J-1 Bars

Two-Year Home Residence Requirement 212(e) -12-Month Bar – 24-Month Bar

In order to preserve the intended purpose of the J program, certain bars on eligibility to return to the U.S and/or change to another immigration status in the U.S. may apply. Not all exchange visitors become subject to these bars and restrictions as subjectivity can vary based on several factors including country of citizenship or legal permanent residence, field of study or research in the U.S., source of funding, current and/or prior J category and the length of time you have been in the U.S. as a J-1.
The chart below outlines the details of the three possible restrictions.




Two-Year Home Residence Requirement 212(e) 12-Month Bar 24-Month Bar
Who it affects May affect participants in any category of J-1 exchange visitor and any J-2 dependents. 

Exchange Visitors are subject to the two-year home residence requirement if:

  • Receives financial support from U.S. or foreign government
  • Home country’s government has a Skills List that includes their profession or field of research/study
  • Entered U.S. to seek graduate medical training under sponsorship of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).


Affects prospective scholars seeking J-1 sponsorship in either the Research Scholar or Professor category who have previously held another J classification (including J-2 dependent). 

An exception exists for any time spent in the U.S. in the past 12 months in J-1 Short-Term Scholar classification or for cases where the previous J exchange program lasted less than six months.







Applies only to J-1 Research Scholars or Professors who have completed their period of exchange. This includes individuals who have either: 

  • used the full five years of maximum eligibility in these categories or
  • have ended their period of exchange (applies whether or not the five year allowable maximum was used).







What is prohibited Exchange Visitor is not eligible for H, L, K or immigrant (permanent resident) status and cannot apply for change of nonimmigrant status within the U.S. until either: 


–  Spent an aggregate of  2 years in either country of citizenship or legal permanent residence (at time of entry to U.S. in J status) or


–  Received waiver from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Prospective J-1 Research Scholar or Professor is not eligible to begin new period of exchange until a minimum of 12 months after completion of any previous J exchange program (with the exception of exchange visitors whose last exchange program falls under the Short-Term Scholars category as discussed above). 








Scholar who has completed a period of exchange as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor may not return to U.S. in J-1 Research Scholar or Professor category for 24 months. 









What is not prohibited The Exchange Visitor may be permitted to return to the U.S. in other nonimmigrant classifications if otherwise eligible, prior to satisfying or waiving 212(e). 


May also return in another J-1 category, if eligible.


Time spent in the U.S. in other classifications does not count toward fulfillment of two-year home residence requirement.

This bar does not prohibit entry to the U.S. in other immigration categories. This bar does not prohibit entry to the U.S. in other immigration categories.

Additional Information about the Two-year Home Residency Requirement: A salary that is funded out of a government grant that is given for the purposes of conducting research does not make the recipient subject to this provision. Most Boston University research salaries are funded by grants from the U.S. government. This money is given to Boston University to do research and does not make a person subject to 212(e).

In limited circumstances, exchange visitors who are subject to the requirement may apply for a waiver directly from the Department of State if they meet certain conditions. The staff of the ISSO can provide you with more information about the procedure, effects of the waiver and timing recommendations.

For More Information
As your J-1 program sponsor, the staff of the ISSO is always pleased to provide you with additional information, counseling and assistance regarding your immigration status so that you may achieve your scholarly goals while at Boston University.   We therefore recommend that you contact your ISSO advisor to discuss the application of any bars or restrictions to your program