I have recently been accepted as a postdoc fellow in an American university. I have heard rumors that I might have to come back to my own country after finishing my research with the J-1 visa I'm about to receive. I will be funded by that private university but they receive their research funding from the government. I am not currently on the 'country skill list'.

So, can I request any other type of Visa or is there a way to know that I will be subject to the 2 year return rule?

Here is the "Two-Year Home Residency Requirement":

1) If the J-1 receives funding from the U.S. government, home government or an international organization to use for the J-1 program.

2) If the J-1 worked or studied in a field that appears on the "skills list." This is a list of fields of specialized knowledge and skills that are needed in the J-1's country of last permanent residence for its development. Canada, Australia and Germany are examples of countries that are not on the list. China, India and South Korea are examples of countries that have many skills on the list.

3) If the J-1 participated in a graduate medical training program in the United States under the sponsorship of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.

  • 1
    If you are subject to the rule, it will be printed on your visa. Commented Jun 26, 2016 at 3:23
  • 1
    @MichaelHampton That is simply not true. It might be an indicator. But you can and should always get an advisory opinion. j1visawaiverrecommendation.state.gov Click on "Complete a survey" and DO NOT request a waiver. It often happens, that the person who is giving you the VISA does not really know the background. With this advisory opinion you get a legally binding second opinion from the DOS - for free!
    – Freddy
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 17:40

2 Answers 2


The 2 year home residency requirement for J-1s is governed by INA 212E. If your funding is similar to NIH R01 grants in the name of your PI, then it is not considered a direct funding from government to you.

Sometimes you can get a (cap-exempt) H1-B visa as a postdoc. It depends on institutional policy and comes with it's own limitations (H1 transfer rules, 6 year limit and others).


If you are going through J1 visa, you have to come back to India after finishing the research program. If you want 2 years, try searching H1B sponsor companies as this will allow you to stay there for 2 years.

  • 1
    References and supporting documentation is helpful.
    – Karlson
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 2:58

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