12/24 Month Bars from Repeat Participation

12 Month Bar

Individuals who have been in the US for more than six months in the previous year (12 months) in any J status are not eligible to enter the US 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 US in any other visa status or in some other J categories such the J-1 Student category.

24 Month Bar on Repeat Participation

Any individual who participates in a J-1 Exchange Visitor program in the Professor or Researcher Scholar categories is subject to a 24-month bar on “repeat participation” in those categories. Scholars subject to the bar may not return to the US as a J-1 scholar in the Professor or Research Scholar categories for the 24-month period.

When a scholar ends a Research Scholar or Professor J-1 program, the 24-month bar from starting a new J scholar program 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 US as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar at any US institution until 24 months (two years) after the program ended.

Therefore, it is extremely important for ISS to be informed of a scholar's departure and his/her future plans, so that the scholar's SEVIS record can be properly maintained to facilitate his/her possible return to the US. In some cases, it might be possible to keep a scholar's SEVIS record active if he/she will be out of the country yet continuing the program. We recommend contacting ISS to discuss a visitor's plans and intention to return to the US in the future so the SEVIS record may be correctly managed.

The 24-month bar does not bar individuals from returning to the US for non-J scholar programs, such as returning as an F-1 or J-1 student.

Use of the Short-Term Scholar Category

Before the scholar enters the US, departments should consider the use of the J-1 "Short-Term Scholar" category when the scholar’s visit is for six months or less and he/she does not want to be affected by the 12 or 24 Month Bars in the future. Short-term Scholar participants are not subjected to the 12 or 24 Month Bars on participation, but extensions beyond six months per visit are not permissible.

However, once a person has entered the US as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar and is subject to the 24 Month Bar, the US Dept of State (USDOS) has stated in the Foreign Affairs Manual that the J-1 Short-term Scholar category should not be used to return to the US during the bar. Furthermore, when the USDOS audited Purdue's J program in May 2010, they requested additional limitations on the use of the J-1 Short-term Scholar category. Thus, Purdue does not to issue J-1 Short-term Scholar documents when the beneficiary is subject to the 24 Month Bar.

Furthermore, if a scholar requests a second consecutive Short-term Scholar program at Purdue, then at the end of that second program, Purdue will not issue a third such program. In addition, Purdue will not issue any J-1 scholar program document until 24 months has past since the end of the second Short-term Scholar program.

24 Month Bar vs. the Two Year Home Residency 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 may apply to visitors in any J category. The 24-month bar only applies to J visa holders who enter the US on the Research Scholar or Professor categories.

For more information on the Two-Year Home Residency Rule, see our site " Two Year Home Residence Requirement."

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