Individuals who have been in the U.S. for more than six months in the previous year (12 months) in any J visa status are not eligible to enter the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for a 12-month period. Time spent in the J-1 Short-term Scholar category does not count towards the 12-month bar. The 12-month bar applies to both the J-1 principal and any J-2 dependents. The 12-month bar does not prevent individuals from returning to the U.S. in any other visa status or in some other J categories such as Short-Term Scholar or Student.
24-Month Bar on Repeat Participation
Any individual who participates in an Exchange Visitor program in the Professor or Research Scholar categories on or after 11/18/06 is subject to a 24-month bar on “repeat participation” in those categories. Scholars subject to the bar may not return to the U.S. as a J-1 scholar in the Professor or Research Scholar categories for the 24-month period. This bar also applies to J-2 dependents.
When a scholar either concludes or leaves a Research Scholar or Professor J-1 program, whichever happens earlier, the scholar’s record becomes inactive in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). At that point, the 24-month bar time starts to accrue. The 24-month bar will be in effect regardless of whether status in the program is a few months in duration or the full five years allowed.
For example, a J Professor who comes for a single academic year, or a Research Scholar that comes for four months, and then goes home without having his/her Student record kept open and active in his/her absence, would not be able to access the remainder of the five year period of eligibility, would be subject to the 24-month bar, and would not be eligible to return to the U.S. as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar at any U.S. institution until 24 months (two years) after the program ended.
Therefore, it is extremely important for the Mines International Office to be informed of a scholar’s departure and his/her future plans, so that the scholar’s SEVIS record can be properly maintained to facilitate his/her possible return to the U.S. In some cases, it might be possible to keep a scholar’s SEVIS record active if he/she will be out of the country yet continuing the program. We recommend contacting the Mines International Office to discuss a visitor’s plans and intention to return to the U.S. in the future so the SEVIS record may be correctly managed.
The 24-month bar does not prevent individuals from returning to the U.S. in any other visa status. The 12 and 24 Month Bars do not apply for an exchange visitor in a Short Term Scholar category.
24-Month Bar vs. the Two-Year Rule (212e)
The 24-month bar should not be confused with the two-year home residence requirement (212e). These are two completely different regulations.