Understanding the 12 and 24 Month Bars

The 12 and 24 month bars are different from the two-year home country residence requirement. Any indication below that there is “no wait” time refers only to the 12 and 24 month bars. It is possible that a J-1 visitor has no wait time related to the 12 and 24 month bars - but is subject to the two year home residency requirement. 

The 12 and 24 month rule affects J-1 exchange visitors who have been in the U.S. on a J-1 visa previously, and wish to return, using the J-1 visa. The bars prohibit certain “repeat participation” in the Research Scholar or Professor categories only. Depending on what your previous J category was, you may be subject to a 12 month bar, a 24 month bar or have no bar at all. The following chart shows how long you would have to wait (the 12 or 24 month bar) before you could obtain a new J-1 Research Scholar or Professor visa based on what your previous J status was. If you have never before had J-1 visa sponsorship, then the bars do not apply to you.

Previous scholar visa status

for LESS than 6 months







If you have or had this J visa category Wait time for new J-1 Research Scholar/Professor visa
J-1 Student Non-Degree



     No Wait

J-1 Student



     No Wait

J-1 Research Scholar/Professor Category for any amount of time (one day to five years)



     24 Months

J-1 Short Term Scholar



     No Wait

J-1 Specialist



     No Wait

for MORE than 6 months








If you have or had this J visa category Wait time for new J-1 Research Scholar/Professor visa
J-1 Student Non-Degree



     12 Months

J-1 Student



     12 Months

J-1 Specialist



     12 Months

J-1 Research Scholar/Professor Category for any amount of time (one day to five years)



     24 Months

J-2 Dependent of Research Scholar/Professor Category



     24 Months

J-2 Dependent of any J-1 category except Short Term Scholar  



     12 Months