Some J-1 scholars and interns are subject to the U.S. Department of State two-year home residence requirement. This means that they may not change to certain other U.S. visa types (H, L, K, or lawful permanent resident (LPR)) but must instead return to their home country for at least two years or apply for a waiver of the requirement. As a J-1 scholar or intern, you will be subject to the two-year home-country residency requirement if your field of study is funded by either your home government or the U.S. government, or if it involves specialized knowledge or skills deemed necessary by your home country.
More information about J-1 visas and the two-year home residence requirement can be found at the Department of State J-1 Visa Website, or by contacting the ISSC. There are many aspects to determining whether someone is subject to the two-year rule, so we strongly recommend that you ask an international adviser for help with this question.