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Time spent in the U.S. as a J-1 visiting scholar or J-2 dependent might affect eligibility for future J-1 status in the Research Scholar or Professor categories. The periods of ineligibility are referred to as the 12- and 24-month bars.

The 24-Month Bar
Any individual who participates in a J-1 exchange program in the Research Scholar or Professor categories on or after Nov. 18, 2006 is subject to the 24-month bar on repeat participation in those same categories, regardless of the duration of the exchange program. Scholars subject to the bar may not return to the U.S. as a J-1 scholar in the Research Scholar or Professor categories for a 24-month period. The 24-month bar goes into effect once an exchange program ends and the SEVIS record becomes “inactive.” The scholar must then wait 24 months before beginning a new program as a J Research Scholar or Professor. The bar does not prevent scholars from returning in the Short-Term Scholar or Student J-1 categories.

The 12-Month Bar
The 12-month bar prohibits scholars from beginning a new exchange program in the Research Scholar or Professor categories if they were in the U.S. for more than six months in any J status during all or part of the twelve-month period immediately preceding the start date of the new program. If any part of a previous J status was within the twelve-month period, the entire duration of the J status is counted, and if the J status is over six months, then the 12-month bar applies.

Exceptions:

  • J-1 transfers. Transfers between sponsoring institutions do not trigger the bar.
  • J status less than six months.
  • J status in Short-Term Scholar category.
  • Individuals subject to the 24-month bar (i.e. individuals subject to the 24-month bar are not additionally subject to the 12-month bar).

J-2 Dependents
Any J-2 dependent family members of a J-1 scholar subject to the 12- or 24-month bars are also subject to the same bar.

Two-Year Home Residency Requirement
The two-year home residency requirement is different and separate from the 24-month bar. Some scholars may be subject to one or both.