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Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

The Immigration and Nationality Act establishes in Section 212(e) a two-year home country physical presence for certain exchange visitors who are subject to the two-year home country residence requirement before being eligible for immigrant (permanent resident/green card) status. Exchange visitors who are subject to the two-year home country residence requirement are not eligible to change their nonimmigrant status from J to permanent residence or to any other nonimmigrant category except A (diplomatic) and G (International Organization) statuses.

Exchange Visitors who receive financial support from the U.S. or a foreign government, or whose skill has been listed by their country of nationality or last permanent residence as one in short supply, must return to and remain for two years in that country before applying for permanent residence in the U.S. or for a temporary worker visa (H1-B visa). It is difficult to obtain waivers for this provision. Check with IPS if you have questions about these matters because this can have serious consequences for the individuals involved.

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