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J-1 Scholar: 12- and 24-Month Bars

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program exists to promote the exchange of international scholars and students in the US. “Bars" to repeat participation exist within the regulations of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program to support the mission of the program. 

The 12- and 24-month bars affect eligibility and determine when a current or previous J-1 exchange visitor is eligible for sponsorship in the J-1 Professor or Research Scholar category. If you have held J-1 status in the past, you may be subject to either a 12- or 24-month bar.

Please Note: These bars should not be mistaken for the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement.

The following chart shows how long you would have to wait (12- or 24-months) after finishing your J-1 program, before you are eligible to participate in a new J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program.

chart of J-1 categories and wait times
Previous J-1 Category Program was 6 months or less Program was more than 6 months
J-1 Student Non-Degree  No bar 12 months
J-1 Student Degree-Seeking No bar 12 months
J-1 Student Intern No bar 12 months

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

24 months 24 months
J-1 Short-Term Scholar  No bar N/A
J-1 Specialist  No bar 12 months

J-2 Dependent of Research Scholar/Professor Category  for any amount of time (one day to five years)

24 months 24 months

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

No bar 12 months