212(e) TWO-YEAR HOME COUNTRY PHYSICAL PRESENCE REQUIREMENT
The 2-year home residency requirement called 212(e) applies to some J-1 exchange visitors. If you are subject to the 212(e), the requirement should be noted on your visa or at the bottom of your DS-2019.
Anyone subject to 212(e) must complete return to his/her “home” country and be physically present in the home country for two years after completing his/her J-1 Program or receive a waiver of the requirement before being eligible for any immigrant status such as Permanent Residency or to be eligible to apply for the H, L, or K Visas. Also, those who are subject to 212(e) are ineligible to change status from within the United States from a J status to another non-immigrant category such as F-1. The 212(e) does not prevent someone from returning to the United States in any other non-immigrant visa status, such as an F-1 student or a visitor. Anyone changing status to another non-immigrant visa category would have to do so outside of the United States at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
If you are unsure as to whether or not you are subject to the 2-year home residency requirement, please speak to the Responsible or Alternate Responsible Officer of the J-1 program in the Slutzker Center.
WHAT MAKES SOMEONE SUBJECT TO 212(e)
Not all J-1 exchange visitors are subject to the 2-year home residency requirement. There are three grounds on which a J-1 exchange visitor can become subject to 212(e):
If the J-1 principal exchange visitor is subject to 212(e), all dependents who enter the United States in J-2 status are subject to the 2-year home residency requirement as well.
212(e) WAIVER INFORMATION
There are five different bases upon which a J-1 can obtain a waiver of 212(e), the most common of which is the “statement of no objection from home country.” The State Department website has information about the application process at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1296.html. It is essential that a J-1 visa holder talk to both the Slutzker Center for International Services and his or her department before applying for a waiver of 212(e).
WARNING: DO NOT APPLY FOR THE 212(e) WAIVER UNLESS YOU ARE GUARANTEED SPONSORSHIP FOR A CHANGE OF STATUS TO ANOTHER LEGAL CATEGORY SUCH AS H-1B, L-VISA, OR PERMANENT RESIDENCY. THE SCIS RECOMMENDS THAT YOU WAIT UNTIL THE FINAL YEAR OF YOUR J-1 ELIGIBILITY TO FILE THE 212(e) WAIVER, SINCE A RECOMMENDATION FOR WAIVER WILL MAKE YOU INELIGIBLE FOR AN EXTENSION OR TRANSFER OF YOUR J-1.
Once the recommendation letter to waive the 212(e) is received from the State Department, J status CANNOT be extended or transferred. After the waiver has been recommended, the J-1 Exchange Visitor is limited to the end-date that is listed on the most recent DS-2019.
A waiver of 212(e) makes a J-1 eligible to change status to H-1B (among other statuses), but it does not guarantee that the J-1 will be sponsored for H-1B. The decision to sponsor someone for H-1B or Permanent Residency is made by the Employing Department.
The 212(e) waiver process can take quite a long time. It is important for anyone who is planning on changing status or applying for H-Visa, L-Visa, K-Visa or Permanent Residency to plan enough time to also process the 212(e) waiver. It takes approximately 6-8 weeks from the time the last documents are submitted to the Department of State until the DOS issues the waiver recommendation letter. This time period may be longer or shorter, and there is no guarantee of an exact processing time.
12- / 24-MONTH BAR FROM PARTICIPATION AS A J-1 PROFESSOR/RESEARCH SCHOLAR AFTER PREVIOUS J PARTICIPATION
The general exceptions to the 12- and 24-month bar rules are:
NOTE: The 12/24-month bars affect all persons in J status. A spouse or child who holds J-2 status is not eligible to return as a J-1 Scholar/Professor until the requirements of the bar are fulfilled.