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My J-1 visa was approved and it is currently being issued by the US consulate. However, during my interview at the consulate I found out that I will be subjected to the 2-year rule, which I only got to know at that point. Nonetheless, I accepted it, but later regretted my decision.

Is it still possible to withdraw from such a visa? My wife will move to US, and having the J-1 visa now will force me to stay 2 years in my home country before being able to seek a H-1B visa.

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You have to actually enter the U.S. on a J-1 visa, or change to J-1 status in the U.S., in order for the 2-year home residency requirement to apply. So even if you got the visa, if you don't use it, you don't have the 2-year home residency requirement.

You can probably also ask to withdraw the application for the visa, depending on what stage of issuing it they are in.

  • About not entering the US, that is my understanding too. However, one always wants to be sure. Where have you seen this written? I can't find it anywhere. Thanks in advance. – leco Feb 1 '15 at 22:17
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    @leco: The 2-year home residency requirement is found in INA 212(e) (also known as 8 USC 1182(e), law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/8/1182#e), which says "No person admitted under section 1101 (a)(15)(J) of this title or acquiring such status after admission ...". "Admitted" means someone who arrives at the U.S. border and is let in. – user102008 Feb 2 '15 at 7:58

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