In this episode of Immigration Law for Tech Startups, I’m joined by Amenah Keshari, an associate attorney at Alcorn Immigration Law. We discuss the two-year home residency requirement that applies to some J-1 Educational and Cultural Exchange Visa holders, as well as who qualifies for a waiver to this requirement and how to apply.
As I discussed in the previous episode All About the J-1 Exchange Visa, the J-1 visa is intended for people from around the globe to work or study temporarily in the U.S. and then take their newly acquired knowledge, skills, and appreciation of American culture back to their home country. However, some of these individuals are subject to Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which requires some J-1 visa holders to return to their home country for at least two years after their J-1 program ends. Moreover, these individuals cannot change to an H-1B or any other H visas, a K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa or L-1 visas for intracompany transferees while in the U.S. or apply for any of these visas from their home country.
Typically, the J-1 program sponsor and the consulate officer who conducts the J-1 interview informs J-1 program participants they will be subject to the two-year home country residency requirement. The J-1 visa passport foil also shows whether or not you are subject to 212(e). Some participants may qualify for a waiver to this two-year residency requirement and remain in the U.S.
Applying for a 212(e) waiver may appear straightforward. Oftentimes, however, determining the best legal argument for the waiver is anything but. We recommend consulting an experienced immigration attorney to discuss the best approach to filing a waiver and your long-term immigration goals.
In this episode, you’ll hear about:
- An overview of the two-year foreign residence requirement that applies to some J-1 visa holders once their exchange program ends.
- Which J-1 visa holders and subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement.
- The five categories of waivers to the two-year foreign residence requirement and examples.
- What to expect when applying for a waiver, including processing time.
- Best practices for applying for a waiver.
- The visas you may be eligible to apply for from your home country even if you are subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement.
- Strategies for meeting the two-year foreign residence requirement while continuing to work or study in the U.S.
This fall, a star-studded list of Silicon Valley venture capitalists, startup founders, professors, futurists, and thought leaders will join me on Immigration Law for Tech Startups to share their immigration experiences and success stories. In the meantime, upcoming podcast topics include citizenship and naturalization and tips for speeding up your immigration case.
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Immigration Law for Tech Startups:
- Episode 33: All About the J-1 Exchange Visa
- Episode 24: Trump Executive Order – H-1B, L-1, J-1 Visa Ban
- Episode 12: The Visa Options All Recruiters Should Know
- Episode 3: The Different Types of Nonimmigrant Visas
Alcorn Immigration Law’s page on
- J-1 Educational and Cultural Exchange Visa
- J-1 Waiver of 2-Year Foreign Residency Requirement
- H-1B Visa for Specialty Occupations
- Other H visas
- K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa
- L-1 visas for intracompany transferees
Get Alcorn’s Immigration Law for Tech Startups eBook