Understanding the 12 and 24 Month Bars

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