J-Visa, Two Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement
As a condition of participating in a J Visa exchange program a two year home country physical presence requirement is imposed before the J visa holder can change status, re-enter the U.S. or proceed toward permanent residency. This is because the program was designed to improve skills in short supply in the home country as listed on the governments skills list for J-Visa exchange programs.
This home country physical presence applies if;
- the U.S. or home government funded the exchange program. Note: the Chinese government often provides travel expense loans which then mandate the return policy,
- graduate medical education or training,
- specialized knowledge or skill on the Exchange Visitors Skill List.
To avoid this mandatory requirement certain waivers are available upon approval from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. We discuss these in detail as "J-1 Visa, Waiver of Two Year Return Home Requirement".