Office of International Affairs (OIA)
2-year Bar for J-1 Research Scholars
J-1 Research Scholars may participate in their research program for a total of 5 years. (Effective November 18, 2006).
When the program ends (even if the time spent in the J-1 status is less than 5 years), the exchange visitor becomes subject to a 2-year bar (instead of the previous 12-month bar). After the 2 years, a new 5-year period begins.
The 2-year Bar replaces the previous 12-month bar, and is different from the 2-year home residency requirement INA 212(e). The 2-year bar applies to all exchange visitors, who will not be able to start a new J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program until 2 years have passed from the completion date of the previous J-1 program. However, those 2 years may be spent in the U.S. in another J category (such as a Short-Term Scholar or Specialist) or in another immigration status (such as an H-1B).
Example 1: Using all 5 years
"Jay Won" starts his program as a research scholar on January 5, 2012, and ends on January 4, 2017. He will have participated in his J-1 program for a total of 5 years. He will not be able to enter the U.S. as J-1 research scholar again until January 4, 2019. However, he can return to the U.S. as J-1 short-term scholar, or as an H-1B (provided that he is not subject to INA 212e) at any time.
Example 2: Using less than 5 years
"Jay Won" starts his program as a research scholar on February 10, 2012, and ends on February 09, 2014. Even though he participated in his J-1 program for only 2 years, the 2-year bar still applies, and he will not be able to enter the U.S. as J-1 research scholar again until February 09, 2016. However, he can return to the U.S. as J-1 short-term scholar or as an H-1B (provided that he is not subject to 212(e)) at any time.