Effective October 24, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued policy guidance regarding the 2-year foreign residence requirement for the J nonimmigrant exchange visitor classification.
The update adds information about how USCIS determines whether the requirement has been met, the evidence a benefit requestor may submit to show compliance with the requirement, and how USCIS considers situations in which it is effectively impossible for the benefit requestor to satisfy the requirement. It also corrects an omission from existing Policy Manual content concerning one of the grounds for waiving the foreign residence requirement for certain foreign medical graduates. The update includes the ground and clarifies employment requirements.
Specifically, the update:
- Clarifies that USCIS determines whether the exchange visitor has met the 2-year foreign residence requirement within the context of a subsequent application or petition under the preponderance of the evidence standard.
- Explains that a travel day, where a fraction of the day is spent in the country of nationality or last residence, counts toward satisfaction of the 2-year foreign residence requirement.
- Provides that USCIS considers situations in which it is impossible for the benefit requestor to satisfy the 2-year foreign residence requirement on a case-by-case basis, and that USCIS consults with the Department of State in this situation.
- Clarifies the three exceptions to the requirement that a foreign medical graduate obtain a contract from a health care facility in an underserved area when seeking a waiver of the 2-year foreign residence requirement.
Feedback on this update can be emailed to USCIS at firstname.lastname@example.org.