J-1 visa 12-month and 24-month bars

This is Stephanie of IMS.

With 14 different categories of the J visa, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are restrictions on certain categories that don’t exist for the others. For example, while the “2 year rule” or 212(e) (“Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement”) can be applied to any J category based on certain circumstances, the 12-month bar and 24-month bar only apply to J visa holders who enter the U.S. in the Research Scholar or Professor categories (including their J-2 dependents). The length of the bar depends on your previous J visa program category and length.

These bars are to prevent “repeat participation” on the J-1 visa, which means to participate in a J visa program one after the other with no break in-between. For extended work as a professor or researcher in the U.S., another path such as securing an H-1B visa, O visa, or permanent residence would be better suited. If this situation applies to you, please consult with your university sponsor for more details.