DOS Publishes Revised J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Skills List

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Reference Document: STATE 057336, 06/09


1.  The revised 2009 J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Skills List was published in the Federal Register (Volume 74, Number 82) on April 30, 2009.

2.  The new Skills List is effective on June 28, 2009.

3.  Pursuant to the provisions of Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended, 8 U.S.C. 1182(e) and 22 CFR 41.63, the Secretary of State designated on April 25, 1972, and revised on February 10, 1978, a list of fields of specialized knowledge or skills (referred to as the Exchange Visitor Skills List) for countries which clearly required the services of exchange visitor participants engaged in one or more of the designated fields.  Any national or resident of a country on the skills list who obtained a J-1 exchange visitor visa and/or became a participant in an exchange visitor program involving a designated field of specialized knowledge or skills after the effective date of those public notices is subject to the two-year foreign-residence requirement of Section 212(e) of the INA, as amended.

4.  Exchange visitors who entered the United States on a J-1 visa prior to June 28, 2009 shall continue to be governed by the 1997 Exchange Visitor Skills List, as amended, only if their country remains on the revised 2009 list.  Exchange visitors whose countries were removed from the revised 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.

5.  For residents of countries who remain on the revised 2009 Skills list, if the exchange visitors obtained a J-1 visa based on a previous skills list, they remain subject to Section 212(e) of the INA.  This is true even if their country has removed that skill from the revised 2009 Skills List.  Exchange visitors are subject, based on the skills list that was in effect when they first obtained the J-1 visa.

6.  9 FAM 41.63 is being updated.  The 9 FAM version of the 2009 Exchange Visitor Skills List is also available on CA/VO's webpage on CAWeb by selecting "Exchange Visitor" from either the "visa type or subject" drop-down menus.  The Exchange Visitor-related webpage links on will be updated with the 2009 Skills List, in a new format with improved navigation, to coincide with the June 28 effective date for the list. Also, the new Skills List update is being provided to ECA for their Exchange Visitor webpage.  If you have further questions concerning the J-1 visa skills list, please contact CA/VO/L/W [redacted].

Nonimmigrant Visas: