was completed, I went back to my home country to finish my degree in home country in Dec. 2010. I graduated from home country college in Jun. 2011.

    (4) in Jul. 2011, I applied for F-1 Visa to study in the U.S. for master degree and I got F-1 Visa successfully and now I am still holding my F-1 VISA studying here.

    (5) I will finish my master degree in May 2013.

    My question is: Can I apply for H Visa to work here in the U.S. after I finish my master program in the U.S.? Do I still subject to the two-year rule from last exchange program? Or the two year rule done’st apply to me due to a new F-1 VISA?

    Thank you for reading my situation and answer my question. Your help will be greatly appreciated. Look forward to hearing from you.

    • Hi Jane, you still have to reside outside the U.S. for 2 years before you qualify for the H visa.

      • Jane Wong
        5 years ago

        Thank you 🙂

      • Jane Wong
        5 years ago

        Hi Mario, I have one more question: How did the USCIS count the two years based on my case? Does the half year that I stayed in my home country from Dec. 2010 to Aug. 2011 count for part of the two-year? Or I have to stay in my home country for 2 consecutive years before I apply for H Visa? Thank you.

  • Hello!Last year I took part in Exchange program and there is an information in my visa that “Bearer is not subject to section 212 (E).Two year rule does not apply”. At this moment i am in my home country and soon my mother will have an interview in embassy for getting green card.Do I have chance to go with her and to get green card with this note in my visa?
    Thank you for reading my guestion!!!Look forward to hearing from you!!

    • Hello Yana. If 212(e) does not apply, you could potentially apply for LPR status (Legal Permanent Resident or “Green Card”). Please check with your mother if you were part of the application. Good luck!

  • Liton
    5 years ago

    I have B1 Visa for five years may I apply for F status. If I do not get F status will US Gov deport or remove me?

    • Hi Liton. A B1 visa allows your to enter the U.S. for tourist or business purposes. When you arrive in the U.S., you wil receive an Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94). This form lists the date on which you must leave the U.S. again. It is important that you don’t stay in the U.S. past this date. Yes, you can certainly apply for an F visa at any time through a college here in the U.S.

  • I have been to the US on a J1 visa for a year on my new passport. But I am going again to the US in January but my B1/B2 visa is in old passport. Was my B1/B2 visa cancelled or is it still valid?

    • When a passport expires, it is usually invalidated by punching holes along the side or bottom of the passport. However, if the passport contains visas that have not yet expired, those pages are often not punched. If that is the case, then your B1/B2 visa is still valid.

  • Ana Mendez
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario, I am currently holding a J1. It is checked in the DS-2019 that I am subjected to Two-years-rule. Now I am applying to get into a US graduate school, but I am afraid that I could get accepted by the university but I would not get the visa. Is it possible for me to get a F or H visa without being the Two-years in my home country? In the US I am just doing an exchange, my degree is from my home country university. Thank you for the help you provide in this blog!

    • Ana, you should not have a problem applying for a visa for grad school. The two-year rule 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas.

  • Tangu
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    Thanks for writing a simple and easy to understand article on J1.
    I read the above comments but my question was not addressed.

    I came to US on Sept 2008 under J1 program to study, got a degree in Dec 2010 and then did Academic Training till Dec 2011 for a total of 18 months. I left US on Jan 19 2012 that was within the one month grace period allowed. When I left US the immigration officer didn’t exit stamp my passport, however i did get entry stamp on it from my home country immigration officer.

    My question is what will USCIS check to verify that I lived in my country for a period of two years that will end on Jan 19, 2014?
    Secondly, do I need to apply for H-1B, assuming I have job offer from a US employer, for applications starting in April 2013 for year starting 2014?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hello Tangu, USCIS tracks entry and departure in their database. They know when you left the U.S. For H applications, I recommend reaching out to an attorney. Good luck!

  • albertm
    5 years ago

    Hi mario
    iam a J-1 visa holder and in my DS 2019 marked not subject to the two years residence requirement and in my visa its written 212(E) DOES APPLY

    so am i required to stay home for two years or not?

    • Interesting situation. It appears like the consular office determined that 212(e) does not apply; however, when the consulate issued your visa, they added the rule to the visa. Remember that 212(e) is only important if you apply for an H, K or L visa after you complete your J program. If this applies to you, then I would recommend applying for a waiver, just to be sure.

  • Harikishan
    5 years ago

    I will be interning on a J1 visa coming summer for 2 months at Rice University. Since I am undergrad. I will return to my home country(India) to complete my Bachelors degree. I have received an invitation to carry out further research work in few other universities in the U.S. Technically will I be exempted from the interm compulsion of the applicant to reside in his/her home country? In other words, can I visit the U.S again? It will be on an even more advanced field of study and research.

    • You can visit the U.S. again on additional J or F visas. Even if 212(e) applies, it only matters when you apply for an H, K or L visa.

  • johan stoustrup
    5 years ago

    Hi.

    I’m currently interning on a J1 visa running out in 4 weeks. 212(e) does apply, but as I’m interested in travelling on a B2 for 5 months afterwards, that shouldn’t be a problem right? Do you think it’s possible to change my status to B2 with so little time, or should I go back to my home country, Denmark, and apply as fast as possible, to be able to return quickly and begin my travels?

    Thanks

    • Hello Johan. It is probably best to return home to Denmark. There should be absolutely no problem to come back to the U.S. on B1/B2 status since 212(e) does not apply to tourist visas. Since you are interested in staying for a relatively long time (5 months), make sure you have a return airline ticket and detailed plans about your trip. You will likely be questioned about your plans for staying 5 months, especially since you were just in the U.S. for a J program.

  • Marcus
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario. I am subject to the two-year rule and I was invited to join a company in the US for a one-year training. They told me they intend to use an H-3 training visa, but as I am subject to section 212(e) I cannot have that visa unless I apply for a waiver right ? On some websites I saw that 212(e) prevents one from receiving H-1B specifically, but not H-3, but others say that is prevents any visa in the H category, which made me confused.

    My question is, some people told me I could also have a J-1 Trainee visa for that one year training. How likely is that a company can sponsor a J1 Trainee instead of the H-3 ? Do you know if there are any big differences or difficulties for a company to sponsor either one of these visas? Considering it is a big multinational company.

    Thank you

    Marcus

    • Hello Marcus. When 212(e) applies, you cannot obtain an H visa, including H-3. You could possible obtain a J-1 Trainee visa. I will reach out to you via email so we can discuss more.

  • Emilio
    5 years ago

    Hi, my name is Emilio (Italian) and I’m an Intern in a NY Arch Firm. since October 20th 2012 with a J1 Visa.
    I obtained my extension for the program and a new J1Visa EXP on July 31st 2012 but this time THE TWO YEAR RULES IS APPLIED.
    I don’t know why, because on my DS 2019 is NOT APPLIED.

    At the end of my program maybe that firm would to ask for me a H1 Visa, but now it will be very difficoult.

    There something that we could do NOW for obtain some waiver for ask a H1 Visa?

    Thanks a lot

    Regards

    • Hello Emilio, as part of the J-1 visa program, the Department of State requires that you return home upon completion of the program. If you apply for an H1 in the future, it would be a good idea to apply for a waiver.

      • Emilio
        5 years ago

        Hi Mario, first of all thanks a lot for your answer!

        my internship will exp on july 31st:
        1. The application for a possible H1 must be start at the end of the intership?
        2. The waiver for the “2 years rule” is difficoult to obtain?
        3. Is it possible that there is a mistake because on DS2019 I’m NOT subject to that rule but only on the VISA?
        4. How I can be sure about it?

        Thanks again!

  • Marianne
    5 years ago

    We have a J-1 individual here for 3 months. They want to go back to their home country for 3 months to work at a sister University and then come back here for 3 months to continue the program. Is this allowed or would they have to stay there for 2 years, assuming the program they were here wasn’t finished?

    • Hello Marianne. I am afraid this is not allowed as J-1 Interns or Trainees cannot be outside their training activity for more than 30 days. They can return to the U.S. for additional Intern or Trainee programs, subject to the repeat participation rules described in the blog post. Hope that helps 🙂

  • Wenjing Li
    5 years ago

    Hello Mario,

    I was issued the J-1 visa as an exchange student to study in the U.S. from August 2008 to May 2009 in my junior year in college. Upon completing the exchange program, I returned to home country and finished my bachelor degree, and then I came back to the U.S. to pursue my master degree in August 2010. I have graduated with my master degree in December 2012, and accepted a job offer from a company, which is willing to sponsor me with H1B work visa.

    However, in the process of applying H1B visa, I realized that I am subjected to the J-1 two year residency requirement, but I have only lived in China for 18 months since I completed my J-1 program. My questions are:

    1. Can I apply H1B visa while I am fulfilling the two year residency in my home country? Will this factor affect the possibility of obtaining the H1B visa?

    2. I have completed the J-1 program in May 2009. Am I still eligible to apply for the two year residency waiver (No Objection Statement)?

    Thank you so much for your help!

    • Hello Wenjing. I am not familiar with the details of the H1 laws, sorry. You should be able to apply for a waiver at any time. Best regards.

      • Wenjing Li
        5 years ago

        Thank you so much for answering my questions. I found this online regarding the qualification of the J-1 HRR waiver:

        “For Chinese nationals, there are seven main requirements, though exact requirements may differ from case to case to obtain the No Objection Statement (NOS).
        1. The NOS applicant must be a Chinese citizen holding a personal passport;
        2. The NOS applicant must have received private or government funding;
        3. The NOS applicant must have been present in the US for one year at the time of application;
        4. The NOS applicant must be at least six months from completing the J1 program;
        5. The NOS applicant must have registered with the Chinese Education Deparment;
        6. The NOS applicant must have settled with the J1 program sponsor regarding housing and financial issues; and
        7. The NOS applicant must provide a valid reason why the NOS should be granted.
        Exceptions can be made in certain circumstances.”

        Based on my understanding, the combination of item 3 and 4 indicates that the J-1 program has to be longer than one and half years to qualify for the waiver, but my program was only 9 months. Does that mean any J-1 visa holder with program shorter than one and half years would not qualify for the waiver? Also, what does “private funding” in item 2 mean? My parents sponsored me all the tuition and expenses during my J-1 program. Does that mean I won’t be qualify for the waiver because I finance the cost on my own?

        Thank you so much for your help!

  • Jose Rafael Nunez
    5 years ago

    Hi,
    I was on the U.S. for an Academic year, as exchange student at the University of Arkansas. My visa say I have to be in my country for 2 years. Can i apply for another J-1 visa as a Summer Work and Travel Program?

  • kumbha
    5 years ago

    Hi,

    I’m a Indian national. as a medical student i did my rotations as Exchange visitor student on J1. MY visa say’s 212 E applies.after finishing it i spent almost 1year & 7 months in my home country and came back to USA for my residency interviews now on B1/B2. i know that time spent here on B1 is not accounted in to 2 year rule my question is if i get a position that sponsors H1 and by the time i go back to India for my visa interview if i still have 1-2 months left in my 2 yr rule what are my chances of approval for that H1 visa sorry for being so complex. this has been bothering me for quite long time. thanks for all your help

    • Unless you obtain a waiver, the H will be denied if you have not resided outside the U.S. for 2 years.

      • Jose Rafael Nunez
        5 years ago

        I don’t know why you do this for free. This is so cool and helpful! God bless you for ever that question was keeping me up for nights and now i can apply for a visa to actually accomplish goals! thanks sooo much again!

  • Hello,

    From October 2011 to September 2012 I was on a J1 trainee programme. This was part of my degree, and I had to return to the UK in September to complete my degree. I am due to graduate in May 2013, and my host company said they would have me back, and that I could apply for a J1 visa as I will have only just graduated. However reading these replies it seems like that is not the case, and that I will have to stay in the UK for two years regardless of just graduating. If the host company were to offer me an internship rather than the training programme would this mean I would be able to get another J1?

    • Hi Amy. It sounds like you are eligible for another Intern program. There are several restrictions (ie the new program cannot duplicate previous training and must address the development of advanced skills or be training in a different field). Feel free to email your resume, previous DS-7002 and an outline of the new program to mario@htp-usa.com. I will see if we can help.

  • Olivia
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    My situation is a bit complex and I can’t manage to find a clear answer: I am currently under a 18-month J1 trainee visa ending in August 2013. I perfectly understood that even if I do not have the 2-year requirement rule on my visa I will have to wait for 2 years before getting another J1.

