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The 12-month and 24-month bars are special restrictions on persons who are interested in coming to the US as a J-1 research scholar or J-1 professor. (Note: these bars are different from the restrictions imposed by the 212(e) two year home country physical presence requirement. Refer to our Section 212(e) page for more information about this restriction). These bars impose a one to two year waiting period on eligibility for J-1 research scholar or J-1 professor status, depending on the individual's prior immigration history.

The 12-month Bar on Initial Participation

If you were in the US previously in ANY J-1 status - including J-1 student, student intern, intern, trainee, professor, research scholar, au pair, etc. - you cannot return to the US to participate in a new J-1 research scholar or J-1 professor program until 12 months have passed since the completion of your previous program. The exception is if your previous J-1 program was of a duration of six months or less, in which case the 12 month bar does not apply.

Example: You were in the US as a J-1 student in a program that lasted two years. Following completion of the J-1 student program, you would not be eligible to return to the US as a J-1 research scholar or J-1 professor until 12 months passes following the completion of your student program.

The 24-month Bar on Repeat Participation

This bar applies ONLY if you were in the US previously as a J-1 research scholar or J-1 professor. Under this requirement, you cannot return to the US to participate in a new J-1 research scholar or J-1 professor program until 12 months have passed since the completion of your previous research scholar or professor program.

Example: You were in the US as a J-1 research scholar in a program that lasted two years. Following completion of the J-1 research scholar program, you would not be eligible to return to the US in a new J-1 research scholar or J-1 professor program until 24 months passes following the completion of your scholar program.

Someone with previous J-1 research scholar or J-1 professor experience can be subject to both the 12-month and 24-month bars simultaneously.

If you are planning to come to the US as a J-1 research scholar or J-1 professor and have had previous J-1 experience, talk to an International Center advisor about possible limitations created by these bars.