The 24 and 12 Month Bars affect when you can participate again in a J exchange visitor program.
24 Month Bar
This affects the J Professor and Research Scholar categories. It became effective on November 18, 2006.
The 24 month (two-year) bar does not allow for immediate repeat participation in the J Professor or Research Scholar categories for those who complete their program participation.
In other words, any scholar that comes to the U.S. for any length of time in the Professor or Research Scholar categories will not be able to come back to the U.S. in the J Professor or Research Scholar categories for a period of two years.
The 24 Month Bar will apply only to those who are currently in the U.S. in J status AND in the Professor or Research Scholar categories OR in the J-2 Dependent category of a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar.
Additional Information: Exchange visitors on the J-1 Professor or Research Scholar categories are allowed to stay in the U.S. up to five years. The five-year period is a “continuous” period given to a participant on a “use or lose” basis.
The J-2 dependent of a Research Scholar has spent 4 months in the US. She would like to return home, while her J-1 spouse continues her program, and is asking about eligibility to return for her own J-1 Research Scholar program. Even though the J-2 visa holder has spent less than 6 months in the US, she is still subject to the 24-month bar on repeat Research Scholar program participation. The US Department of State has instructed that the bars on repeat participation apply to the J-2 even if the J-1 is still actively participating in the program.
A Research Scholar or Professor comes to the UMN for two years and returns home without remaining active on the current J program. While at home, the scholar and the UMN department decide there is more work to be done. So, the scholar decides to come back to the UMN as a Research Scholar or Professor. In this case, the scholar is subject to the 24 month bar and will not be able to return to the U.S. on the Research Scholar or Professor categories for two years following the date they originally returned home. For this scholar, other visa types or J categories may be an option.
24 Month Bar vs. the Two-Year Rule (212e)
The new 24 month bar should not be confused with the Two-Year Rule (212e). These are two completely different regulations.
The two year rule (212e) may apply to anyone who enters the U.S. on a J visa, based on 3 eligibility requirements. The 24 month bar only applies to J visa holders who enter the U.S. on the Research Scholar or Professor categories or on the J-2 category of a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar.
Learn more about the Two-Year Rule.
24 Month Bar vs. the 12 Month Bar
The 12 month bar does not apply to those who are subject to the 24 month bar. In other words, those individuals who are subject to the 24 month bar will not be subject to an additional 12 month bar.
12 Month Bar
The J exchange visitor is not eligible for program participation as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor if they have been physically present in the United States in any J-1 or J-2 status for six months or more in the 12-month period immediately preceding the proposed DS-2019 start date, unless the participant is transferring to the University of Minnesota, or the participant’s presence in the United States was as a J-1 Short-Term Scholar. Exchange visitors who are subject to the 12-month bar are not eligible to begin a new program as a Research Scholar or Professor, until 12 months have passed since they were physically present in the U.S. on any J status. However, they are eligible to come as J-1 Short Term Scholars or on other visa types.
The above applies to J-1 Student-Interns. A typical case is, a J-1 Student-Intern comes to the U.S. for training prior to graduating from their bachelor’s degree abroad. The J-1 Student-Intern completes training, returns home and graduates, and is asked to return to the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar. In this case, if the Exchange Visitor had spent six months or more in J-1 Student-Intern status, they must wait for at least 12 months after the end of their training program before returning to the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar. Alternatively, the Exchange Visitor could return sooner as J-1 Short-Term Scholar or on another visa type.