New or Repeat Program Restrictions (Bars)

J-1 Bars on Repeat Participation

There are certain bars on repeat participation which may affect those wanting to participate in a J-1 research scholar or J-1 professor program.  The 12-month and 24-month bars apply only to persons beginning a new J-1 program in the categories of research scholar or professor. The bars do not affect eligibility for other J-1 categories, such as short-term scholar, specialist or student intern.

12-Month Bar

The 12-month bar prohibits a potential J-1 exchange visitor from beginning a new program in the research scholar or professor categories if they were in the U.S. for more than six months in any J status (including J-2 dependent) during all or part of the twelve-month period immediately preceding the start date of the new program. There are four exceptions:

  • The 12-month bar is not applicable to those who are transferring to another institution to continue their current J-1 program.

  • A person whose prior J status was of less than six months duration (physical presence in the U.S.) is exempt from the 12-month bar.

  • No time spent in the short-term scholar category triggers the 12-month bar.

  • Individuals subject to the 24-month bar are not additionally subject to the 12-month bar.

24-Month Bar

If you come to the United States in the J-1 research scholar or professor categories, or as a J-2 dependent of a research scholar or professor, your J program may be extended for up to five years. After your program ends, you are ineligible to begin a new J-1 research scholar or professor program at any U.S. institution for 24 months. This is known as the 24-month bar. Note that this regulation is different from the 212(e) Two-Year Home Residency Requirement. Unlike the 212(e) this requirement can be fulfilled anywhere in the world including the U.S.  The restriction is only that you cannot have been in those two J-1 categories in the preceding two years.