J-1 US Government Funding: Consular Officers Make Mistakes

Which J-1 programs carry U.S. government funding that triggers the 2-year home residence requirement?

As you know, the 2-year home residence requirement attaches to certain J-1 visas where the program is financed in part or in whole by either the exchange visitor’s government or the U.S. government. The classic example is the Fulbright program which sponsors research scholarships and fellowships in many fields but is fully financed by the U.S. government.

We recently received an inquiry from a young Austrian asking how she would know if the J-1 sponsoring program was financed by the U.S. government and thereby would trigger the 2-year home residence requirement. We explained to her that the program code of most programs that carry U.S. government funding begin with a “G” instead of a “P” but not always. We then advised her to ask carefully before accepting any J-1 sponsorship by a program and, if possible, to check back with us so that we could verify the presence or absence of U.S. government financing.

The federal regulation is quite specific as to what constitutes U.S. government financing which triggers the 2-year requirement. In our experience many sponsoring programs do not understand the rule and make mistakes, often tacking on the 2-year home residence requirement incorrectly. We have seen consular officers do this as well, so vigilance and understanding are crucial here.  The relevant regulation explains that:

Financed directly means financed in whole or in part by the United States Government or the exchange visitor’s government with funds contributed directly to the exchange visitor in connection with his or her participation in an exchange visitor program.

Financed indirectly means:

(1) Financed by an international organization with funds contributed by either the United States or the exchange visitor’s government for use in financing international educational and cultural exchanges, or

(2) Financed by an organization or institution with funds made available by either the United States or the exchange visitor’s government for the purpose of furthering international educational and cultural exchange.

Direct financing requires the funds to have been paid directly to the J-1 exchange visitor, NOT to the J-1’s institutions. Indirect financing requires that funds originate with an international organization financed by either the U.S. government or the J-1’s home country government only TO FINANCE INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION AND CULTURAL EXCHANGES OR FOR THE PURPOSE OF FURTHERING INTERNATIONAL EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL EXCHANGE.

Many times, even with the government financing which is necessary in order for programs to tag the 2-year home residence requirement onto the J visa status, neither direct nor indirect financing is actually involved.  We have successfully won on this point in many cases, by dissecting the purpose of government funding. Most J-1 programs listed at the U.S. Department of State website are not financed directly or indirectly by the U.S. government as defined above.

You can learn more about J-1 waivers by clicking in the J-1 Waiver blog category or at our website.  We invite you to contact our office If you have any questions about a 2-year home resident requirement on your J visa stamp or DS-2019 due to government funding.

Article categories: J-1 Waivers

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