Click here to see how our firm is preparing for COVID-19

Can I get my 2 year return home residency requirement waived?

Spread the love

One type of student visa is the J-1 visa.  The J-1 visa is a visa for foreign exchange students to allow them to come to the U.S. and study.  Many J-1 visas carry a requirement that the individual return to their home country after their studies are completed and to stay out of the U.S. for two years.

We are frequently asked whether it is possible to get the two-year return home requirement waived.

If you enter the U.S. on a J-1 visa or your enter as a dependent on a J-2 and you are subject to a two-year home-country physical presence requirement (also known as “212(e)”), here are your 4 options for waiving the requirement:  (please note that special rules and options not discussed here are available to Physicians on a J-1 visa):

  • No Objection Statement;

Basically, your home country alerts the U.S. that it has “no objection” to you  staying in the U.S. instead of returning home. A country’s willingness to liberate a J-1 from the two year residency requirement is based on several factors including whether that home nation provided funding to the J-1 for their trip/study aboard.

  • Request by an Interested U.S. Federal Government Agency;

If you are working on a project for or of interest to a U.S. federal government agency, that agency may request an Interested Government Agency Waiver on your behalf. 

  • Persecution;

If you believe that they will be persecuted based on your race, religion, or political opinion if you return to your home country, you may apply for a persecution waiver. 

  • Exceptional Hardship to a U.S. Citizen (or lawful permanent resident) Spouse or Child of an Exchange Visitor; and

If you can demonstrate that your departure from the United States would cause exceptional hardship to your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or child, you may apply for an exceptional hardship waiver. It’s not enough that separation would be difficult,; the key term here is “exceptional.”


Remember that the requirement is that you return to your home country for at least 2 years at the end of your J-1 program. It is not enough to just be out of the U.S. for 2 years.  If the home residency requirement applies to you, you must obtain a waiver prior to changing to certain statuses in the U.S. or being granted adjustment of status (“a green card”) or obtaining a fiancé visa.


J-1 waivers are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain.  We are currently helping 4 different people try and obtain the waiver.

You May Also Like

Why Do Mandamus Lawsuits Over Immigration Delays Work? Spread the love When you file an immigration petition, you expect a decision within a certain time. But sometimes, the government takes much longer than expected to make a... VIEW POST
What Can the USCIS Ombudsman Do To Speed Up Your Immigration Case? Spread the loveWaiting for your immigration case resolution can feel like a never-ending nightmare. You're not sure what's taking so long, and every day feels like an eternity. You... VIEW POST
USCIS Processing Times: A Definitive Guide Spread the loveWaiting for your green card, visa, citizenship, and other immigration processes can be stressful. With all the backlogs, government interruptions, and changing policies, you should prepare for... VIEW POST

Download Free Guide 
2022 Immigrant’s Guide to 
Becoming a U.S. Citizen

This guide contains all you need to know to become  
a U.S. citizen.

Download Free Guide 2022 Immigrant’s Guide to Becoming a U.S. Citizen

This guide contains all you need to know
to become a U.S. citizen.

Answers Show
Live every week.