12 - 24 Month Bar

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J-1 Exchange Visitors  

12/24 Month Bar


Do you plan to visit SHSU as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor in the future?

Are you now participating in a J-1 exchange program and are interested in returning to the U.S. to do another J-1 exchange program as a Research Scholar or Professor after your current program ends?


If you answered "yes" to either question above, there are some restrictions that apply to your future participation as a visiting scholar that you should know about.


 12-Month Bar

Individuals who have been in the U.S. for more than six months in the previous year (12 months) in any J visa status are not eligible to enter the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for a 12-month period. Time spent in the J-1 Short-term Scholar category does not count towards the 12-month bar. The 12-month bar applies to both the J-1 principal and any J-2 dependents. The 12-month bar does not prevent individuals from returning to the U.S. in any other visa status or in some other J categories such as Short-Term Scholar or Student.

24-Month Bar on Repeat Participation

Any individual who participates in an Exchange Visitor program in the Professor or Researcher Scholar categories on or after 11/18/06 is subject to a 24-month bar on “repeat participation” in those categories. Scholars subject to the bar may not return to the U.S. as a J-1 scholar in the Professor or Research Scholar categories for the 24-month period. This bar also applies to J-2 dependents.

When a scholar either concludes or leaves a Research Scholar or Professor J-1 program, whichever happens earlier, the scholar's record becomes inactive in SEVIS. At that point, the 24-month bar time starts to accrue. The 24-month bar will be in effect regardless of whether status in the program is a few months in duration or the full five years allowed.

For example, a J Professor who comes for a single academic year, or a Research Scholar that comes for four months, and then goes home without having his/her SEVIS record kept open and active in his/her absence, would not be able to access the remainder of the five year period of eligibility, would be subject to the 24-month bar, and would not be eligible to return to the U.S. as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar at any U.S. institution until 24 months (two years) after the program ended.

The 24-month bar does not prevent individuals from returning to the U.S. in any other visa status.

24-Month Bar vs. the Two-Year Rule (212e)

The 24-month bar should not be confused with the two-year home residence requirement (212e). These are two completely different regulations.

The two year rule (212e) may apply to visitors in any J category. The 24-month bar only applies to J visa holders who enter the U.S. on the Research Scholar or Professor categories or as a J-2 dependent of a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar.


*The duration of the bars are determined by the actual length of stay of the principal J-1 exchange visitor’s (EV) most recent participation in an exchange visitor program


** The Department or State has determined that completion of program means: when EVs are no longer actively participating in their exchange program. The status of the SEVIS records for EVs who meet this definition should be listed as either “Inactive” or “Terminated” as appropriate. Countdown of the bars begins the day after the status of the EV’s SEVIS record becomes “Inactive” or “Terminated.”