After Your J-1 Ends

12/24 month bar

If you have used a J visa before, there are restrictions on when you can reenter the United States as a J-1 research scholar or professor.

You may need to wait 1 or 2 years after your previous program’s end date before beginning a second program. These restrictions are known as the 12-month bar and the 24-month bar.

Do the restrictions apply to you?

These restrictions apply to you only if:

  • You plan to work as a J-1 research scholar or professor. Restrictions do not affect your eligibility to obtain a visa in another J-1 category, such as short-term scholar, specialist, or student

And if you have:

  • Previously completed a J-1 exchange program, or
  • Accompanied a J-1 visitor as a dependent J-2 family member

The restrictions apply at any university or institution in the United States, not just WSU.

The 2-year home residency requirement is unrelated to the 12- or 24-month bars. You may be subject to one and not the other.

How long you need to wait

If you plan to enter a J-1 professorship or research scholar program after completing a previous J program, the following wait times apply.

Countdown begins the day after your SEVIS record becomes inactive or terminated. Check your DS-2019 (box number 3) to confirm your dates of participation in a previous program.

Your current or previous J visa category Previous J program duration
Wait time for a new J-1 Research Scholar/Professor visa
J-1 research scholar/professorAny amount of time (1 day to 5 years)24 months
Any J-1 category other than research scholar/professor 6 months or more12 months
J-2 dependent of J-1 research scholar/professor6 months or more

Less than 6 months
24 months

No wait
J-2 dependent of any J-1 category other than research scholar/professor 6 months or more

Less than 6 months
12 months

No wait
Short-term scholarNo wait

2-year foreign residence requirement

Certain J-1 exchange visitors and J-2 dependents may be subject to a 2-year foreign residence requirement under U.S. Law, Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 212(e).

Until this requirement is fulfilled or waived, those who are subject to 212(e) are restricted from

  1. Changing status within the U.S., and
  2. Returning to the U.S. on particular visas (only H, L, K, or permanent resident).

Fulfilling the requirement

To fulfill the 212(e) requirement, subject J-1 scholars or J-2 dependents must accumulate 2 years of time in their country of last permanent residence.

Waiving the requirement

If you must change status in the United States or return on an H, L, K, or permanent resident visa before the requirement can be fulfilled, you may apply for a 212(e) waiver. Waivers will also apply to any J-2 dependents also subject.

You may be eligible for a waiver under several conditions. Information about eligibility and the waiver process can be found on the Department of State website.

Receiving a Department of State recommendation (Statement of No Objection) can impact your current J-1 program. Once the No Objection statement is received, WSU can no longer extend or transfer your J-1 program. You may also be re-subject by traveling abroad and renewing your J-1 visa stamp. It is highly recommended to discuss how a waiver will affect your current J-1 program and timing with an International Scholar advisor before applying.

Reasons to be subject to 212(e)

The 2-year home residence requirment likely applies to you if:

  • Your exchange program was financed in full or in part by the U.S. government or your home country government
  • A skill identified by your home country government appears in the Exchange Visitor Skills List
  • Your purpose in coming to the United States was to receive graduate medical education or training

You may also be subject based on a previous J-1 program that was not fulfilled or due to a current or previous J-2 status.

Stay connected

Exchange visitor alumni group

The Department of State has an alumni group for all exchange visitors. You may receive an email from with information on how to activate your profile. If you do not receive an email and would like to join, visit the alumni group website and make an account inquiry.