J1 Visa to F1 Visa transfer – Will there be any issues due to 2 year Visa Foreign Residency Requirements?


Hi,I am a final year xxxx Engg. student at IIT Bombay. I have a query about J1 and F1 visas. I plan to go to US in March 2009 for 3 months working on a project in xxxxxx Univ at xxxxx. This project and my stay is going to be funded by an international collaboration. So I would have to apply for a J1 Visa to go in March. Also, I have applied to US Schools for admission to PhD program in Fall 2009. So if given admission, I would apply for an F1 Visa to go to US in Fall 2009.

Now would the fact that I had got a J1 Visa earlier, hamper my chances at getting an F1 Visa? I heard that there is some rule by which once you get a J1 Visa, you can’t go back to US for the next 2 years. Please solve this query of mine.

I have edited the name of the university due to privacy reasons. I received above question by email. So, I did some digging this is what I found

Two-Year Foreign Residency Requirement

An exchange visitor is subject to INA 212(e) requirement, if the following conditions exist:

  • The program in which the exchange visitor was participating was financed in whole or in part directly or indirectly by the United States government or the government of the exchange visitor’s nationality or last residence;
  • The exchange visitor is a national or resident of a country designated as requiring the services of persons engaged in the field of specialized knowledge or skills in which the exchange visitor was engaged for the duration of their program (Exchange Visitor Skills List 9 FAM 41.62, Exhibit II);
  • The exchange visitor entered the United States to receive graduate medical education or training.

If the exchange visitor is subject to INA 212(e) requirement, he or she cannot change his or status to that of H, L, K, or immigrant lawful permanent resident (LPR) until he or she has returned to his/her home country for at least two-years or received a waiver of that requirement. Such waivers can be obtained under five separate bases: No Objection Statement, Exceptional Hardship or Persecution, Conrad Program, or Interested Government Agency. ( Source )

Its my understanding, J1 to F1 shouldn’t be a concern. If you are still not clear, consult with an Immigration Attorney. Alos, I have heard its easy to apply for Change of status from J1 to F1 while you are in U.S. ITs worth exploring that option too.

  • D Kalita

    Hi my J1 visa is going to expire by June 2014. I have two yeras home country requirement. My question is that can I change my J1 visa to F1 without receiving the waiver. I know to change to H1 waiver must be received.

  • kk

    I will go to US in the month of August 2012 with a j1 visa. After one year will it be possible to change it to F1 without coming back to India? what are the restrictions on that?

  • amin

    I got J 1 visa and am subject to INA (212) requirements.my visa will expire in 4 months but i get accepted in my college for a Master degree (assistantship) and i got my I-20,but I still confused if i should go my home country and apply for a new visa to change the status of my visa.Because I am very worried in case the embassy will not give me the F1 Visa what i can do?

  • p.s


    Could you elaborate on whether J1 visa is an option for people job seekers
    from India INSTEAD of maybe say the H1B program? also if it is possible to apply for J1 for work in the the US and transfer to H1B if the company decides to sponsor?


  • Ragu

    Hello HSB,
    I have a query about J1 visa processing time. I got a chance to go WSU pullman, WA to join as a Research associate. I appllied for the J1 visa in Newdelhi embassy. I had my interview on 2nd Feb 2010. On the day of my interview they denied my visa on 221g. They gave a pink slip and asked me to submitt all the documents marked in the slip. I had all the needed papers and i submitted all of them with a detailed cover letter. The concerned officer told me to check the embassy website for any further update. Till march 25, my case no. was not updated and I came as wrong case no. Then they updated my case and now it is in the pending. I dont know how many more days will take to complete the process. The embassy response was very worst. They did not say my documents were enough and they have an automated mail response which says your case is progressing. They wont attend any telephonic calls and their website works rarely. Do you have these kinda experiences with US embassy new delhi?

  • calai

    follow up question on this topic? i have a B1/B2 visa, will it be easier to apply for change of status to F1 while in US? Is it ok to take the GRE and TOEFL exam and submit university application while in US rather than in my home country?