Foreign nationals coming to the U.S. in J-1 status must prove that they have sufficient "home ties" which will compel them to return to their home country upon completion of their J-1 program. Many J-1 visa holders are subject to a two-year home residency requirement. This means that before a person on a J-1 visa with the two-year home residency requirement can change to a different nonimmigrant status , or adjust to U.S. permanent resident status, the J-1 holder must either return to the country of last residence for two years or obtain a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement.
The duration of a J-1 program may be a few weeks to several years, dependent on the category. J-2 visas are available for spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of J-1 visa holders. J-2 visa holders may apply for work authorization.