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Bars and Repeat Participation

The 24-month and 12-month bars applies only to those individuals who start their Exchange Visitor program in the categories of “Research Scholar” or “Professor.” The bars do not affect the ‘Short-Term Scholars’ or ‘Student Intern’ categories.

24 Month Bar

Exchange Visitors in the categories of ‘Research Scholar’ or ‘Professor will be subject to the 24-month bar on repeat participation if they completed their program on or after November 17, 2006, regardless of the program’s duration. A transfer to another institution to continue the current exchange program will not invoke the 24-month bar, nor will time spent in any other J-1 category invoke the 24-month bar. The 24-month bar is different from the two-year home country physical presence requirement.

12 Month Bar

Exchange Visitors that are not subject to the 24-month bar may however be subject to the 12-month bar. The 12-month bar prohibits exchange visitors 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. If any part of an exchange visitor’s presence in the U.S. in J status was within the 12-month period, the entire duration of his or her presence in the U.S. while participating in an exchange visitor program is counted, and if that participation exceeded six months, the 12-month bar applies. There are four exceptions:

  • J-1 Transfers: The 12-month bar is not applicable to individuals who transfer to another institution and are continuing their current exchange program.
  • Presence in J status less than 6 months:  An individual whose previous J status was of less than six months (physical presence in the U.S.) is exempt from the 12-month bar.
  • Presence in J status ‘Short-Term Scholar’ category: Not affected by the 12-month bar.

The 12-month bar does not apply to individuals who are subject to the 24-month bar.