The J1 visa exchange visitor Section 212 (e) two-year home requirement means you have to return to your home country after the end of your J1 visa program. That means you cannot do any of the following until you fulfill this requirement:

  1. Change status in the US with an H1b nonimmigrant visa.
  2. Adjust status in the US to immigrant visa/lawful permanent resident/green card status
  3. Receive an immigrant visa at the US embassy
  4. Receive an H1b visa

Please see the complete information here:

Some teachers have a Section 212 (e) exemption. That means the requirements mentioned above do not apply to them.


1. Ask/find a school district who is willing to sponsor an immigrant visa/lawful permanent visa/green card visa for you while you are in the J1 visa program. 

(Some J1 visa sponsors allow teachers to transfer within the first three years in the program).

The green card application can start within the first three years of your J1 visa program or even the last two years of your extension.

2. That still means you still have to return to the Philippines to serve your two-year home requirement (if you do not have a waiver or exemption) and wait for the approval of your permanent residency application in the Philippines before you can work in the US school district again.

It is better if your school district can sponsor you early in the program because the PERM labor certification application, the immigrant petition, and immigrant visa appointment at the consulate take time.


Coordinate with your HR person. 

Please know that the employer must pay the PERM and advertising costs for each teacher seeking permanent residency sponsorship per US regulations found at 20 CFR § 656.12.

The sponsorships involve employer-required fees, but the school district can choose to allocate their federal grant monies to keep you if your teaching performance and evaluation are worth the costs.

Once the PERM is approved, the teacher can shoulder the I-140 immigrant petition and the immigrant visa appointment or I-485 green card applications.

The worst that can happen is if they say no. This is expected because not all school districts have the budget to sponsor visas. They are likely to spend thousands of dollars per teacher. But if you never ask, you will never know.

If this is the case, then you have two options:

1. Continue to excel in your teaching assignment and be so good, you'll get great recommendations, and who knows, in the future, they might change their minds and consider sponsoring your visa.

2. Find another school district willing to sponsor teachers (with the given three-year time frame).


Ask your HR person to sponsor an H1B visa for you. 

The employer must pay the costs for H1b filing and legal fees. The costs are more or less the same with the green card application. It will not hurt to ask your school district for the permanent residency visa application instead of the H1b non-immigrant visa.

Change of status to the H1b visa will also happen after the exchange program's two-year home requirement. 

Please know that like the green card application, there are fees involved that the school district must shoulder; that is why not all school districts sponsor an H1b visa.

But sometimes, the winds change in your favor, especially when your school district see your performance and awesome evaluation.


1. Apply for a waiver for the two-year home country requirement with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

There are five (5) bases for a recommendation of a waiver. Please check the complete details here:

a. One of the recommendations is through the No Objection Statement with the Commission on Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO) - Exchange Visitors Program Committee of the Philippines. 

See details on how to apply here:

2. Please know that the following will no longer be issued an NOS automatically with the CFO. 

a. The applicant is married to a US citizen or legal permanent resident, or has a minor child who is a US citizen residing in the United States;

b. The applicant is a religious worker (priest, nun, missionary) in a recognized religious denomination; and

c. The applicant has an ailing family member (direct ascendant, descendant, or legal spouse) in the United States, and his/her separation from the latter would cause a severe and direct threat to the life of the same; and

d. The applicant is aged 60 and above.

Please see the NOS details here:

BUT please know that there are other four (4) recommendations for a waiver with the USCIS to fall back on. 

Please check the complete details on the other four waiver options here:


1. Finish your J1 visa program excellently, go back to the Philippines for the two-year home requirement and apply again via the J1 visa or H1b visa.

2. Connect with your former school districts while fulfilling your two-year home requirement and ask if they will sponsor a green card visa or directly sponsor an H1b visa for you.

Disclaimer: Consulting with an immigration lawyer is always the best move.

Related post: The Fear of Going Home is Real: The End of J1 Visa Program Fear

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  1. This is informative and simply written. Many thanks.

  2. This blog familiarized me with the guidelines and requirements and procedures in applying for H1b Visa. All the needed informations about the J1 Visa, the 2year home requirement while waiting for the approval of the H1b Visa.The fees that we are going to shoulder and the expenses to be shouldered by the sponsor.

    Ive also learned that I will be the one to talk to my employer earlier before the end of my J1 Visa, to extend my visa and if they could apply me for an H1 b visa. I also learned about the legal bases, fees and how to apply for a green card. After learning all the process, procedures and fees, there's one thing that made me realized. I need to do a lot of effort on my job, perform my duties, roles and functions well in order for me to achieve these goals. If given the chance, By God's grace and favour, we will be staying good in the US. Praying so hard for this opportunity. As the bible says in Cor. 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, Be ye steadfast unmovable always, abounding in the work of the Lord for as much ye know that your labor is not in vain.
    Teaching our students, touching their hearts and lives is a great service to the LORD. And if we have done our part, God will surely reward us and He will give us the desires of our hearts.

  3. Thank you for sharing this good opportunity and for reminding us that it doesn't hurt to ask. I will do my best to be a good teacher and to strive more to make this a really.

  4. Hi Maam Gemma, Thank you for this FAQs/ resource. I can't wait to experience the limitless possibilities that await us in the US.May I excel in my craft to qualify. God willing.

  5. Regarding legalities, I personally need to get familiarized with this. I honestly cannot remember everything that is written here so I will make sure to save this article. I love the way how everything here is simply written and very informative.

  6. Thank you for this. This one really helps especially if ai decide to stay there longer. Very informative and no sugar coating needed. Thank you

  7. This article is very important when we want to try extending our stay in America. I have learned after reading that there is no harm in trying to ask if there is a possibility for us teacher to go for more years in the US. The thing is we need to be in our best at all times and hopefully we could be in a school district where the administrators will be opened to sponsor us for a different kind of working visa. Also, this article will show us all the possible ways we can try and do if and when we want to stay permanently in America. Thank you Ma’am Gemma for this post. The details are so informative and very clear to us. We hope that by GOD’s willing all will be in our favor and should we decide to stay longer or permanently in the US, we have now this post us our guide. Thank you TEACH-USA for the very comprehensive details in this article.

  8. This is really informative and well explained.

    Thank You ma'am Gemma.❤️

  9. Collaboration #33b


    First and foremost, we already know that working in USa as J1 visa is not permanent, after 5 years, we need to go back here in Philippines.

    If I get the job there, I will save the money so that if the time comes to go back here in Philippines I have savings for the future of my family.

    Ma'am LeZah A Alignam

  10. A very useful informations and well- detailed article for us aspiring to work in USA. Always be the best in everything we do. Planning to extend one's stay abroad or not will not matter. Work hard ,be one of the best teachers ,be an asset to every organization. I will do my duties and responsibilities with utmost dedication and excellence. Happy to be back in my hometown and if there's opportunity to extend ,why not? Work hard , be the best and God will do the rest .

  11. I personally need to get familiarized with this since I am not that aware with things like this in terms of legalities--- the reason why I am looking forward to learn things one step at a time. This cite is very helpful to inform us about the things we need to know once we get there. Thank you very much Ma'am Gemma.

  12. Thank you for sharing this Ma`am Gemma. It will be helpful for us most especially to get an H1B visa (in God`s will). It is very informative and well-explained. It`s very important to get familiarized on how or the steps to apply for it, terms of legalities and other matters.

  13. I’m very thankful that the Teach-USA Wise Up Program has been very clear at the very start. From letting us understand that there is no assurance that we will be hired in the US as it depends to the district (no sugary words which I commend) and to letting us be aware about the J1 visa program and the options after. From the blog written above it gives us what are the options on what we will do so that we can still work in the US. I can say that we need to perform well as a teachers as there is a big possibility the school district will like us and maybe they will sponsor us for a green card or H1b Visa, to work in there school district for a longer time.

  14. The information above has helped me understand the options I have aside from going back home. It’s clear for me that there’s no guarantee that I can really stay after my 5 year J1 visa which is fair. Teach-USA doesn’t give me assurance but they always show me that there’s an option. Thank you Maám Gemma, the article is helpful and made me think of the other possibilities. I think I really have to prove that I am worthy of all their expenses by acing my performance.

  15. This is very informative. It makes everything clear, and gives you an idea on how to do things. Thanks Teach-USA!

  16. A very informative information. Thank you Teach-USA. Thank you also Ms. Gemma.

  17. Thank you Teach-USA for this very informative information.

  18. Very informative. Very useful. Thank you so much!!!

  19. Its good to know the options that we will have once we are already working in the US and have a J1 visa. I believe that there are really employer who can help us get a permanent visa. Hoping to have the J1 visa soon...

  20. It was really surprising that I got so many information (from Teach-USA) which can help me a lot in my journey. With all the ideas given in the blog, I can easily set my whole plan for my application. Thank you Teach-USA. 😍

  21. MARVIN RAY G. MAURINGJune 6, 2022 at 1:57 AM

    Collaboration 33B This is very informative maam. But as of this moment, we still have no plan of getting H1B Visa . But who knows God willing. Then it is very best to already know all of these.

  22. The shared article really reflects your sincerity to your work. As of the moment, my priority is be accepted in the exchange teacher cultural program and the chance to teach in the US. Thank you teach-USA for the very informative article. At least i do have the ideas on what to do when I will be in the US teaching.

  23. Thank you teach-USA for the very informative article. As of the moment, the chance to be included to the list of successful applicants to teach in the US is my concern.


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