Also known as 212(e), this regulation requires some Exchange Visitors to return to their country of national origin or last legal permanent residence for two years before obtaining H1-B or U.S. permanent resident status.
Exchange visitors become subject to 212(e) if they receive direct/indirect government funding from their country or the U.S.; or possess skills by their country, as designated by the U.S. Department of State Skills List.
The consular official may mark the bottom left-hand corner of your DS-2019 or make a notation on your visa stamp that you are or are not subject to 212(e). Likewise, the port-of-entry immigration officer may mark the bottom left-hand corner of your DS-2019. Please raise any questions about the requirement with the consular official when you apply for a visa stamp or with the immigration officer when you enter the U.S. If you believe an error was made, please alert the Office of International Services as soon as you arrive.
If you are subject to 212(e), it is sometimes possible to get that requirement waived. If exchange visitors receive a waiver recommendation, they would be eligible for a change of status within the US, but are no longer eligible for an extension of their current DS-2019. Information regarding waivers can be found at Two Year Home Country Requirement.