Limitations on Repeat Participation

It is important before you apply for a J-1 visa that you are aware of some of the restrictions and limitations this visa category might impose if you are interested in returning to the U.S. in the J-1 category or considering applying for a working visa or immigrating to the U.S.

J-1 Scholar: 5-Year Rule

The maximum period of participation for J Professors and Research Scholars is a five-year period, which starts from the program begin date on the DS-2019.

24 Month Bar on Repeat Participation

J-1 Visa Holders in the Research and Professor categories are subject to a two-year bar on repeat participation in the same category. This means that you have to wait for two years after your DS-2019’s end date to return to the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar/Professor.  This does not affect your ability to return to the U.S. in other visa categories.

2 Year Home Residency Requirement- 212(e)

In some cases, the J-1 visa carries with it a two-year home residence requirement which obliges visa holders and their J-2 dependents to return to their home countries for two years before being eligible to apply for an immigrant visa or a non-immigrant H or L visa. The requirement also makes J-1 visa holders and their J-2 dependents ineligible to change to any other visa status within the United States if they are subject to it.

Not all J-1 visa holders are subject to this requirement. The requirement applies to those individuals in one of the following situations:

J-1 visa holders who are funded by the United States government, their own governments, or international organizations during part or all of their stay in the United States are subject to the requirement.
J-1 visa holders whose skills are needed in their home countries, as registered on the Exchange Visitor Skills List, are subject to the requirement.
J-1 visa holders who are graduates of foreign medical schools participating in internships, residencies, or clinical training programs in the United States sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates    (ECFMG) are subject to the requirement.

Please note that International Student and Scholar Services may not assist with J-1 Program Waivers as the US Department of State believes this to be a conflict of interest for J program sponsors.

12-month Bar after Repeat Participation

You are not eligible to begin a J-1 exchange program as a Professor or Research Scholar if you were physically present in any J status (including J-2) for “all or part of” the “twelve month period immediately preceding” except in cases of:

  • J-1 transfer from another university
  • Presence in J status of less than 6 months
  • Presence in J status as a Short-Term Scholar