Two Year Home Residency Requirement
Some J-1 students are subject to this requirement and some are not. Students receiving direct funding from the U.S. government or their home government will be subject. There is also a Skills List, established between the U.S. government and the individual student's home government. Students studying a skill on the list for their country will be subject to the requirement.
Those individuals who are subject must return home for two years before they can apply for permanent residence, a H visa, or a L visa. If subject to the two years, exchange visitors cannot apply for any type of change of status from within the U.S. Waivers of this requirement are few, difficult and time-consuming. If the J-1 is subject to the two years, all J-2 dependents are subject as well.
An online survey is available to help determine if the two-year requirement applies. For further information about the waiver process, refer to the U.S. Department of State's website for details on waiving the two-year home-country physical presence requirement