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Intent of the Two Year Home Requirement.
The intent of the requirement is to have the home country benefit from the exchange visitor's experience in the U.S. Exchange Visitors come to this country for a specific objective such as a program of study or a research project. The requirement is intended to prevent a participant who is subject from staying longer than necessary for the objective, and to ensure that s/he will spend at least two years in the home country before coming back to the U.S. for a long term stay.
Terms of the Requirement. If you are subject to the requirement, until you have "resided and been physically present" for a total of two years in either your country of nationality or your country of legal permanent residence, you are not eligible for:
- An H, L or immigrant visa, or for H, L or immigrant status in the United States. H includes temporary workers, trainees and their dependents. L includes inter-company transferees and their dependents. An immigrant is the same as a permanent resident or holder of a "green card."
- A change of your status, inside the U.S., from J to any other nonimmigrant category except A or G. A includes your home country's diplomats and representatives to international organizations, and their dependents. G includes representatives or employees of international organizations.
- Your J-1 participation is or was funded in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of exchange, by your home government or the U.S. government;
- As a J-1 Exchange Visitor, you are acquiring a skill that is in short supply in your home country, according to the U.S. government's "Exchange Visitor Skill List"; or
- If you are the J-2 dependent of an Exchange visitor who is subject to the requirement.
The visa stamp in your passport, your Form IAP-66, or both, may show an indication by a consular or INS officer that you are or are not subject to the requirement. These indications, labeled "preliminary endorsement" on Form IAP-66, are usually accurate but are not legally binding. If you are unsure whether you are subject... Consult with staff in ISS. Be sure to take your passport, I-94 Card and all of the pink copies that you have of Forms IAP-66. ISS can often tell from the source of funding, the Exchange Visitor Skills List whether the requirement applies or not.
WAIVERS OF THE REQUIREMENT
Exceptional hardship to one of your dependents who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. For example, you have a child who was born in the U.S. (and therefore a U.S. citizen) and who has a medical condition that could not be treated in your country. You might obtain a waiver because the child would suffer a hardship by going there to live with you. You would apply to the INS on Form I-612. Fear of persecution. If you can demonstrate that, because of your race, religion, political opinions, nationality or membership in a particular social group, you would face persecution if you went back to your country, you might qualify for a waiver. You would apply to the INS on Form I-612. Interest of a government agency. If your participation in research or a project sponsored by a U.S. government agency is of sufficient interest to that agency, it can apply to the Department of State for a waiver for you in its interest, not yours. A no-objection statement. Your country's embassy in Washington can indicate in a direct letter to the Department of State that it has no objection to you receiving a waiver, or the foreign ministry in your capital at home can write to the U.S. embassy there. A "no-objection" statement will usually not lead to a waiver if the Exchange Visitor has received more than $2,000 in funding from the United States government.