The two-year home-country physical presence requirement, also referred to by its legal designation “Section 212(e),” is a special characteristic of Exchange Visitor status for some individuals.” Exchange Visitors subject to Section 212(e) are not eligible to change status to another non-immigrant visa status in the United States. In addition, Exchange Visitors subject to Section 212(e) are not eligible to obtain permanent resident, H temporary worker, or L intra-company transferee visas until they have resided in and been physically present in their country of last permanent residence for a total of at least 2 years, or have received a waiver of the requirement.
You may be subject to the two year home residency requirement if:
For more information about the requirement, please refer to the back of your Form DS-2019. To see if the consular officer preliminarily determined that you are subject to Section 212(e), refer to the visa stamp placed in your passport by the U.S. Consular Officer and the officer’s endorsement on your Form DS-2019. You can find additional information about this requirement and waivers at the U.S. Department of States’ Waiver Review Office website: www.travel.state.gov
Please note that if you are subject to Section 212(e) and you are recommended for a waiver by the Department of State and granted a waiver by the Department of Homeland Security, you will be ineligible to extend J status, transfer to another program, or obtain a new J visa without the possibility of becoming subject to Section 212(e) again.