    But since November 2012 my company is having difficulties and I may have to end my program in March 2013. So I looked for another job and I found a company willing to sponsor me for an H1B. Unfortunately, as you now, the H1B cap has been reached and I can’t start before October 2013 which is too late. My question is: can I cancel my current J1 (sponsor is OK) and get a new one with a new sponsor in a new field? Since I will not have completed the program will I be subject to the 2-year rule? The fact that I would remain under a J1 status for less the maximum regulatory duration (18 months) makes me think this would be possible and also the best solution to stay before getting my H1B.

    Thank you very much for your help!

    • Olivia, once you cancel your current J-1 visa, you have to leave the U.S. and wait 2 years in order to become eligible for another J program. There is another issue… Since your intent is to pursue an employment-based visa, you are already in violation of the J-1 visa regulations. The Department of State requires that you return home upon completion of the J-1 visa program. Best regards.

  • Hi i have j1 visa with 2 years does not apply and im still in usa but my visa will experied in february and i want to take a tourist visa for 6 months but to take from here not to go home is it posssible?

    • Alex, it is best to go home first. Depending on your home country, you may need to apply for a B1/B2 visa. Good luck.

  • Rajesh Raju
    5 years ago

    Hi,

    I was on J1 visa from April 2010 to Dec 2011. Right now I am working in Qatar. I did not return back to my home country (India) afetr the J1 visa. But I was on vaccation for couple of months.

    If I complete two years in some other country as a part of my job, would they consider that as “home residency”

    Also would they consider vaccation stay in india towards 2 year home residency? Thanking you in advance
    Dr. Rajesh

    • You need to reside outside the U.S. for 2 years, it does not necessarily have to be your home country.

      • Rajesh
        4 years ago

        So there would not be any issue if I apply for second J-1 visa or a new H1B after Dec 2013. By Dec 2013, I will be 2 years outside of US.

        Thanks for your reply
        Rajesh

  • Rain Ramos
    5 years ago

    Good Day Sir,

    I am currently having my internship under J-1 program for one year, which will end on May 2013. Based on my visa and DS2019, I am not subject to two-year residence requirement. Is it possible to apply for H-1B and come back after two to three months to the US after the expiration of my J-1 visa? Thank you!

    • Hello Rain. The Department of State requires that you return to your home country upon completion of the program. Once you reside outside U.S., you are free to apply for other visas, including the H visa.

  • eliska
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario.
    I’m hoping that you can help me. Im in my second year as an au pair in the USA on my J-1 visa which will end in 8 months. I’m busy with my associates degree in bussiness management and would like to finish my studies before returning to South Africa. Is there any way that i can apply for another visa to finish my studies. I hope you can help me

    Kind Regards

    • Hi Eliska. Since HTP is a sponsor of the J-1 Trainee and Intern programs, I am not sure about the Au Pair regulations. I recommend reaching out to the sponsor of your Au Pair program. Good luck!

  • Rohit Anand
    5 years ago

    Hi ! I am actually on a J1 research specialist visa from 30th June.2012 to March ,2013.. and I am subject to 212e also. I applied and got a medical residency on a J1 alien physician also subject to 212e and the program starts july 2013.. So can I get a new different J1 for that after I finish with my initial J1 in march. I was planning to go back to India and apply for a new J1 in march .. will the 212e clause be a problem ?

  • Rohit Anand
    5 years ago

    Also I more thing … Is the 2 yr home requirement cumulative ?? if I have 2 J1 visas will I have to do 4 yr home residency ??

  • Julio Solis
    5 years ago

    I came here with a j-1 visa as an AU Pair and 2 year rule does not apply. I got pregnant from my fiance who is a citizen. He wants me to marry him so that i don’t go back home. My j-1 expires in July and I don’t know what to do because i remember cultural care made me sign a paper that says that if i get pregnant i have to leave the us my my j-1 visa expires in July. He is trying to avoid going to a lawyer as it is very expensive. what can we do so that i can stay here and be with him like he wants? what forms would we need and do i have to go back home or not? He wants me to move in with him and get married and find out if i can stay.

    • As a sponsor of the J-1 Trainee and Intern programs, I am not in a position to advise on au-pair programs or applications for Legal Permanent Residency (LPR). Make sure to discuss your situation with your host family and program sponsor and make sure you receive appropriate care. The process to obtain LPR status can be complex and I would highly recommend reaching out to an attorney. Best of luck.

  • BERTRAND BAGO
    5 years ago

    Hi everybody,

    We are both French.
    Both Primary teachers.

    I did live with my wife in San Francisco from 2001 through 2006 (5 years).
    J1 Visa (teacher) for both of us : 2001-2004
    H1 Visa for both of us : 2004-2006
    Since 2006 we live in Singapore.

    A school in the USA is offering to hire us.
    We would love this opportunity but are a little concerned about having to apply somewhere else after 4 years (Visa 5 years + Visa 4 years = 9. Limitation ?)
    Is it possible for us to get a new J1 Visa ?
    Are we limited to the 9 years of Visas ?

    Best regards.
    Lawrence and Bertrand

    • Excellent question. Remember that the J-1 visa program is a cultural exchange program. The intent is for qualified foreign nationals to be able to participate in a program that exposes them to U.S. life and culture. Participants are required to return home upon completion of their program and share their experiences with fellow citizens. There are 2 issues with your situation: a) you did not adhere to program regulations by applying for an H visa and b) since you spent so much time in the U.S. it would be hard to justify that you need additional “cultural exposure”. I recommend reaching out to your original program sponsor and potentially an immigration attorney. Best of luck with the opportunity in the U.S. Hope is works out for you.

  • Paulina
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I was on J-1 visa, at the end of my program i went back home and re-entered the US after 2 months with an F-1 visa a regular full-time student. I am still subject to the 2-year home residency from my J-1 stay?

    Thank you.

  • Mehmet
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I have a question about my J-1 visa status. I have been in the US for 4 years now. My first visit to the US was for a language program and held a J-1 until I finished the program (my J-1 visa was only for one year) Then, I went back to my home country. After two months, I applied for grad school in the US and got accepted. I applied for J-1 again and got it, which was for two years. After completing my masters degree, I applied for PhD and got accepted. I went back home again and applied for a J-1 transfer, but was rejected. I was told that I needed to apply for a new J-1. I did apply and got my new J-1 which is for 3 years and I am still in the US under this visa. All my J-1 visas had the famous ” two year rule applies”

    My question is that does it mean that I have to stay in my home country for 6 years (since I had three J-1 visas) after I finish my degree before I enter the US again in the future or it is only for 2 years?

    Thanks!

  • Hello Sir,

    If I am a fulbright scholar, I have the j-1 and I sign the contract stating I will have to return home after 2 yrs. If I cancel the contract and repay the organization will I still be subject to the 212 (e) 2 year requirement?

  • hi mario,
    great blod and great responses!

    im an indian national and i obtained a J1 visa from singapore in jan 2010 and left US in June 2010, i was residing in singapore and doing my graduate program when i applied for the J1 visa.. so as of now, have i completed the 2 year residency requirement by being in singapore or do i have to be in india for 2 years??

  • Mario,

    My wife came to US on a J-1 visa for six months and the “two year rule does apply” for her, then applied to school and got a F-1 for four years, now we are married and in order to get a greencard for her we need to apply for a Waiver. The only waiver option we are able to apply is the “No Objection Statement”, but unfortunately the government of her country is not willing to provide a letter for her, even though they stated (over the phone) that the decision to stay or come back to the country is exclusively hers, meaning that her government is not opposed, but they are not going to provide a letter for the waiver since it’s not their concern. She’s graduating in May.
    What can we do in this case? Do you have any ideas?

    Tim

    • Tim, the Department of State makes an independent recommendation to USCIS about the waiver request. They likely will not consult with your wife’s home country. Go ahead and file the application based on No Objection and see what happens. Let me know how it goes.

      • Let me see if I got it right.

        According to this website, she needs to send some supporting documents with the application, and the one and only seems to be the letter from her government: “Your home country’s government must issue a No Objection Statement through its Embassy in Washington, DC that it has no objection to you not returning to your home country to satisfy the two-year home-country physical presence requirement and no objection to the possibility of you becoming a U.S. lawful permanent resident.” “You must contact the consular section of your home country’s embassy in Washington, DC to make this request.”

        http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_5503.html#nobjection

        So according to your suggestion, should we look at this step of the waiver process as no-mandatory then?

        Thanks,
        Tim

        • Since your wife’s embassy is not issuing a No Objection statement at this time, you can consider applying for the waiver without the statement. If the State Department rejects the request, you can then use the denial letter to forward to your wife’s embassy and make another application. Hope it works out.

  • Arieb
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I was wondering if I can go the States for vacation in May? The reason is that I got a j1 visa in January 2011 and am subject to the 2 year rule. I am a Dutch resident with a Dutch nationality. Is it possible for me to go on vacation in May?

    Kind regards

    • Yes you can. This should be no problem at all. As a Dutch citizen, you would enter under ESTA. 212(e) has no bearing on your plans to visit as a tourist. Have fun!

  • Rodrigues
    5 years ago

    My wife is American and we are applying for a permanent resident visa (IR1/CR1 VISA), and we have a question about the 212(e) rule regulations. I had a J1-VISA to do my graduate studies at USA and received funding from my home country government for 4 years. I finished my program and returned to my home country to comply with the 212(e) rule, which state that I should go back to my home country for at least two years. It has been two years that I am living in my country. I would like to know if the consul at the American Embassy who is going to interview me has any grounds to deny my (IR1/CR1 VISA) application based in the 212(e) regulations? This is because, even though I stayed the two-years in my home country, I received 4 years of funding from my home country government which probably wouldn’t want me to go back to US. Thank you very much for answering my question.

    • If you resided outside the U.S. for 2 years upon completion of your J program, then you have satisfied the requirements of 212(e). There should be no reason to deny your LPR petition for concerns regarding 212(e).

  • Hi Mario. I’m sponsored by Fulbright J-1, and I understand that I’m required to stay 2 years in my home country to be eligible for future work in the US. But if I’m not interested in going to the States, does this mean I’m free to apply for work or immigration overseas (excluding the US)? Or would I still be required to stay 2 years in my home country before working abroad?

    • Park, you can reside and work wherever you like, just as long as it is outside the U.S. Best regards.

  • Arash
    5 years ago

    Hi,

    I have won 2013 DV-lottery. My case number is AS 8***.
    I will start a medical graduate study next July. Most likely my green wont be ready till when. So, I need to get a J-1 visa in June.

    What can i do to save my green card?

    Regards,
    Arash

    • Congrats, Arash! Your J-1 visa and application for the green card are 2 separate matters. You can be on a J-1 while you apply for the green card.

  • Hello,

    I got a J-1 visa in June 2012 for an exchange student program fo 1 month, i then returned home, will i be able to apply for another J-1 visa this summer of 2013 to study for 1 year in the US ?

    Many Thanks

  • Manuel Andrade
    5 years ago

    hey Mario ,my visa already expired since oct 2011 but my passport doesn’t have that 2 years rule on it ,i’m planning to get married in april but someone told me if i get married i should leave united states for a month ,what do u think?

    • Manual, there is no need to leave the U.S. if you apply for Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status from the U.S. Just make sure that you don’t overstay your current visa. Look at the Program End date on your form DS-2019 or I-20.

  • Hermes
    5 years ago

    Hello,

    I’m on a J1 program as a trainee and not a subject to a 212(e) , my host proposed me to sponsor H visa for the next year.

    Is it possible to return to my home country after J1, and apply directly to an H visa, without waiting 2 years according to a 2 year trainee related rule.

    Thank You

    • Yes, that it possible. Just make sure that you return home and then start the process for the H1.

      • Hermes
        5 years ago

        Thank you for your answer,

        Just to clarify a bit – they are even cannot make the application for the h1 on the apr 1st next year until i leave US ?

  • Truong Nghiem
    5 years ago

    I have been on J-1 visa for my PhD study, and I am subjected to the two-year residence requirement (that is noted on my DS-2019). I finished my PhD study 5 months ago and continued as a postdoc on Academic Training (AT) of the same J-1 program. Meaning that my DS-2019 is basically the same, only extended for 1 more year for AT. As I understand, my J-1 program has not finished until I finish my AT. Am I right?

    Now is my main question. My postdoc contract is for 12 months (Sep 30, 2013). Let say after that, I end my AT as well as my J-1 program and go back to my home country. Then immediately I am offered a postdoc position under J-1 visa starting in Nov 2013. Note that in Nov 2013, I am 13 months from my PhD completion but only 1 month from my AT (old J-1 program) completion. Will I be eligible to go back to the US for my new J-1 postdoc position?

