Written by attorney Ghazal Nicole Mehrani

Section 212 (e) of Immigration and Nationality Act

The J exchange program was created to foster learning across cultures between people in the US and other countries. In some cases, rules ensure that J exchange visitors will return to their home countries after completion of the US program so that the home country will benefit from the knowledge gained. Participants in a J program (students, scholars, professors, and researchers), as well as dependent family members may be subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement, also known as home-country physical presence in 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and 22 CFR 41.65(b), for three reasons: 1. Funding from the home government or US government 2. The country-specific Exchange Visitor Skills List 3. Graduate medical education or training The US consular officer generally notes whether the person is subject to 212(e) on the initial DS-2019 and on the J-1 visa in the passport. This initial determination is usually correct but is not legally binding. Scholars may check the country-specific Skills List available at OIE or consult the US Department of State (DOS) website ( for confirmation.

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