Other Nonimmigrant Visas (NIV)

Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

The following J-1 aliens are subject to the two-year home country physical presence requirement:

  1. Those who are financed by their home government, the government of their last residence, or the United States government;
  2. Those whose skills have been determined by the United States Information Agency to be in short supply in their home countries, (per the “skills list” published by the United States Information Agency); or
  3. Those whose exchange programs involve graduate medical education or clinical training. The requirement is fulfilled by the alien’s return to, and actual physical presence in, the home country for a period of two years; this presence may be cumulative and not continuous. The “home country” is defined as the country of nationality, or the country where the alien last had a residence.

Waivers of the two-year home country physical presence requirement:

  • Exceptional hardship to a United States citizen or permanent resident alien spouse or child.
  • Persecution to the exchange alien on the basis of race, religion, or political opinion.
  • Recommendation of a waiver based on its being in the national interest by an interested government agency, including a state public health department.
  • ‘No Objection’ Statement: Not available to a foreign medical graduate engaged in graduate medical education or training.

The two-year home residence requirements also applies to any J-2 spouse or dependent who accompanied or followed the J-1 to the United States during the exchange program that subjected the J-1 to the requirement.