    Thanks!

    • Truong, you should be able to return on a new J-1 post doc immediately. 212(e) does not apply to J visas, only to H, K and L visas.

  • laura
    5 years ago

    Hi! I was on a J-1 Visa and after my internship I came home. Im subject of section 212(e). I am moving to work in another country (nor US nor my home country). If I spend two years in that country, will I have satisfied my “Two-year rule”? Can I then apply for a Visa to work in the US?
    thanks!

  • Emerald
    5 years ago

    I got a J1 Exchange visitor visa for Mar-July 2012, which was almost the period I spent in US for my sponsored development program. The 2 years home residency rule does apply. In the meantime, I am married to a US citizen in my home country and we’re in the process of applying the immigration papers. I need to know if I can apply for a waiver now? and whether applying the immigration papers will take place now (almost a year since the J1 visa issue date) or application is considered effective after the 2 years condition is totally fulfilled?
    Thank you in advance.

  • Lynn Cormack
    5 years ago

    I had a J1 visa 2007-2008 I then transferred to an F1 for 2 years. I have now been on an M1 visa which will expire in August 2013 for 3 years. Can I reapply for a J1 visa. I am taking part in training in an adults with developmental delays program facility and the training is not yet finished.

    • Lynn, it may be hard finding a sponsor who would issue another J-1 visa. Remember that the Department of State’s goal of the J-1 visa program is to provide educational and cultural exchange programs that expose foreign national to U.S. life and culture. Since you have been here since 2007, it will be hard to claim that you need additional exposure to U.S. culture.

  • Dear Mario,

    I interned on a J1 visa from feb 2011 til June 2011. My J1 was not subject to 212 (e), since that was stated on my visa and on my DS2019. I have been living back in the EU since June 2011, although I visited the US 3 times after I left in June 2011. I’m making up my mind to apply for another J1 (since I was offered an internship again) or a F1 visa (I’m interested to do an extension year of college on top of my degree too). My main concern is that I’m in a relationship with a US citizen (I’m keeping marriage in time in mind) and that I want to avoid me having to go home to my home country for 2 years. Since I was not a bearer of the 212 (e) before, I am wondering what the chances will be that I again will not be a bearer of the 212 (e). Because of what I understand from reading the messages above, not being subject to the 212 (e) still allows me to stay in the US when my J1 or F1 will end and I will get engaged with my boyfriend (K?)? Who/what decided if I will be a bearer that is (not) subject to the 212(e)? Thanks so much!!

    • Katy, the decision whether 212(e) applies is made by the consulate. The decision is based on several factors, ie area of training, your country of citizenship, whether the program is (partially) funded by the U.S. or your government, etc. It is hard to predict whether 212(e) will apply to your new program. Remember that you can always decide to not start the program, even after the J-1 visa is issued (212(e) will only go into effect after you enter the U.S. on J status). Another option would be to apply for a waiver… Good luck.

      • Thanks Mario! So just to make things clear:

        1) Can I only accept the offered internship from June 2013 and apply for a second J1 visa, because my first J1 visa ended in June 2011? (despite the fact I was not subject to the 212(e) rule on my feb 2011-june 2011 J1 visa)

        2) Can I decide not to start the internship if the consulate decides to do make me a bearer that is subject to the 212 (e) this time? And even though the visa is in my passport, does it still allows me to travel to the US as a tourist? Will customs not be denying me from entering the country?

        3) If I will not be subject to 212 (e) on my new J1 visa again, am I allowed to get engaged to my boyfriend and change my status to K without leaving the country? Will I not violate the J1 rules that you have to have an intend to return to your home country?

        Thanks Mario! Your help is much appreciated!

  • Cindy Koppert
    5 years ago

    Hi,

    I have been working as a restaurant manager under a j1 visa. I returned in july of 2012. Now I’m looking to go back, on my visa it says, two year rule does not apply. Does this mean I can apply for another J1 visa?

    • Hi Cindy. The repeat participation rule of the J-1 visa regulations allows you to participate in another Trainee program. However, you have to reside outside the U.S. for 2 years (ie July 2014) before you qualify for another Trainee visa. In addition, your new program “must address the development of more advanced skills or a different field of expertise”. In other words, you can’t duplicate previous training. Hope that helps…

    • Hi Mario, thanks for all you useful information so far!

      2 Quick question which I can’t find on the internet:
      1. If I (and my company) apply for a J1 visa and it is not government-funded, graduate medical training or specialized knowledge training, does that mean I am NOT subject to section 212(e) and therefore to not have to abide by the 2 year rule.

      2. Looking at the Exchange Visitors Skills list my country (U.K) is not listed: again, does that mean I am not subject to section 212(e).

      Thanks in advance
      TW

      • Hello TW,

        The decision whether 212(e) applies is ultimately made a the U.S. consular officer. It depends on various factors and it difficult to predict. Best regards.

  • Cindy Koppert
    5 years ago

    But if it says on my visa ‘the two year rule does not apply, does this still mean i have to be home for two years? Then why does it say that on my visa?

    • Cindy, if your visas states that “two year rule does not apply”, it means that 212(e) does not apply. That’s great, as it allow you to apply for an H, L or K visa (or LPR status) without having to reside outside the U.S. for 2 years.

      If you are interested in participating in another J-1 program, you have to abide by the J-1 visa regulations and specifically section 62.22(n), the “Additional Program Participation” article. According to this article Trainees must wait 2 years in order to qualify for repeat participation. Full text can be found here.

  • Hi Mario,

    I’m a EU citizen and got offered an internship at a big international film corporation in the US. They want me to intern for them from the beginning of June til the end of August. They told me that should all go well, they can invite me back for the Fall semester (starting in the second week of september til the end of december); however, there is a mandatory break between internship periods (their corporations policy). What would be wise to do? I know the supervisor personally and am pretty sure they would be interested to have me as an intern in the fall semester as well. However I don’t feel like flying back to Europe for 2 weeks, apply for a new visa at the same company (I’m not even sure how long a new application will take me and I don’t to risk duplicating knowledge and experience). Is there any other option you would suggest me to look into? I would prefer to just apply for a J1 visa from June til december.

    Thanks Mario! – Cheers, Tony

    • Hello Tony, from a J-1 visa perspective, it would be better to arrange an internship from June to December. In addition, it eliminates the need for extra travel and visa expenses. I would try to convince the host organization that the break is not really possible with the J-1 visa. An alternative would be to temporarily transfer to another host organization. This transfer would need to be approved by your program sponsor.

  • Chintan Raval
    5 years ago

    Respected Sir,
    I went to US in the summer of 2012 under J-1 category the International Experience program. it was partially funded by my University. Now i am going to appear for GRE next month and looking forward to apply for Masters next year 2014 in USA.
    can you guide me through this J-1 to F-1 category confusion??
    i desperately need your advise
    regards,
    chintan

    • Hello Chintan, the F-1 visa will be issued by the University. They will be able to explain the process to you. When you completed your J-1 program and left the U.S., your J-1 status expired. There should not be an issue obtaining the F visa.

  • Sharanya Madhavan
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I have question on behalf of a friend.

    My friend came for an exchange program in 2009 on a J1 Visa. Her DS2019 has neither a check on Section 2E applies nor on does not apply, but just the stamp of the immigration officer. According to the school she visited, the 2 year rule does not apply for her. She then went on a F1 visa and completed her Masters. She recently joined job and was planning to file her h1b this year. But the immigration team is saying that they need proof to prove that the two year does not apply. This proof may take upto few months according to the research she did. But if she does not apply for H1B this year she may have to return to the country. We have the program number on the DS2019 form.
    Is there any way for her to prove that she was not subject to that rule? She already contacted the school for letter, but will that suffice? Any information would be helpful.

    Thanks.

    • If the visa stamp indicates that 212(e) applies, then the consulate found a reason to apply 212(e) when the actual visa was processed. One option would be to apply for a waiver, which will take some time.

  • Marios Karas
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I am subject to 212e, since I received funding from US goverment.
    1) How likely is to waive this, under the IGA?
    2) How easlily is to apply for o-1 visa?
    3) Is the two year rule cumulative? I can split my time in parts?
    4) Since I am a EU citizen, how they can find out if I am in my country, or another EU country?

    Thanks in advance

    • Marios, it is hard to say if a waiver is granted; it depends on various factors. Most requests that I see are approved. I am not aware of the process for O visas. As long as you reside outside the U.S., you should be fine. Best regards.

  • Liliana
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I am on J1 visa Trainee program until March 13, and I have the waiver for 2 years rule. I applied for change of status to F1 to take a computer course, and my change of status I539 was just approved on February 18. My course will start on March 18. At the end of April, my boyfriend (US citizen) and I planned to get marry. In my passport, the J1 visa expired I don’t have a F visa, and I never overstayed.

    Question 1: Can I apply Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status at the end of April, without leaving the US? Or do I have to leave US first, get a F visa and only then apply for LPR?

    Question 2: On what status I am now, J1 Trainee of F1? The J1 trainee program will end on March 13, or now it is cut since my change of status to F1 was approved?
    Can I continue working on J1 until the end of program (until March 13)?
    I heard that F1 will be effective only after the school course will start (Mar 18), is that true? Please advise.

    Thanks,
    Liliana

  • Lily M.
    5 years ago

    Hello Mario! I hope you can answer my question. I had a J1 visa for 10 months to the states from march 2012 until january 2013 i am already back in my home country however in my visa says: Bearer is not subject to section 212 (e) trainee. Does that means i have to wait 2 years to enter american territory? I do have b1b2 visa also, i am very worry If i cannot go to the states for two years from now. Please i need some orientation on this subject. Thanks! I will appreciatte your response.

    • Lily, you should be able to reenter the U.S. on B1/B2 status without any problem. Just make sure you have a return ticket back to your home country and enjoy your next trip to the U.S.!

  • rasha
    5 years ago

    hi mario
    am from Jordan , i been in j1 visa ,SWT for like 3 years , i applied to b1/b2 lately and i got it for like 5 years , i didnt use the b1/b2 now am planning to apply for j1 swt again this year , am in my last semester , am planning to repeat some classes when am done with swt this summer , do u think i ll get the visa again , and what if they refuse me , is there any chance my b1/b2 visa will get canceled thanks alot

    • As long as you are student, you should qualify for the SWT program. The B1/B2 visa is different from the J-1; your B1/B2 will not be cancelled if your J-1 is not issued (unless there are serious reasons for rejecting the J of course).

  • John Soerensen
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    Thanks for a lot of very useful answers. I’m a graduate student from Denmark and from the fall of 2013 I want to take a full one-year graduate degree in the US. Upon graduating my plan is to find a job, so that I can stay in the US with my girlfriend who is American. It seems that a J1 visa vil prevent me from staying in the US due to the two-year rule, but is there another visa that I could apply for in the first place, that won’t trigger the two-year rule, so that I can stay in the US after graduating?

    Is there a path so that I can study a one-year masters degree and then find a job that will let me stay in the US longterm?

    Best,
    John

    • John, good questions… The reality is that student/training visas (F, M, J) are all part of the Department of State’s cultural exchange program. The objective of the program is to allow qualified foreign nationals like yourself to be exposed to American culture and life; and then return home to share your experiences with fellow countrymen. All in an effort to create better understanding between people of the U.S. and people around the world. This objective is met through various programs, such as study, internship, scholar, etc. An important requirement of participation in any of these programs is that you return home upon completion of the program. If you are interested in longer term work opportunities, you could research H visas. Good luck.

  • Hi Mario,
    I am MD graduated who started
    post Doc fellow ship at the well-known hospital! I does apply for two years rule and I don`t know why?! because my fund is provided by private hospital and My field is not listed in the exchange program list! I have not any NIH or governmental fund! So I don`t know why they put me in this rule! so what do you think?! and how can I change my status?!
    Thanks
    Java

    • Java, there are various reasons why 212(e) can apply. In any case, you can always apply for a waiver, if needed.

  • Michael
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,
    I’m a US citizen and my wife is a Chinese citizen. Last November (2012), we started the application process for CR-1 for my wife. We are at the stage where we are filling out the DS-230. It was in this form where we realized my wife has not fulfilled her J-1 visa 2-year rule. She went to the US to teach Chinese at an University’s summer program from June 15 – August 12, 2011 (then stayed to do sightseeing until August 26). Also, last summer, she was on a B2 visa to the US from June 25 – August 24, 2012. So now we are not sure if we should proceed with the DS-230.

