12- and 24- Month Bars on J-1 Repeat Participation

New or repeat participation in exchange programs as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor is restricted by a period of ineligibility (or "bar") after holding a J-status visa. Depending on previous J-status, the period of ineligibility is either 12 or 24 months.

Eligibility for participation in J-1 categories other than Research Scholar or Professor is not affected by these barring periods.

24-month Bar

An exchange visitor who has held a J-1 visa in the Research Scholar or Professor category for any amount of time may not begin a new program in those same categories until 24 months have elapsed since the last day of the previous program*.

The 24-month bar does not apply if the visitor is transferring to another institution to continue a program as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor OR if the visitor only held a J-1 visa in a category other than Research Scholar or Professor (but see "12-month Bar").

The 24-month bar is different than the 212(e) two-year home country physical presence requirement for some J-1 visa holders.

12-month Bar

If an exchange visitor is not subject to a 24-month bar, they may still be subject to a 12-month bar. However, individuals subject to the 24-month bar are not subject to the 12-month bar.

An exchange visitor who has held any J-status visa may not begin a new program in a Research Scholar or Professor J-1 category until 12 months have elapsed since the last day of the previous program. The 12-month bar does not apply to a visitor who (1) is transferring to another institution to continue a current program as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor, or (2) held the previous J-status for less than six months (in a Short-Term Scholar category, for example).

12- AND 24-Month Bars on New & Repeat Participation as a J-1 Research Scholar and Professor
Previous J-status Total duration of stay in the U.S. as previous J-status Eligible to begin a new program as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor
Any J-1 category
other than Research Scholar or Professor
6 months or less Immediately
More than 6 months 12 months after the previous program's End Date or Effective Date of Completion*
J-2 dependent** of any J-1 category other than Research Scholar or Professor 6 months or less Immediately
More than 6 months 12 months after the previous program's End Date or Effective Date of Completion*
J-1 Research Scholar or Professor, or J-2 dependent** of same Any length of time 24 months after the previous program's End Date or Effective Date of Completion*

  * The U.S. State Department defines "completion of program" as no longer actively participating in the activities of a Professor or Research Scholar. Barring period begins the day after the status of the exchange visitor's SEVIS record becomes “Inactive” or “Terminated.”

** J-2 dependents are subject to the same bars as the principal J-1 exchange visitor.