Skip to main content

How does dual intent work in accordance with study abroad students staying and leaving the country after their study is done?

Cincinnati, OH |

My girlfriend is Brazilian . She just got accepted to study for an MA in the US under a 1 visa . My question is basically that we're confused on how the rules work on her returning to her country . We have no plans to get married currently , but if we did while she was studying here or after would they not allow it because they want you to return to your country for two years ? Would she have trouble even obtaining a visa since we're intimidating right now ? I ask because two years after studying seems like a long time , and if we decided we wanted to get married , would we not be allowed to in the US since she just finished studying here ? ( I'm a US citizen by the way , born and raised here ) .

I don't know why that says intimidating, it's just supposed to say dating, but in quotes.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

No one can stop you from getting married. However, while you might be able to petition for her, she would not be able to adjust status unless she first obtained a J1 waiver.

J1 exchange visitor visas are unique in that they require some holders to return home at the end of the program for a period of two years instead of allowing the foreign national to work under an H-1B visa, L visa or to adjust status to a green card holder.

The intent of the J1 exchange visitor visa is to provide citizens of foreign countries with the opportunity to experience America, and the American way of life, and then return home and share what they have learned with their countrymen. To this end, often the Untied States and/or the country of origin will contribute money to the J1 program in order to facilitate the cultural exchange.

If all participants were allowed stay in the US at the end of the program, the intent of the program would be thwarted and the resources spent on that participant would have been wasted.

So, in the spirit of fairness, certain J1 program participants must return home to share knowledge for two years, at a minimum. However, this two-year foreign residence requirement is waivable for certain applicants.

For information and guidance regarding J1 waivers do consult an experience immigration attorney.

Law Offices of J Thomas Smith J.D., Ph.D 11500 Northwest Freeway, Suite 280 Houston, TX 77092 713-LAWYER-2

Daniel Nelson Deasy

Daniel Nelson Deasy


Super answer!


Does her j visa have a home residency requirement? If so, it must be waived if you get married and filed for her green card

Dual intent is a doctrine associated with L and H visas

Neil I Fleischer (513) 977-4209 Note: Neil Fleischer is an attorney licensed in the State of Ohio The below answer is provided for informational use only. One should not act or refrain to act solely based on the information provided. No attorney/client relationship is created unless an Agreement is signed by the attorney and the client. Best regards, Neil Neil I Fleischer The Fleischer Law Firm, LLC 917 Main Street Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-1314 Direct telephone: 513 977 4209 Enjoy our Blog at



Yes, I believe it does require that. The policy as we understand it is that she must return for two years upon completion. Is it common to get these waivers approved, or would it be a long shot?

Neil Ian Fleischer

Neil Ian Fleischer


It depends on the program and the funding, but the sooner you work on it the better. Obtaining a "no objection statement" is one way to go We are In Cincinnati if you would like a consultation


You can get married but if the 2-year residence abroad restriction applies to your girlfriends case, she would need to file for a J-1 waiver. A lot more facts are needed to determine if she would qualify for the waiver. Please consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
Our firm handles such matters and offers a free 15 minute consultation.

Bindi Parikh
Parikh and Prasad Law Group
(702) 492-4920


If your girlfriend as a J1 visa that has a home residence requirements she will be required to either return to our home country for 2 years, or obtain a waiver of the home residency requirement before she will be permitted to take up permanent resident status in United States. Not all J1 visa holders are subject to the two-year home residence requirement.