    1.) Based on the above information, when would her 2-year be officially over?
    2.) Should we wait until the 2-year rule to be over before sending in the DS-230?
    3.) If we send in the DS-230 now, providing sufficient information about the J-1 visa trip, might they still reject the DS-230 application?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Michael, in order to satisfy 212(e) the foreign national must reside outside the U.s. for 2 years. In your scenario, it may be worthwhile obtaining a waiver. Good luck, Mario

  • Julia
    5 years ago

    Hi there 🙂
    I have a question. I’m currently enrolled in a student exchange program and my visa says that the two year rule applies to me. However it also says multiple entries. I’m planning on going to a science trip to Toronto with my school and have a signed D-2019.
    Does my two year rule status affect re-entry to the US, if I leave the country for a day during my program and my visa won’t expire until a couple month after the trip?
    Thanks!!!

    • Hi Julia, the two year rule does not affect travel outside the U.S. during your program. Just make sure that you have your program sponsor validate your DS-2019 for travel.

  • Andrew Gadah
    5 years ago

    Hi there,

    Some really useful information on here, thanks!

    Anyway, I cannot seem to get a relevent answer from anyone regarding the visa mess up I am in at the minute. I travelled on a J1 visa last year to particpate in the summer camp program. The visa I got was issued for 5 years however my DS2019 which matches up to it was only vaild for the 3 months I was out there for.

    After several emails and phone calls I have been advised that the Visa was issued in Mistake and will be oficially cancelled with a stamp when at the embassy again next month as I am going back to Camp. There are no annotations on the Visa etc so very confused and worried incase it will cause any porblems this year?

    Any help would be most apreciated!

    Many thanks!

  • Hi Mario,
    Thanks a million for the invaluable information you have given.
    I had an internship on a J1 visa from Oct 2010 – April 2011 in a IT related field. I am interested in doing another internship. From the information I have gather from above, I know I can apply for another J1 visa as 2 years has passed since I left the States.
    The issue is, 212(e) applys to me, and though I am on a visa in my current place of residence, where I live and school. Having a 2 year presence in my home cou try isnt really an other at this very moment.
    I intend to apply for a No objection waiver, but I am confused as to when to apply. From what I understand, if its possible for me to even apply for my old J1 which was over in Apr 2011, I will have a new 212(e) requirement when I apply for my next and new J1 visa.
    If that is the case, it is possible to apply for the new J1 visa, and then apply for the waiver after I received that. (I read from one of your answers to a someones question that, 212(e) arent cumulative and me getting a new J1 visa doesnt mean I will have to stay 4 years in my home country)

    Thank you in advance.

    Regards
    Abe

    • Abe, in order to apply for another J-1 visa, you do not need a waiver. 212(e) applies only to H, K and L visas.

      • That much I understand. What am worried about is, once I get a new J1 and apply for a waiver. Will that waiver clear me of 212(e) (home country requirement) and also the 2 years outside the US rule.
        In order words, once I get a waiver, is it possible to switch to say H1 visa, when I have a company willing to file for me, without having to leave the states for 2 years.

  • Peter Weiss
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    Thanks so much for this fantastic blog.
    I have the following question:

    I am German, got a Swiss fellowship ( for one year) and came on a J-1 as a postdoc to the US. In this DS2019 document the 2-year rule applies.
    Now after less than a year my professor extended my contract and was willing to pay me. So I went back to Germany to extend my Visa. Now on the second visa (j-1) and on the the DS2019 it says now: two year rule does NOT apply.
    I am confused now. Which statement counts ?

    • Hi Peter, good question. It appears to me that the 2 year rule that applies to your first DS-2019 still applies. But remember that 212(e) only applies to applications for H, K and L visas.

  • Kristina
    5 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I hope you can help me out with some advice. I interned for 5 months (Feb-Jun) in 2011 on a J1 visa (and I was NOT subject to the 212(e) rule) and left the US in July 2011. I have been living back home in the Netherlands since then, although I visited the US 3 times (each for a time of 3-5 weeks) to visit my boyfriend. I’m thinking about applying for another internship at another internship company than the one that hosted me in 2011 (on a J1 visa) that will not duplicate my experiences so far. Another option would be to enroll into college on a F1 visa status. I want to be with my boyfriend and want to keep a US career (H) or marriage (K) in mind.

    My questions for you:

    1) Is the 212(e) rule also part of the F visa or is it just part of the J visa?

    2) Would it be possible to apply for an internship in June 2013 (my previous internship ended at the end of June 2011) on a J visa until August 2013, go back to the Netherlands and apply for a F visa to go to college in the US in January 2014? I would like to know if I can combine both options.

    3) If I will be subject to the 212(e) rule this time, can I apply for a waiver (from my home country) before the internship starts to see if it goes through. So that if the waiver doens’t go through, I will still have the possibility to not enter the US on the visa.

    Thanks so much Mario! You are a big help to so many!

    • Kristina, as far as I know, 212(e) does not apply to F visas. It is possible to apply for another J visa once you have resided outside the U.S. for 2 years. This 2 year rule is a result of section 62.22(n) of the J-1 visa regulations. 212(e) does not go into effect until you enter the U.S. on J status. You can always apply for a waiver. Best regards.

      • Kristina
        5 years ago

        Thanks so much Mario! I appreciate all your help. There’s only one more thing I can’t seem to figure out. Can you apply for a green card at any time? Even if you are subject to the 212 (e) rule? Best regards.

  • Akeel
    5 years ago

    Hi,

    My nationality is Iraqi but I was born in Syria and did my medical school there. I am applying for J1 visa sponsored by ECFMG. Iraq’s Ministry of Health wouldn’t provide me with statement of need for medical training in US, so I have to use the statement from Syria’s Ministry of Health? Do you think I will be subject to 2 -3year Syria country service rule? by the way is Iraq subject to 2 year rule if the government doesn’t sponsor you?

    I really appreciate your help!

    • Hi Akeel, it is possible that a statement from the Syria Ministry of Health will suffice, but I would check with ECFMG. It is very hard to predict under which circumstances 212(e) will apply. ECFMG should be able to provide guidance. Good luck.

      • Akeel
        5 years ago

        Thank you very much. I appreciate your help!

  • Marcelo Conrado
    5 years ago

    Dear Mr. Janssen,

    I’m Brazilian and I’m currently doing an internship in the US, it’s a management training program in the Rooms Division department for Marriott hotels, I started in may 2012 and its gonna last until may 2013 (12 months). This is my second J1, the first was for a work and travel program during college in 2008. I’m really counfused about the two-years rule at the moment. The stamp on my visa says: “Bearer is not subject to 212(e)”, two-years rule does not apply. I’d like to apply for another J1 visa for a more structured management program (assistant manager) after it finishes, but the exchange agency that I’ve been in touch that could offer me these kinds of programs said that I have to apply for a waiver of the two-years rule in Washington DC in order to get a new J1, because this massage is shown in most of the J1 visas and I should disregard that. I just don’t understant why should I apply for that once it seems to be very clear in my visa and in my DS2019 as well. It would be easier if I could just start the whole process while I’m still working for the present employer and apply for a new visa here in America in any of the Brazilian’s embassy. I’ve filled out the form to request the waiver already, but I’d like a second opinion from you because, while talking with another agency that could be able to sponsor me they said that if the rule doesn’t apply to me, I could move on. I just don’t want to spend time and money if something can end up going wrong. It’s critical to my career that I stay here in the US working for the Marriott Hotels. Thank you for your time.

    I look forward to your responde at your earliest convenience.

    Best regards,

    Marcelo Conrado
    Atlanta – GA

    • Hello Marcelo,

      212(e) only applies to applications for H, K and L visas. But since your visa and DS-2019 state that “212(e) does not apply”, you could potentially apply for an H, K or L visa without obtaining a waiver. Now, in order to apply for another J-1 visa, you need to meet the requirements set forth in section 62.22(n) of the J-1 visa regulations. Please see this post for details.

  • shashank pandey
    5 years ago

    HI,
    I visited US last summers on j1 visa so section 212e now applies on me so i am on 2 yr home country stay but i wish to visit US again this summers. how can i get waiver for 212e on my j1 visa .

    • Hello Shashank, you can visit the U.S. for tourist purposes if you have a valid B1/B2 visa. For any other purpose, you will need a training or work visa. I recommend that you Google the various options.

  • Sudhakar
    5 years ago

    Hello Marcelo
    I have worked as postdoctoral fellow in USA from June 2010 to October 2011 (subjected to section 212 (e) rule). After that, I came back to India and started to work here. Now my professor in USA is again calling me for another postdoctoral fellowship program.
    A) Am I eligible for applying for another J1 visa without completing my two year residence in India?
    B) If I wanted to change my visa status to H1, whether I can apply in November 2013?

    Thanks
    Sudhakar

    • Hello Sudhakar, you should be able to participate in another J program as 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. Good luck!

  • Sudhakar
    5 years ago

    Hi Marcelo
    When I have enquired with program officer, they reply is like this

    “I am not referring to the home residency requirement (212(e)). The 24 month bar is a separate rule that applies to all J scholars that come to the US in the Research Scholar and Professor categories” – Brittny Malbrue, GIT, Atlanta.

    Is there any 24 month bar for J1 scholars? kindly let me know

    Thanks
    Sudhakar

    Hello Marcelo
    I have worked as postdoctoral fellow in USA from June 2010 to October 2011 (subjected to section 212 (e) rule). After that, I came back to India and started to work here. Now my professor in USA is again calling me for another postdoctoral fellowship program.
    A) Am I eligible for applying for another J1 visa without completing my two year residence in India?
    B) If I wanted to change my visa status to H1, whether I can apply in November 2013?

    Thanks
    Sudhakar
    Reply

    *
    Mario Janssen says:
    March 19, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Hello Sudhakar, you should be able to participate in another J program as 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. Good luck!

  • Hi
    I accelerated my uni degree and finished in December 2011 instead of June 2012. If I had finished in June 2012 I still would be able to apply for the J1 visa. However because I was supposed to finish in June, can I still apply?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Sam, you can still apply for a J-1 visa, but since you have now graduated more than a year ago, you will need to apply as Trainee (versus Intern). The additional requirement is that you have at least one year relevant experience.

      • Hi Mario,

        Thanks for your helpful response. I actually do have professional experience gained during my degree as I worked full time. In regards to the trainee program, the J 1 website says that ‘Sponsors may not place trainee participants in positions, which are filled or would be filled by full-time or part-time employees.’ I’m a bit unsure of what this means. Does this mean that when I reach the US i can only apply to junior internship positions? Or am I still able to apply to full time junior paid positions using this visa? Thank you for your help!

        • Also can ‘demonstrable work experience of one year’ include volunteer, internship or part time paid positions? Thanks!

  • Chris
    5 years ago

    Is there anyway of finding out if an internship will be subject to the 212(e) rule prior to applying for the J-1 Visa?

    I would like to undertake a specific internship that i have organised with the intention of applying for a HB1 visa prior to the April deadline in 2014 but don’t want to risk doing it if this would jepodie the chances of successfully getting this.

    I work in the design / engineering industry and am a resident of the UK

    • Hi Chris, the J-1 visa is part of the Department of State cultural exchange program. As part of the program, you are required to return to your home country upon completion of the program. The J program is not a vehicle to change status to H. Good luck pursuing either option.

  • Varun Shinde
    5 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I was on J1 visa from 11th Sept 2010 to 7th Sept 2011 (My training got completed on 2nd Sept 2011 and I returned to India on 7th Sept 2011). I have been working in India since then.

    Currently, I have procured admission to Georgia Tech for Fall 2013. I will need to report to the university around Aug 15.

    I know that I am eligible for F1 visa. However, will I have any issues to get the H1B visa after I complete my education in the US, since I do not strictly complete two years stay in India. (I would be 15 days short)?

    I have two options to resolve this issue:
    1. Complete 15 days stay at a later stage during my studies. Will this count for the two years I complete?
    2. Get F1 visa and defer my admission to the university by 1 year. This will allow me to complete the two years stay in India.

    Please let me know what would be the best option for me, since I have got my dream school and I do not want to miss this opportunity. Thanks for your help in advance.

    Kind Regards,
    Varun Shinde

    • Hello Varun, congratulations on your admission to Georgia Tech! Based on your message, I would enroll in GA Tech in the Fall of 2013. If you believe you may want to petition for an H visa after your studies, you should seek legal advice, which you could easily do during your studies. One option may be to apply for a waiver. Good luck.

