12 & 24 Month “Bars” on Repeat Participation
Time spent in the U.S. as a J-1 or J-2 dependent may trigger a “bar” or waiting period on a future J-1 program in the “Research Scholar” or “Professor” category. These periods of ineligibility are referred to as the 12-month and 24-month repeat participation bars. These bars are automatic; they are not indicated on the Exchange Visitor’s visa stamp or DS-2019 form. Unlike the two-year home residency requirement, there is no option to apply for a waiver of the repeat participation bars.
Due to the limited maximum status duration of 6 months, J-1 Short-Term Scholar category programs do not trigger either the 12-month or 24-month bar. They may be subject to the two-year home residency requirement, which is determined by factors other than the category or duration of the J program.
It is important to recognize that these bars only impact one’s eligibility to participate in a J-1 Exchange Visitor program in the Research Scholar or Professor categories – it does not apply to other travel to the U.S. (such as tourist, F-1 student, H-1B, J-1 student, etc.)
Exchange Visitors who participated in a J-1 or J-2 dependent Research Scholar or Professor category program in the U.S. are automatically subjected to a 24-month (two year) bar from participating in another J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program. This is true regardless of the duration of time they spent in the program.
These Exchange Visitors cannot participate in another J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program until two years have passed since the end date of their last J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program. The rule extends to J-2 dependents who accompanied their J-1 family member in a Research Scholar or Professor program.
Similar to the 24-month bar, the 12-month bar applies to Exchange Visitors in any J category program (including J-2 dependent) that was 6 months or more in duration. These Exchange Visitors cannot participate in a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program until one year has passed since the end date of their last J-1 program. The rule extends to J-2 dependents who accompanied their J-1 family member in a J-1 program lasting 6 months or longer.