The US Department of State has revised the J-1 Skills List. The 2009 Revised J-1 Skills List will become effective June 28, 2009. (See also 1997 J-1 Skills List, as amended.) The J-1 Skills List is a list of specialized knowledge and skills deemed necessary for the development of a J-1 Visa holder’s home country. US Consular Officers use the J-1 Skills List to determine whether a particular J-1 visa applicant is subject to the two year J-1 Home Residence Requirement under INA § 212(e).
In short, the two year J-1 Home Residence Requirement requires certain J-1 Visa holders, upon completion of their J-1 Visa Program, to return to their country of last residence, and be physically present in that country for at least two years before returning to the US in certain other visa statuses (e.g., H-1B, L-1), or before obtaining a green card (US permanent residence).
In 1972, the US Secretary of State developed the J-1 Skills List (also called the Exchange Visitor Skills List) for countries that required the services of J-1 visa participants engaged in one or more of such fields. Any person who, as a national or resident of one of those countries, obtained a J-1 Visa and/or became a participant in a J-1 Visa program involving a designated field of specialized knowledge or skill after the J-1 Skills List came into effect was subject to the two-year J-1 Home Residence Requirement (home country physical presence) of Section 212(e) of the INA.
The original 1972 J-1 Skills List was revised in 1978, and new J-1 Skills Lists were published in 1984 and 1997. J-1 Visa holders who enter the US prior to the effective date (June 28, 2009) of the latest revision of the J-1 Skills List shall continue to be governed by the 1997 J-1 Skills List.
The 2009 Revised J-1 Skills List incorporates all previous revisions and amendments still in effect. The J-1 Skills List has been developed by the J-1 Waiver Review Division, Visa Office, Bureau of Consular Affairs, after consultation with foreign governments and overseas posts.