  • Dear Mario,

    Thank you for this great blog!
    I am currently a J1 Research Scholar subject to 2 year HRR at California, I would like to if it is possible for me to change to J1 trainee without leaving US. If it is possible, such J category change is difficult generally? (FYI, I met the requirements for applying a J1 trainee and the category change would stay in the same objective)

    Thank you,
    Andy

    • Andy, the Department of State strongly discourages change of status in the U.S. They require that J-1 Trainee and Intern program sponsors ensure that their participants apply for the J-1 visa at a consular post overseas.

  • Tippy
    4 years ago

    I have plan for training programe in US.
    But now I already applied a greencard visa (F4), estimate their process time is around 10 years waiting.
    So I wonnder about it will effect with J1 visa which I will apply in this year or not, in case I’m in the process waitng Greencard visa?

    • Tippy, the J-1 visa is a cultural exchange visa. One important requirement of the program is that participants return to their home country upon completion of the program. When applying for the J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy, a consular officer will evaluate your application to make sure you have no intention to reside in the U.S. permanently. Since you have applied for a greencard, you have shown immigrant intent and you will most likely not be able to obtain a J-1 visa.

  • Stephanie
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario
    I was in the u.s. with j1 of student non degree category from aug. 2011 to may. 2012 and 2 yr rule didn’t apply.

    I’m planning to apply for another j1 visa as an internship program.
    As long as I don’t apply with same category, am I allowed to apply again?

    Thank you!

  • Biljie Pabalate
    4 years ago

    hello! last spring 2012 i’v participated in J-1 visa however my visa states that bearer is not subject to INA section 212(E), so should i stay first in my home country before applying for working visa? and is it necessary for me to have an agency to apply for that working visa or i can apply by myself?

    thank! looking forward for your response

    • If you are not subject to 212(e), then you do not have to reside outside the U.S. for 2 years before applying for an H, K or L visa. I recommend hiring an immigration attorney.

      • Biljie Pabalate
        4 years ago

        thank you so much…im looking for a positive outcome 😀 hope i could work back in USA

  • Adhithya Joe
    4 years ago

    Sir ,

    i actually did my summer internship at Texas A&M from may 20 2012 – august 20
    2012 . my concern is that because of the two year rule i will not be able to come back for doing my masters atleast 3 months after procuring my U.G degree ! .Now, is there a procedure that could help me getting back before the end of my two year period ?

    thanks .

    • Hello Adithya, 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas, so you should be fine pursuing a Master’s degree in the U.S. for which you will most likely need an F visa.

  • Adhithya Joe
    4 years ago

    Sir, thanks for the info . Again , my DS 2019 has a tick on that “212(e) rule applies” check box . that should not be a problem right ??

    thanks again .

  • Nikhil
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I am in US for an internship from Jan 2013 to May 2013 on a J-1 visa and 212(e) applies. I will return to my home country and to satisfy the 2-year rule, technically, I will be eligible to apply for a H visa after May 2015, right?

    Here is my situation:
    I plan to apply for a Masters degree in US in Fall 2015 and after 2 years of being on F-1, convert to H visa for work. For this to happen, I should satisfy my 2-year requirement well before coming for my Masters. Fall 2015 programs start around August 2015 and so I will “enter” US sometime in July 2015 which is more than my 2-year requirement. BUT, I will have to apply for an F-1 visa sometime around May-June 2015. So, when I apply for a F-1 visa, I will not have fulfilled my 2-year requirement (assuming I apply for this F-1 visa in May 2015). And I will get the F-1 visa too without hassles. But this visa will be valid for Masters when I enter US sometime in July 2015 (successfully fulfilling my 2-year requirement now).

    My question: So, when I convert from F-1 to H visa later after Masters, will they check for fulfillment of 2-year rule as :
    1) Difference in dates when I exited US now till the date when I got the F-1 visa approved (I will fail to fulfill this)
    OR
    2) Difference in dates when I exited US now till the date when I enter US the next time. (I will fulfill this)

    Thank you Mario!

    P.S: Thank you for answering my question last time
    http://blog.htp-usa.com/2011/08/03/the-j-1-visa-explained-1-what-is-the-two-year-rule-2/#comment-591
    Following your advice I got a J-1 visa now. Thank you very much.

  • Arnaud
    4 years ago

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for that great Blog!

    I’d like to ask you one question. I went last year in the US for an exchange program in a winery in California and my visa was a J-1Trainee. I’m 26 and I’m graduated from a French business school in 2010. I’ve finally landed a job for a french company who wants to sell its products in the US and offer me a position in Chicago. As you explain in your blog, it’s write on my previous DS-2019 that: “The 2-year rule does not apply to me, because the consular officer did not check the box for section 212(e) on my DS-2019”.

    I’d like to know if I can apply for another J-1 trainee in 2013 even if I obtained my previous J-1 in 2012 ? This job doesn’t come from an exchange program with a US sponsor but from a French company.

    Thanks very much in advance,
    Best regards,

    Arnaud

    • Hi Arnoud, the J-1 regulations require that you reside outside the U.S. for 2 years before you can apply for another Trainee visa. This requirement is separate from 212(e).

  • drwin
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I am an Indian physician currently doing a medical residency in US and I am subject to the 2 year home rule. however, due to extreme difficulties and biases at my program I could not satisfactorily complete my residency. I started in June 2012 and my visa expires in June 2013.
    My question to you is:
    1) Would I still have the 2 year home rule applicable to me, even if I did not complete the program? (the 212 (e) mentions 2 year after completion of the program
    2) I wish to leave the States and come back on F1 visa. Would that be possible for me?
    3) Would I have to apply for a J1 waiver given my situation of non completion of the program?
    Thank you very much for answering my questions!

    • Hi Drwin. I am sorry to hear your program is not what you expected. 212(e) applies, even if you don’t complete the program. Check with the university where you would like to study about the F visa. 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas, so you do not need a waiver.

  • zogy Hossein
    4 years ago

    Hey Mario :
    thank u for this informative blog , it was really useful .
    i have a question for u :
    I have been recently to the states for a short political leadership exchange program “for 2 weeks only ” on J1 visa “for which case the 2 years outside the US residence requirement applies for me “. As a matter of fact , I just got back from the US to my home country 3 weeks ago ,which means It`s going to be lifted after March 2015 .
    As this program is allocated for young individuals & i was still a young student at MEDICAL COLLEGE with tremendous extracurricular interest in politics i got accepted into it “& it was mainly about shadowing US politicians …

    Q1 ) Now i`m applying for a B1B2 visa to do a brief clinical elective at a medical hospital , which is completely different filed & it`sd my main field of interest & i`m looking focusing my future career on it .
    my questions is , , would that Be ok impede , with getting the B1b2 visa ? ..
    ——–
    Q2) i may would like to finish my post grad in medicine in the US , would i be able to apply for another J1 Visa during the nxt 2 years , despite having the 2 year requirement condition being applied for my case due to the previous visa .I`m currently a final year student , still having 12 months before I graduate , So can , I apply for clinical matching on J1 visa at 2014 , before the 2 years ban is lifted

    • Hello Zogy, your previous J visa as a government visitor, short term scholar should not have an impact on your application for a B1B2 visa. You can apply for another J visa in the next 2 years; 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas.

  • Paulina
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario,
    I am Phd student with Fulbright scholarship, it will be 5 years in July and I am subject to 2 year home residency. Will I be able to do Postdoc Research or working in a company for 1 year with Academic Training visa? Thanks so much for your answer.

    • Hello Paulina, you will be able to apply for Academic Training; 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. Good luck.

  • I am from Iran and hold J1 visa and it seems that 2 year is applied to my visa. But, when I check the department of state website (http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_4514.html), it says that if your country does not appear on this list, there is no requirement to return to your home country for two years at the end of your program, based on the skills list !!

    what should I do now? Do I need to pass the regular way to waive it for me or it is just a mistake and does not need to give the no objection letter to department of state?

    Thanks a lot for your help.

    • Hi Tah, if your DS-2019 states that 212(e) applies, then you have to abide by it. What are your plans? Remember that 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas.

      • Thanks Marion. Actually he did not check non of those options in my DS-2019 !! However, I can see that in my VISA it is written that TWO-YEAR RULE APPLIES! Does it mean that I need apply to waive it for me?

      • Thanks Mario. Actually he did not check non of those options in my DS-2019, there is just a stamp of department of homeland security on my DS-2019 !! However, I can see that in my VISA it is written that TWO-YEAR RULE APPLIES! Does it mean that I need apply to waive it for me?

  • Priyamvad
    4 years ago

    Hello! If i apply for a internship/training program for a duration of 6 months in the United States, and am accepted. When I complete the program and return to my school in Switzerland, what would be my status for the visa? Would i be able to return next year for a different internship again? Please note that I have never visited the United States before.

  • Michael
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario!
    I really appreciate your blog, great work!
    Probably somewhere in this “knowledge base” the answer can be found, but I didnt 🙁
    Ive been offered an internship position (private enterprise) in the US, requiring a J1. After completing the internship and staying 4 month in my home country in Europe Id like to reenter the US for a master’s program, requiring a j1 and funded by government-related scholarships. Id appreciate your opinion whether this is possible or if there are any remedies to that issue.
    Kind regards

    • Hello Michael. Yes, you can return to the U.S. to study. You should not have any problems obtaining an F or another J visa.

  • Hi Mario,
    I’m in a trainee program and have a J1 visa for 12 months. I receive a monthly stipendium from the host company. I don’t receive funding from the government in my home country. In my DS-2019 it says “‘Bearer is not subject to section 212(E) two year rule does not apply”. But in my visa it says 2 year rule does apply. Is it a mistake from when they printed my visa or could it actually be other reasons so the rule actually does applies?
    Can it be different rules for my DS-2019 and my visa?

    And let’s say it is a printing mistake, could it cause me problems if I want to change my status later on, because it’s in my visa now?

    Thank you. Great blog btw.

    • Hi Lisa, the visa stamp is the overriding document. Remember, 212(e) only applies to potential applications for H, K and L visas.

  • Abdo Elmady
    4 years ago

    Dear Sir,
    Hope you are doing well, my name’s Abdo and I finished the study in the USA for 1 year and my visa was J1. After coming back to home (EGYPT) I found a job in other country immediately (QATAR) and I spent here for more than 2 years. I’m also married with an American woman. My question is: Can I travel to USA for immigration or Green Card or I have to stay in Egypt (HOME) for two years without moving to anywhere?
    Thanks in advance and I’ll be greatly appreciated for reply
    Abdo

    • Hello Abdo, I recommend contacting an immigration attorney. They will probably inform you that if you resided outside the U.S. for 2 years, you are fine. Good luck!

  • Hello Mario,

    I am French. I got a J-1 visa from May 3,2013 until August 31,2013, because I am going as an Exchange student in MIT. On the visa it says
    “Bearer is subject to section 212(E).
    Two year rule apply”
    But I am intending to do a PhD in MIT starting fall 2014. Will this be a problem?

  • Touhid
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    One thing regarding HRR sounds very confusing to me. You said that it will be ok just to reside outside the USA after completing the J-1 program, it is not necessary to reside in the home country I got the j-1 visa from.

    In the US official website regarding the J-1 waiver I saw the following question:

    ”Can I serve my two-year home-country physical presence requirement in the U.S. or a third country?”

    The answer of the question was as below:

    ”The period of time you spend in the U.S. or a third country after your exchange visitor program has ended may count toward fulfillment of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, if you are employed by your home country’s government, in its military service, or in its career foreign service and you are serving in a country other than your home country at the behest of your home country’s government. Before the Waiver Review Division can determine whether you have satisfied the physical presence requirement, we require a written statement from an official of your home government (through the home country’s embassy in Washington, DC) that you were or will be serving in the U.S. or a third country in the service of your home country and at that government’s request.”

    Do you still think it will be enough to spend two years just outside the USA, not particularly in the home country?

    Please let me know your opinion. I ppreciate your answer.

    • I agree, it it confusing. I recommend reaching out to an immigration attorney, they will be able to help.

  • Adhithya Joe
    4 years ago

    sir ,can you give me information on filing tax returns ??

  • Hi Mario,
    I’m going US this summer as student intern from 1st july to 1st september on J-1 status.Eventhough i do not receive any scholar from my goverment and in my DS-2019 says not to subject to 2 years rule,In my visa says subject to 2 years rule.My superviser invites me every summer as student intern to his lab until graduate.In this situation can i go there after this summer too or have to wait 2 years more in my country?

