Two-Year Home Resident Requirement

A. Unless a waiver is secured,

foreign nationals subject to the two-year home residence requirement are required to return to their home country, or to another country where the foreign national last had a right of permanent residence, for two full years (in the aggregate) before able to secure H-1B visa status, L-1 status, or Green Card/permanent residence status (either employment or family-based).

B. Grounds for waiver of two-year foreign residence requirement

  • Request by a Designated State Department of Health (State 30 Waiver)
  • Request by an Interested (U.S.) Government Agency, or IGA
  • Persecution: If the exchange visitor believes that he or she will be persecuted upon return to the home country due to race, religion, or political opinion, he or she can apply for a waiver.
  • Exceptional hardship to a United States Citizen (or Permanent Resident) Spouse or Child of an Exchange Visitor: If the exchange visitor can demonstrate that his or her departure from the United States would cause extreme hardship to his or her United States citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or child, he or she may apply for a waiver. (Please note that mere separation from family is not considered to be sufficient to establish exceptional hardship.)

C. Basic Waiver Requirements (Conrad State 30 Waiver and IGA)

  • Physician graduating from training program within six month/one year of filing date of waiver application
  • Unsuccessful attempts to recruit qualified U.S. physicians for position
  • Working in a “medically underserved” area
  • Minimum commitment to work in medically underserved area with petitioning employer for certain period of time (typically at least three years)

D. Processing Time: Initiated while physician is in J-1 status

  • Depending on the state, typically takes anywhere from 4 to 12 months for processing
  • Once waiver is secured, foreign medical graduates can then proceed to secure H-1B non-immigrant visa status.
  • Two-year foreign residence requirement waivers very difficult to obtain