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Exchange Visitor Restrictions

12 Month Bar After Previous J Participation:

Under the 12-month bar provision of 22 C.F.R. § 62.20(d)(2) an alien can be selected for participation as a Professor or Research Scholar only if:

The participant has not been physically present in the United States as a nonimmigrant pursuant to the provisions of 8 U.S.C. 1101(J) for all or part of the twelve month period immediately preceding the date of program commencement set forth on his or her Form DS-2019 unless:

  • The participant is transferring to the sponsor's program pursuant to provisions set forth in § 62.42; or
  • The participant's presence in the United States was of less than six months duration, or
  • The participant's presence in the United States was pursuant to a Short-term scholar exchange activity as authorized by § 62.21.

24 Month Bar on Repeat Participation for J-1 Professor and Research Scholars:

Effective since 2006, an individual who participates in the Exchange Visitor Program as a Professor or Research Scholar becomes subject to a 24-month bar on "repeat participation" in those categories after completing his or her program. Under DOS's interpretation, the 24-month bar applies under two circumstances:

  • If the Professor or Research Scholar completes a full five years of program participation with one or more sponsors; or

  • If, before the full five-year period is over, the Professor or Research Scholar completes his or her program. In this case, the continuity of the five-year period is broken, the five-year window is "closed," the individual is not eligible to access the remaining unused time, and the individual must wait for two years before beginning a new program as a J Professor or Research Scholar.

Home Residency Requirement 212(e):

J scholars and professors may be subject to the 8 U.S.C. § 1182 bar (commonly known as the “212 (e) home residence requirement”), which mandates that certain J-visa holders return to their country of nationality or last residence for an aggregate of two years after departure from the U.S., before applying for permanent residence or an H or L visa or for a change of status inside the U.S. to most other non-immigrant classifications.

The requirement applies to those whose:

  • exchange visitor program has been financed in whole or part by the U.S. or their home government

  • skills are needed by their home country as indicated on the “Exchange Visitor Skills List” created by Department of State

  • purpose in coming to the U.S. is to receive graduate medical education or training

  • status as a J-2 dependent is tied to a J-1 exchange visitor subject to 212(e)
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