    • You can go next year as well as 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. In other words, if you were interested in applying for an H, K or L visa (or legal permanent residence status), then you would have to reside in your home country for 2 years. If you want to return to the U.S. on B1B2 tourist status or another J visa, then you don’t have to wait 2 years.

  • Kristina
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I know the main differences between a J1 intern visa (currently enrolled in school or application has to be within a year after graduation. Max is 12 months) and a J1 trainee visa (Granted degree outside the US and one year of working experience outside the US. Max is 18 months). But for some reason I always think that the J1 trainee is less flexible than a J1 intern visa regarding future perspectives. Am I right? I did an internship on a J1 visa in 2011, and it seems to be (since I graduated 1,5 year ago) I will not be eligible for another J1 intern visa, but only for a J1 trainee visa from August 2013. Is there any two year rule I should keep in mind when applying for a J1 trainee visa? This is really important to me, because I would like to still have the opportunity to apply for a H or K visa in the future. Your help is much appreciated!

    • Hello Kristina, there is a 2-year rule, referred to as 212(e). This rule can apply to both Intern and Trainee J-1 visas. The consular officer determines whether 212(e) will apply to your J-1. Hope that helps…

      • Kristina
        4 years ago

        Thank you Mario! So it doesn’t necessarily mean that entering the US on a J1 trainee visa will automatically bring more limitations along with it than a J1 intern visa does? Would the following be possible: I did an internship (J1 intern visa) in 2011, I hope to do a traineeship (J1 trainee visa) this year, and can I do on top of that in 2015 another internship or traineeship?

  • Amandeep Singh
    4 years ago

    Hello,
    I am a physician, worked as a research fellow in Mayo clinic on J-1 visa for two years. ( ended this April).
    I got a residency position in psychiatry which starts on July 1st 2013 ( on J1 visa).
    Can I apply for a new J1 visa without completing 2 year home rule??

  • Anshika
    4 years ago

    Hi, I have just found a sponsor for J-1 for communication intern.. i m confused if i will be subjected to 2 years home residency… i am not been funded by US or home country govt, the internship is in Communication and not in medical and thirdly in the list of skilled labour of India as on the websites there is nothing related to communication or media.. but yes it says Visual and motion pictures arts and sciences in the list.. Do you think i can still be subjected to 2 years home residency???

    secondly, i just did completed Post-grads in International Communication from NZ and I am on job search visa here and I do have a permanent job here in nz, can i still apply from NZ rather than apply for a J-1 from my home country..i know it is advised to apply from home country.. but i want to apply from NZ.. Can i ????

    Please help…

    • It is hard to say whether 212(e) will apply, that decision will be made by the consular officer. The Department of State highly recommends applying for the J visa in your home country.

  • Diego
    4 years ago

    Hello dear Mario, hope you can help me please, I just came back from the USA under the J1 work and travel visa, the thing is that now i’d like to go again under another j1 visa in this case would be camp counselor, but will be in this coming summer already, is it that possible, or must wait sometime??

    • You usually have to be outside the U.S. for 90 days. Check with the sponsor who will issue your new J visa.

  • Touhidul
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    USCIS website says, it is not enough just to stay outside the USA, I must have to stay in my home country to fulfill the HRR requirement, but you say it is enough just to stay outside USA. Can you please clarify it?

    • 212(e) falls under USCIS laws and is not my area of expertise. I recommend following the advice you found on USCIS website.

  • Hello Mario!

    I was recently offered an internship in the US and it seems to be that I will have to apply for a J1 trainee visa, since I exceeded the “apply within 12 months after graduation deadline” to be eligible for a J1 intern visa. I was on a J1 intern visa before (3+ years ago) when I just started my studies at the university, so now I’ll be applying for a J1 visa a second time, but as mentioned before; this time I will apply for the J1 trainee visa.

    I found the following quotes online on the same website:

    “Trainees may return to the U.S. for another 18-month period of training if s/he has been absent from the U.S. for at least two years after completing the initial training program.”

    “Interns who have completed their internship program may participate in a training program after a two-year period of residency outside the U.S. following their internship program.”

    Does this mean that once I will apply for the J1 trainee visa and in case I will be subject to the 2yr rule this time (3 years ago when I interned in the US with my J1 intern visa I was NOT subject to this rule) I am not allowed to even enter the US for two years? (since the quote above is using the word ‘absent’)

    Is there any risk I should keep in mind regarding my situation and the 2 year rule? (keeping in mind that I was in 2010 on a J1 intern visa for 5 months, was not subject to the 2yr rule and will apply for a J1 Trainee visa this time for the fall of 2013. Currently I will also not enroll into a program that is sponsored by (in)directly by the goverment, my marketing skills are not on the list of required skills in my home country, and I’m not in a medical training)

    I hope you can give me your view/opinion on my situation.

    Thanks a lot!

    • It is hard to predict whether 212(e) will apply to your new Trainee visa. A consular office will make this decision. Even if 212(e) applies, you can still return to the U.S. as a tourist. 212(e) only applies to petitions for H, K and L visas. If you were interested in applying for any of those visas after your J Trainee program completes, then you would have to reside in your home country for 2 years.

  • Lea Duc
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I intend to do a 6 months internship from september 2013 to february 2014 on a J-1 visa then go back to my home country. But I wish to come back in fall 2014 to do a master degree. Would it be possible to come back on a F1 visa to study?
    Thank you.

    • Yes, there should be no reason why you could not obtain an F visa in the fall of 2014, even if you participate in a J program before.

  • Rodel
    4 years ago

    Sir Mario,

    I am from the Philippines, I was a former J1 visa trainee, my visa ended on Nov. 3, 2012 and I went home that same month. My former hosts want me to go back to the US under H2A visa and was able to process my petition for nonimmigrant worker, it was approved by the US citizenship and immigration services. The problem is that I have not yet fulfilled my two year HRR. My question is, will it be possible for me to go back to the US under H2 visa?

    Thank you very much.

    • 212(e) applies to H, K and L visas. If you have not yet fulfilled your obligations under 212(e), then you are not yet eligible for admission under H status.

  • Chanchal Sur Chowdhury
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I am Indian Citizen currently doing my PhD at University Hospital Basel, Switzerland. Since 2010. I am hired as an employee with a job contract which gets renewed every year and I hold a B-Permit with allows me to stay and work in Switzerland. Recently our lab collaborated with Harvard Medical School and now I would like to work there for 6 months as a part of my Doctoral Study. After the completion of the study at Harvard, I need to come back to Switzerland in order to finish my PhD. Further my stay at Harvard is totally funded by University Hospital Basel. During my visa interview I was told that I come under the 2 year home physical presence obligations as I come under the Skill List as Biologist. Now my first question is that when I am not funded by India or US why should I take this obligations? and second If I go back to my home country how will I finish my PhD degree in Switzerland? is there is any other VISA types which I could apply to skip such rules? Advance thanks for your much need help.

    Regards
    Chanchal

    • Chanchal, it is hard for me to say why 212(e) applies; this determination is made by the consular officer and depends on varies factors. You can return to Switzerland to finish your PhD. Only if you are interested in applying for an H, K or L visa in the future, does 212(e) require that you reside in your home country for 2 years.

  • Dear Mario,

    I tried to read through the Q&A’s but was not sure I could find my problem here, so I am just going to ask:

    I am a J-1 visitor “subject to the 212(e)”. My visa expires June 30. I was planning to go to Canada for a week in the end of June and return one day before the visa ends (and then do some travels in the USA in the grace period). However, I was advised not to do this since the border control probably would not let me in again, because the J-1 stay was practically over. So I was advised to enter as a tourist (via the Visa Waiver Program, since I am from Denmark).

    But can I simply enter USA again through ESTA, and does this require any extensive preparations beforehand? My concern is to stand in the Canadian airport not being let in with most my belongings still in the states…

    I hope you can help me, and thank you in advance!

    Best, Hans

    • Hans, the 30-day grace period is awarded with the idea that J participants travel inside the U.S. and thus remain on J status. If you leave the U.S. during the 30-day grace period, then you loose J status. If you return, you would have to enter on B1B1 status (or ESTA); you will have to convince the point-of-entry officer that you will leave the U.S. again.

      • Thank you very much for your fast response. However, I might not have been entirely clear as to what my question was:

        I wish to travel to Canada from USA a week and come back one day before the J-1 visa expires, and then travel around the U.S. within the grace period. So I would not leave the U.S. in the grace period.

        My question, therefore is
        1) whether the point-of-entry officer will let me in in my J-1 visa, even though I only have one day remaining?

        2) if not, can I enter on theVisa Waver Programe instead (that is: does it conflict with the 212(e)?

        Again, thank you so very much for your help.

        Best, Hans

        • Hi Hans. It is really hard to say whether they will admit you on J status again. My guess is not. Instead, you would enter on B1B2 tourist status (or admitted under ESTA). You will still have to prove to the immigration officer that you have an intention to leave. The best way is to present a copy of your air ticket back to your home country. 212(e) has no significance in this case. Good luck!

  • Dear Mario,
    Thank you for your informative blog. I have a query which I tried to find, and although I saw several similar questions, I’m not sure if they relate to mine exactly.
    I am from country X and currently pursuing a medical degree in country Y (for around 5 years now). I am applying for th J-1 visa for a one month as a short term visiting scholar this summer, after which I return to country Y to finish my degree. My academics finish next year, after which I have to do a 6 month internship, and I should hopefully graduate by 2015. My question is, would I have to apply for 2 year waiver, since
    a. I don’t live in country X anymore,
    b. since I won’t be returning to country X either in the near future,
    c. in the event that I want to do another internship for 6 -12 weeks in the US next year or after I graduate. Thank you once again.

    • You won’t need a waiver if you would like to participate in another internship next year or after you graduate. 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas and does not prohibit you from participating in another J program.

  • Susan
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I am an Indian citizen doing my residency under J- Visa in a reputed university in the US. Can you pls help me with 2 questions-

    1. During my residency of 5 years, I have the option of doing one year reasearch or another course like MPH. If I get admission to MPH at another university, will that be in violation of my current J Visa?

    2. I did my graduation in another country (other than my home country) and have a 5 year service bond in that country. Can i use my 2 yr HRR to complete my service bond becuase i will still be outside of the US?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Susan, my expertise is in the Trainee and Intern category of the J program. Sorry I can’t help answer your questions 🙁

  • Elise
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I am a French young professional (pharamcist). I was an exchange student for a Master degree in Missouri from august to december 2011. I had a J1. Now, a company offers me a J1 trainee in the USA, which will start on July 2013. On my VISA, it says that I am not subject to 2-year rule. But I do not really understand the J1 statement, that’s why I need your help.
    Thank you!

    • J-1 visa Trainee and Intern regulations require that you have a degree from post secondary education outside the U.S. If you have a degree outside the U.S., you should be fine.

  • Touhid
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,
    I was a J-1 student funded by US Dept. of State. I was required to go back to my home country after finishing my program, but right after finishing my program I went to Canada with a job and spent two years over there. Now I got a job offer from the USA and they want me to sponsor H1b visa. Have I fulfilled the two years home country presence requirement as I spent two years outside the USA although not in my home country? Can I apply for H1b visa? Can you please let me know these inquiries? I appreciate your kindness.

  • Hi Mario,

    I was on J1 in US from 2006-2007 and completed my Masters in May 2007. Later I moved to Canada as an immigrant but did not visit the home country where J1 was issued. Also resigned from the home job. I have been out of US for more than 2 years(6yrs). Just enter US occasionally for visit/tourism but in their data still show up as a student. Is there any way to remove the student status from their record? Do I need a waiver?

    Thanks

    • When you enter the U.S. as a tourist, you are admitted on B1/B2 status. While your record may still indicate that you were previously a student, your actual admission status will now be B1/B2.

  • Kaushik Sridhar
    4 years ago

    Hello Mario,

    I completed an internship with the J1 visa from Jan to July 2012. I am now applying for F1 visa to pursue Masters program. On completion of my Masters would this clause affect my chances of getting a H1 visa?

    • If your J-1 came with the 212(e) restriction, they you will have to reside in your home country for 2 years before you can apply for an H, K or L visa. Only other option would be to apply for a waiver.

  • Ashley
    4 years ago

    Good afternoon Sir,

    (May 2013) I have just completed a one year Trainee sponsored program through Intrax in a Hotel in the US and just returned home.

    My R – J1 visa was issued from Apr 2012 Expiration Apr 2015!

