The Exchange Visitor Skills List is a list of fields of specialized knowledge and skills that are deemed necessary for the development of an exchange visitor's home country. When you agree to participate in an Exchange Visitor Program, if your skill is on your country’s Skills List you are subject to the two-year foreign residence (home-country physical presence) requirement, which requires you to return to your home country for two years at the end of your exchange visitor program. This requirement under immigration law is based on Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended.
Note: If your country does not appear on this list, there is no requirement to return to your home country for two years at the end of your program, based on the skills list.
The 2009 Skills List applies to exchange visitors who receive their J-1 visa on or after June 28, 2009, and whose country is on the 2009 Skills List. Exchange visitors who entered the U.S. prior to June 28, 2009 continue to be governed by the skills list that was in effect when they received their J-1 visa. Exchange visitors whose countries were removed from the 2009 Skills List, are, retroactively, not subject to the two-year home residence requirement based on the Exchange Visitor Skills List, even if they entered the United States prior to the effective date.