    I am subject to section 212(e) Two year rule does apply. I was promoted to a supervisory level within this hotel and they offered to sponsor me again for an additional visa. Although I have 7 years management experience, one draw back was that I only hold a Diploma in Hospitality (Native to South Africa) – which limited me to acquiring the H1b.

    a) Considering my Visa is still valid till 2015 – Can I reapply for a new sponsorship and have new DS-2019 form issued?

    or

    b) If I apply for the 2 year rule to be waived, what Visa’s are within my reach and what would be the best process?

    Appreciate your advise in advance.

    • Hello Ashley, the visa in your passport is only part of the document you need to gain J status. Most importantly, you need a Form DS-2019. The program start and program end dates dictate how long you can stay in the U.S. It is unlikely that you will be able to obtain another DS-2019 for some time. See this article.

  • Martin
    4 years ago

    Hello! have a question about applying F1 visa. I am going to apply F1 visa for 2013 Fall US university enrollment. I am a Chinese , now I am studying in Russia. 4 years ago I came to Russian University. I have got two J1 Visas from Saint-Petersburg, Russia in the summer of 2010 and 2011(This is a program named “Work and Travel USA”, this program is very famous in Russian universities, this program allows foreign students work in USA during the summer, I was working as a Hot dog maker 🙂 ) . Anyway, I read some info online, it says that for someone who gets J1 visa and wants to apply F1, must return back to home country and stay for like two years.

    In my case, because after I got back to Russia from USA, I continued my study in Russia, I dont have time to stay in China for two years.

    I do really get confused about my situation, would you please tell me that whether or not my previous J1 visas will have impact on my F1 visa process?

    Thank you very much for your time.

    Best Wishes
    Martin

  • Subhadip
    4 years ago

    I was on J1 in 2010 and it expired on July that year – I was subject to 212E then. After that I had been on F1 visa while pursuing my masters degree here in the US till May 2012. Now I’m on H1B. My company says that I should not be subject to 212E now, even though i might have been before as the 2 year period expired. Do you have any information about this?

    I’ve also filed for an advisory opinion and it’s painfully slow – it’s been more than 12 weeks.

    • Hi Subhadip, if your J-1 was subject to 212(e) then you must reside in your home country for 2 years before you can apply for an H, K or L visa.

      • Subhadip
        4 years ago

        The thing is I already am on H1B. Does that mean I’m not subject to this rule?

  • Hi Mario,

    I am currently on J1 visa for 18 months and I am subjected to 2 year residency condition (India). I want to know how can I apply for exemption. Will my company here in US do it for me or do I have to personally apply for it? Also, It would be great if you could explain the procedure for the same.

    Thanks!

    • Appy, remember that 212(e) is a rule that is applied by the U.S. government or your government. You can apply for a waiver under certain conditions.

      • Yeah, i know it is applied by my home government basis specialized skills. I want to know that while filing for waiver, does my company or my program sponsor have any role in it or I can do it on my own? Also, what are the chances that I may get a NORI from my government?

  • Ashley
    4 years ago

    Thank you for your time Mario.

  • If the J1-212 holder moves outside the US to another country say Canada and gets Canadian citizenship there through sponsorship and later acquires a passport, do they still have to satisfy the home country requirement – India?

    Because, in this case the person cannot go back to India because he has renounced his citizenship there except as a tourist on a visa.

    • Good question, I recommend checking with an immigration attorney who specializes in waivers.

  • maria
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario. Thanks for the great blog and incredible help! I was a fulbright student on a J1 visa from 2008-2010. I then continued my phd studies in the same university under their F1 sponsorship and have a valid F1 visa until June 2015 when I anticipate to graduate. I am marrying an American citizen and had a few of questions.
    1. The time I have done in my country of residence during my F1 counts to reduce the 2 year requirement (even if I am still enrolled in the same program)?
    2. Legally speaking, when is the best time to get married if I cannot start the green card process until I complete my 2 year requirement? Should I get married just before I leave to my home country, or can I do it now?
    3. If I am on an F1 visa and married to an american citizen will I have problems entering the US again if I leave for vacations?
    4. Once I have done 2 years in my country and want to return to the US to file my green card, what visa should I apply to? B1B2? fiance? other? which is easier?
    5. If I marry in my home country (while doing my 2 years there), and come back to the States I need to stay in the US until my green card is done? I cannot leave the country right?
    Thank you so so much for your help, I really appreciate it!

    Best,

    maria.

    • Hi there Maria. U.S. immigration law is broad and complex. My area of expertise lies in the J-1 Trainee and Intern programs. I am sorry I cannot help answer your questions. I recommend reaching out to an immigration attorney. Good luck!

  • I am studying in UK now, but I am not British citizen, my home country is on the list of the “Two Years Rule” and I had been to US for an exchange visiting program under J1visa for two months, this project is funded by my university in UK, nothing to do with US government, UK government or my home country, do I still subject this rule if I want to apply another J1 for different program or a H1B visa for work? thank you very much!

    • 212(e) applies to H, K and L visas and you will need to reside in your home country for 2 years before applying for those visas. Under certain conditions, you may be able to participate in another J program, see this post.

  • Dear Mario,
    I have completed my training in the US as a cardiologist on a J1 Visa for two years.
    I am going back to my home country. However I was offered to have an adjunct assistant professor at the same university where I worked.
    The department expect that I come twice a year for 7-10 days each time and pay me for this research work.
    I DO HAVE THE 2 YEAR RETURN OBLIGATION. Can I have another J1 visa for this adjunct assistant professor position as I am going to get paid by the university.
    I am not going to stay in the US for work more than 3-4 weeks per year.
    I would be grateful for any help with this issue.
    Thank you,
    Eli

    • This does not sound like a Trainee or Intern program under the J-1 visa. Maybe there is another J category that fits this assignment. Sorry I cannot help.

  • Hi,

    I came to US on J1 VISA applying 212 (e) rule. I am still in US and I got admission in US university for my graduate studies. Do I need to fulfill my Two year home country residency to get into F1 VISA?

    Thanks in advance

    Ravi

    • 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. You can apply for an F visa without returning home for 2 years under 212(e).

  • Dear Mario,

    Hi, I would really appreciate it if you could kindly provide some advise on my case. I’m a citizen of country A and I went to country B for university education from 2007 to 2011 without any form of government sponsorship from country A. In 2009, I participated in a university level exchange program to the US and I studied in the US for a semester on a J-1 visa which is issued in the US embassy in country B. At the time of issuance, there is a 2 year rule stamp on my J-1 visa. I returned to country B right after the exchange program at the end of 2009 and I continued study in my university in country B from 2010 to 2011. After graduation, I’ve been working in country B to this date for 2 years(2011-now). I was wondering if I have already fulfilled my 2 year requirement, or do I really have to go back to country A and be physically there for 2 years before I could applied for an H visa. I guess my point is my exchange program has nothing to do with country A at all. Also I was on a long term student visa (2007-2011) and long term employment visa (2011-now) while I was residing in country B.

    Please kindly advice, any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks a lot.

    Jase

    • The rules for 212(e) are not completely clear. Some immigration attorneys state that you must reside (anywhere) outside the U.S. for 2 years, others state that it must be in your country of residence. In any event, 212(e) does not really come into play unless you plan to apply for an H, K or L visa.

      • Thanks for the reply Mario. One more thing I’d like to ask is, is there a way to categorically determine if I’ve fulfilled my 2-year requirement? Thanks a lot.

  • Maha shahid
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I am a Fulbright scholar from Pakistan currently on a J1 visa. Before I ask my question, I am under contract by the USEFP to return to my home country upon completion of my 2 years masters program and spend two years in ‘service of my country’. This is in addition to my J1 visa obligation to return to my home country upon completion of my program. My question is, does a J1 visa on my passport make my visa application for further study or work in say Europe, Canada or Australia ineligible during the two years i am supposed to be in my home country?

    Thanks.

  • xhorxha
    4 years ago

    So, i have a J1 visa still valid. I finished my studies and I came home for about 3 weeks, but I would like to visit the USA again this summer since my visa is still valid and I have a cousin that invited me over. The 2 year rule does not apply to me. Can i just go or do i need other papers?

    • If you finished your studies, then you no longer have a valid form I-20 (or DS-2019). You can return to the U.S. as a tourist. Just make sure you have a B1/B2 visa in your passport.

  • Hello,

    I was a foreign exchange student on a J1 visa in 2009 and subject to the 2 year residency requirement. I returned back after my program ended in May 2010 and stayed in my home country for a little over a year, but then transferred in August 2011 on an F1 visa to the United States. I have been coming back and forth on holidays to my country, do those days count towards the residency requirement? If they do count, I still have about 8 months left to complete, and I will be starting my Masters in August 2013 and not sure when and how I will be able to complete these 8 months. Should I plan on applying for a waiver from now on the basis on the no objection letter, or should I wait until I graduate in 2015 and I am on OPT and have a job? If I apply now as a graduate student, without a job, is there a possibility my waiver gets denied? Thank you in advance!

    • I am afraid trips back to your home country during your F visa do not count. You must “reside” in your home country. If you are interested in applying for a job after you complete your Masters degree, I highly recommend reaching out to an immigration attorney. Best regards.

      • Vaibhav Shinde
        4 years ago

        Hi Mario,
        I am in a similar situation as Bab. I checked with my university’s international student advisor and it seems that trips back to the home country during the F1 visa do count for the 2 year requirement. The two year is cumulative and not continuous.
        I just wanted to double check if I am correct.

        – Vaibhav

        • The 2 years will start after you have completed your exchange program. Trips back home during your exchange program do not count.

  • Alvaro
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,
    Great article, but I have a two questions for you,
    if it’s not a problem,
    I applied for J1 visa for an exchange program to fulfill my MBA degree,
    I’m 212 (e) subject.

    Question 1: Can I apply for another J1 visa with the Aiesec program?
    Question 2: I’m not currently living in my home country (nor US) is this a problem? (it’s a country in the same region than mine so I don’t need to ask for a visa in this country)

    Thanks for all,
    Best Regards,
    Alvaro

    • Hi Alvaro. Yes, you can apply for another J program, as long as you meet the requirements described in this post. 212(e) only applies to petitions for H, K and L visas. If you are interested in another J program, it does not matter where you currently live.

  • Michelle
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I am currently on J2 visa subject to section 212(E). My husband’s term to stay in the U.S will be expired in August. However, I want to stay in the U.S for one more year and want to study in a college. So I need to change my status to F1. Is it possible to change my status here in the U.S apart from my husband and also make my son dependant on me as F2 status?
    I’m looking forward to your answer. Thank you so much.

    • Hi Michelle. The Department of State recommends that all applicants for J and F visas apply at a U.S. consulate in their home country. I recommend that you reach out to the university where you would like to study, they will be able to help you apply for the F1 visa. Good luck!

  • Hello Mario,

    Thank you for your great article. I just have a question about, when begin the 2 years

    I was au pair, I had a J1 from july 2011 until august 2012, but I had problem so I leave after one month, so I just stay july 2011 until august 2011.

    Next year, in january 2014 I want to do an internship. So I don’t know if I can have another J1 visa because:
    – it’s 2 years after when I leave (august 2011)
    – or it’s 2 years after my visa expired (august 2012) ???

    During august 2011 and now I stay in france (homecountry) and study (I have a diploma and everything to prove that I am in france since 2011). But I went in trip in usa 3 months (novembre 2012 until january 2013)
    Is that a problem?

    Thank you for your answer

    • Deb, 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas. You should have no problem applying for another J visa in Jan 2014.

  • Ann gemelus
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario,
    I am subject to 2 yrs home country restriction. I got married 6 mths ago and my husband wants to apply for me to stay here. I an unaware of the steps we can take so I am looking for some answers. Will I have to separate from my husband for the next 2 years?

    • Hi Ann. Unfortunately, your question falls outside my area of expertise. I would reach out to an attorney.

  • Shanky
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    Right now I’m doing an internship in US on a J1 visa which expires in Aug’13 and i am subjected to that 2 year rule. I have 1 more year of my graduation left at my college. I have a doubt that if this company offers me a job, so will I be able to join with a working visa after 1 year?Would I have to apply for the waiver program??

    • Hello Shanky. The Department of State requires that J participants return to their home country upon completion of the program.

  • Michelle
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario

    I just completed an Exchange Programme with a J-1 visa subject to the 2 year rule. Next year I would like to return to the U.S. to attend Graduate School on an F-1 visa, which I believe is possible despite 212(e), am I right? However, my hope is to find a job in the U.S. after completing my Master’s Program and perhaps even a part-time job whilst completing my degree. Does the 212(e) require that I return to my home country for one more year (so that I will have completed the 2 year rule) in order to return to work? Or would it be possible to stay if I got an internship?

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Michelle. You are correct, you can return to the U.S. on an F visa next year. 212(e) applies to H, K and L visas, so you will have to reside in your home country for a total of 2 years before you can apply for either one of those visas. Good luck!

  • Jack Hou
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I completed a physician residency program on a J1 visa, with 2 yrs HRR to follow. My last country of permanent residence (also citizenship) is Denmark, which is part of the European Union (EU). I was told for that 2 years to save all the documents (e.g. I-94, boarding passes, passport stamps, itinerary etc) as evidence.

    Question: Can I stay for 2 years in all over EU (e.g. 2 yrs in the UK) or does it HAVE to be Denmark? How about anywhere else, such as Australia and Dubai? The ultimate goal is to be able to return to the US on a H-1b visa, thus it’s important to fulfill the 2 yrs HRR rule.

    Thanks.

    • Hi Jack, unfortunately, I cannot give you a definitive answer. I have reached out to some attorneys; some state that you must reside in your home country, others are of the opinion that you only have to reside outside the U.S.

  • Mohammad Sultan Mahmud
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario Janssen
    I worked as a postdoctoral researcher (J1 visa) for a year (Aril,2011-April 2012). Then I went to Canada and work for a year ( Session April 2012-2013).

    Recently, I got a postdoctoral researcher position from a university in USA. Am I eligible to start my new postdoc job with another J1 visa?

    Even if get waiver from my country (Bangladesh) am I eligible to do this new job?

    Please advice how can I start this new job.. Should I change visa status to F1 or H1B etc.

    Thank you.
    Mahmud.

    • Hi Mohammad. I am sorry, I am not familiar with the rules for postdoc researcher. I recommend you reach back out to the sponsor who issued your first J-1. Good luck.

  • Hi,

    I just finished my exchange placement in the US on a J1 visa and have the 2 year residency rule. I am now back in the UK.

    If I go on holiday to the US does this mean I need to spend 3 months longer in the UK to complete the requirement?

    Is there anyway to shorten the visa rule as I am engaged to an American and we wish to marry?

    Will I get any written confirmation that the 2 years has expired and I will be able to apply for immigrant status?

    Thanks

    • Hi Aly. 212(e) states that you must reside outside the U.S. for 2 years before you can apply for an H, K or L visa; or LPR status. Remember that there is the option to apply for a waiver of the 2 year rule. You will not receive notification that the 2 years have ended.

  • Hi Mario,

    I am coming to US on J1 Visa for 6 months. My host company may want to hire me full time in the coming future.
    I am not a engineering graduate. I have a 4 year diploma in Product Design.
    I will be doing an intern with a design firm in California.
    My program is not sponsored by my Govt of India or US Also as i said i am into product design so it has nothing to do with the medical training thing.
    I tried to find the details about product design on the speciality skills list for India, but could not find anything on it.
    Does this mean that i can be eligible for the 2 year home stay waiver?

    • Hi Ace, it is hard to predict whether 212(e) will apply. Please bear in mind that the J program is a cultural exchange program and that you are required to return home upon completion of the program.

  • Lewis
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    In Summer of 2012 I completed a J1 visa through Camp America working at a kids camp from June to August. Then traveled until the start of September and returned home before the end of my VISA.

    I have visited the US on an ESTA visa two times since then for a period of 4 weeks in March/April and for 7 and a half weeks from June -July.

    I am hoping to try and find an internship for summer 2014 on a J1 program, would this be possible?

    Whilst I would then hope to return on a employment VISA once my degree is completed in June 2015, would this then still be possible?

    Many Thanks

    • Lewis, you should be able to obtain a J-1 visa in 2014 without problems. Remember that the Department of State requires that you return to your home country upon completion of the J program. After you have returned home, you can always pursue other types of visas. Good luck!

  • Sir, I came to USA in 2011 with J-1 (Summer Work and Travel). The Two years rules does apply in my country and stated in my visa. I change my status to F-1 and still on status, but i’m married to a citizen and in the process of applying for permanent resident(Green Card). Do I need to apply for a waiver if my current status is F-1?

    • Yes, 212(e) applies to H, K and L visas, as well as petitions for Legal Permanent Residence.

  • Nebaa
    4 years ago

    Sir, I was on a J1 visa from Mar 2009 to Dec 2009. I participated in the J1 program from a third country institution not directly from my home country. I received the J1 visa in the third country. Nevertheless, I haven’t returned to my home country to fulfill the ”2-year home residence” requirement instead I returned to the third country. I’m confused, which country I should return to in order to fulfill the requirement, the third country or my home country?

    Thank you!

    • Nebaa, you must return to home country to fulfill your obligations under 212(e) or obtain a waiver.

  • Biswanath Chatterjee
    4 years ago

    Dear Mr. Janssen,
    I spent little more than four years in USA from 2005 to 2009 on a J1 visa program. I was a postdoctoral fellow first appointed in Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania and then I moved to Cleveland Clinic at Ohio. Truly in Penn State College of Medicine I am not very much sure whether I was appointed by a government program or not. I never asked my lab supervisor about it and he also never revealed it to me. But in Cleveland Clinic I knew my salary used to come from a grant funded by NIH. Though on my visa it was checked that section 212(e) is not applicable I believe I am under this rule. However I left USA in 2009 and now have been working till now in Taiwan. Currently I am planning to move to USA once again. My first question is if any University or research institution agrees to sponsor me H1 visa, am I eligible to avail that? And another question is am I still eligible to get J1 visa once again?

  • MarionF
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    Thank you for the valuable help that you provide on your blog. I hope I am not asking something you already replied to a hundred times.

    I am a French citizen, I did an internship at Yale University and got a J-1 visa (Research Scholar category) for the September 2011-May 2012 period.
    On my passport, I can now read: “Bearer is subject to section 212(e) – Two year rule does apply”.

    I am still a student and will be graduating in September.
    I was recently offered to do a paid training in a private language school (local business) in the US, starting in mid-October.

    Am I eligible for a new J-1 visa? If so, would that be a J-1 intern or trainee?

    Thank you very much in advance for your help!

    Best regards.

    • Hi Marion. You can apply for another Intern J-1 visa, even if 212(e) applies.

      • MarionF
        4 years ago

        Thanks a lot for your reply, Mario, I appreciate it!

  • Hi Mario,

    Thank you very much for all the helpful answers and valuable information!
    I have a question that is pretty similar to what have been asked above. I initially came to the US as a J-1 visa as a Fulbright FLTA student for the period of 9 months, and after my program ended I went back home for summer (two months), then came back to the US this time as an F-1 student to study for my Master’s at a US university. I was wondering whether I will be able to: 1) do the OPT, 2)do an extension – if the organization I wil work for is willing to sponsor me – and 3) whether the two years requirement have to be in my home country? Could the two years requirement be somewhere else like Mexico or Canada ?

    I will really appreciate an answer to this/these questions that are starting to haunt me as I near the end of my Master’s studies in the country. Also, some information on how to go about extending my stay will be very much appreciated!!

    Thanks a lot!
    Riad

    • Riad, I don’t have detailed knowledge of the OPT rules or extensions, check with your school. If 212(e) applies, then you have to spend 2 years in your home country before you can apply for an H, K or L visa.

  • Priya
    4 years ago

    Dear Mr.Janssen,

    I have obtained my PhD degree in one of the US Universities in May 2013. Now, I want to switch to J1 visa, so that my husband can work. However, I am not sure if under these circumstances I’ll be eligible to the 2 year residency or not. Down the road I would like to apply for green card and want to make sure if I have to apply for waiver for 2 year home residency.

    I’d appreciate your help.

    Thanks for your time
    Priya

    • Hello Priya. The J-1 visa cannot be used for work purposes. It is also hard to say if 212(e) would apply.

  • christopher
    4 years ago

    I was given a J1 visa . My visa will expire in may 2015. But my programme will be completed in august 2013. What is d benefit of d additional months on my visa?
    Besides, after travelling back to my home country at august, can I still travel back to US with d same visa?
    Thanks.

    • To enter the U.S. on J status, you need a valid DS-2019 (Form I-20 for students). Those forms have program start- and end dates. Once the end date is reached, you will not be able to enter the U.S. on J status, even if the passport visa has not yet expired.

  • Sorin
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I’m an MD on a J1 visa and about to finish a fellowship in the US. I am subject to the 2 year rule and I want to go home for a few months after I finish my fellowship, but would like to return on a waiver position as an attending in my field well before the 2 years have passed. Is it at all possible to apply for such a waiver from my home country, once out of (J1) status?

    Best regards!

    • You will need to reside in your home country for 2 years in order to meet the obligations under 212(e).

  • Jasmine
    4 years ago

    Hello Mario, I am currently on a J1 visa which should last a year, before i got the J1 i had a B1/B2 visa which would still be valid after my J1 expires and it was not cancelled when my j1 was being issued. I am currently in the US under the j1 visa but i need to return to my home country as i just lost my younger brother and I am not sure I would be coming back to the US to finish the program. I have 6 months left to finish the program. My question is does the 2year rule still apply if i drop out of the program now with 6 months left and can i still make use of my existing B1/B2 visa which was not cancelled when getting my J1? thanks

    • Sorry to hear about your situation, Jasmine. Yes, 212(e) will still apply. You can return to the U.S. on a B1B2 visa for tourist purposes as long as the B1B2 visa has not expired.

  • Jasmine
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario, I would also like ot know how long i can stay out of the country under a J1 visa without violating any rule.

  • Hello Mario, am with j-1status which will expire o. 30th September 2013, I will like to know the list of countries i can visit with my j-1 visa and can re-apply for j-1 visa next year ? Can I visit Canada before the visa expired ? Am on work and travel program, also what kind of visa should I apply for when am coming to United States .

    Hope to hear from you soonest

    Regards

    Raw

    • Raw, you are allowed to travel during and after your program. If you travel outside the U.S. during your 30-day grace period, then you will most likely need a B visa to return to the U.S.

  • Himanshu
    4 years ago

    Hi,
    I went on J1 in Jan’12 for 3 months, Now I want to go again in October for a training for 6 months. My passport says Rule 212 (e) and 2 years rule does not apply, Can i go now as my 2 years time wil get over in march 2014.

  • Katerina
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I have the following question on J-1 2-year rule requirement.

    In 2002 I came to the US on a US-Gov sponsored J-1 visa as an undergraduate exchange visitor from Ukraine. My visa clearly states “2-year rule does apply”. I returned home upon the completion of the program, but in a few months I departed to an EU country to continue my studies there. I have then stayed in the EU after graduation for a job and in 2010 I have also changed my citizenship from Ukrainian to EU (this required losing Ukrainian nationality).

    Now, 10 years later, I no longer hold a Ukrainian passport (only the EU one). I would like to apply for a work visa in the US now (H1B or L). My question is: is the 2-year home residency I was required to fulfill based on my J-1 visa is now satisfied and how does the change of citizenship affect it?

    Thanks in advance,
    Katerina.

    • Katerina, as far as I know, you must reside in your former home country for 2 years in order to meet the obligations under 212(e). The alternative is to apply for a waiver.

  • Marina
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,
    I was an exchange student in 2011 with a J-1 visa (subjected to the 2years rule). After that I joined grad school, in which I got my F-1 visa.. I´m about to finish and planning to get married with an H1b visa holder. What are my chances of being his dependent? Is that possible? How often/easy they give us the waiver? How is the best way to do it? Thank you very much.

    • Hi Marina. I am not familiar with the details of the waiver program. You should either Google the subject or contact an attorney. Good luck.

  • Jakob Runge
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario Jansson,

    I am a PhD student at a German university and want to visit the US for a period of about 4 months to visit several different research institutions. These visits might be only about giving scientific presentations or also short internships. They will be unpaid and I have a German scholarship to cover my expenses.

    My question: Would the J-1 “short term scholar” visa category be appropriate for me? I will have different US institutions hosting me, is that possible or should I ask one of the institutions to cover my full period?

    Or should I apply for a B-1?

    Else, I can stay for less than 90 days and use a tourist visa, right?

    Thank you so much!

    Sincerely,
    Jakob Runge

    • Hi Jakob. I am not familiar with the scholar visas. I would check with the research institutions that you plan to visit.

  • Dear Mario,

    thank you for your helpful blog, much appreciated. Last year I finished a one year master program in the US on a J-1 visa as a Fulbright scholar. The 2-year rule applies to me. After th