of New Regulations Affecting Scholars in J-1 Professor and Research
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released an upgrade to
the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) which
puts into effect certain changes to the regulations governing J-1
exchange visitors in the Professor and Research Scholar categories.
These changes apply to all scholars in J-1 Professor and Research
Scholar categories with active SEVIS immigration records on November
18, 2006, and any J-1 scholars in these categories who began research
or teaching appointments after this date.
upgraded SEVIS functionality was required in order to implement
new J-1 regulations published as a final rule by the U.S. Department
of State on May 19, 2005.
regulatory changes include:
The maximum period of eligibility
for scholars in J-1
Professor and Research Scholar categories was
raised from three to five years. This five-year
period is not an aggregate of time spend in the U.S., but a continuous
period of five calendar years beginning with the start date of
the scholar's initial entry as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar.
A new 24-month bar on repeat
was instituted for scholars in J-1 Professor or Research
Scholar categories who complete a period of exchange. This regulatory
prohibition will apply to J-1 Professors and Research Scholars
were participating in exchange programs on November
18, 2006, and to J-1 scholars
in these categories who begin exchange programs after this date.
new rule does not affect exchange visitors admitted
under the regulations governing other J-1 classifications, such
as J-1 Short-Term Scholar, J-1 Specialist, or the J-1 Student categories.
Year Period of Eligibility
upgraded functionality of SEVIS 5.4 now allows Boston University
ISSO to issue or extend immigration documents for J-1 Professors
and Research Scholars for a total of up to five years. The previous
maximum had been three years for these J-1 categories.
order to be eligible for the full five-year maximum period of eligibility,
exchange visitors in J-1 Professor or Research Scholar categories
must have a continuous academic appointment with Boston University
(or another J-1 program sponsor in the U.S.), must maintain lawful
J-1 immigration status, and must maintain a continuous active J-1
immigration record in SEVIS. Extensions of status and transfer to
a new J-1 program sponsor are permitted only if the scholar remains
in valid immigration status and maintains a continuously active
a scholar ends a period of exchange and the SEVIS record is inactivated,
the scholar forfeits any time remaining in the five-year total and
becomes subject the new 24-month bar on repeat participation.
24-Month Bar on Repeat Participation
Professors or Research Scholars who complete their exchange program
are not eligible to return to the U.S.
in J-1 Professor or Research
Scholar classification for a 24-month (two-year) period. This prohibition
applies both to scholars who complete the full five-year maximum
period of eligibility as well as to scholars who end their period
of exchange prior to reaching the five-year maximum period of eligibility.
The 24-month bar will be triggered for scholars in J-1 Professor
or Research Scholar classification who do not maintain a continuous
academic appointment with Boston
an active SEVIS immigration record in good standing. The 24-month
bar will be triggered if a scholar or department informs the ISSO
of the early end of their affiliation, or if a scholar enters the
in any other immigration status.
new 24-month bar on repeat participation which was introduced in
the new J rule is in addition to previous restrictions inherent
to J status, including the existing 12-month bar affecting initial
eligibility for J-1 Research Scholar or Professor categories and
the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement – 212(e), which can affect
participants in any J exchange visitor category. See our comparison
for further clarification.
24-Month Bar versus Existing 12-Month Bar
new 24-month bar is also different from the existing 12-month bar
affecting first time applicants for J-1 Research Scholar or Professor
categories. The 12-month bar relates to a prospective scholar's
eligibility to become a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor. By regulation,
a prospective scholar can only be admitted to the U.S.
in J-1 Research Scholar or Professor
category if they have not held another J classification of any kind
(including J-2 dependent) for a period of twelve months prior to
the date on which they will begin their period of exchange. An exception
to the 12-month bar exists for scholars in the J-1 “Short-Term Scholar”
category and scholars whose last period of exchange lasted less
than six months in total.
24-Month Bar versus Two-Year Home Residence
Requirement – 212(e)
new 24-month bar affecting J-1 Research Scholars and Professor is
not the same as the “Two Year Home Residence
Requirement,” – 212(e). In contrast to the new 24-month bar, the
two-year home residence requirement can affect exchange visitors
in any J-1 classification (including J-1 Short-Term Scholars, J-1
Specialists and J-1 Students, as well as other J-1 exchange categories).The
two-year home residence requirement is tied to the philosophy of
the Exchange Visitor program, requiring visitors to return to the
country of their last residence and making them ineligible to return
to the U.S. in H or L immigration status or as a lawful permanent
resident (LPR) or K fiancée of a U.S. citizen until the home
country physical presence requirement has been either met or waived.
and Implementing the New J Rule
University ISSO continues to seek clarification from the U.S. Department
of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on how to
interpret this rule. The current advisory has been prepared based
on DOS and DHS guidance available at this time.
is more important than ever that the ISSO be notified of a scholar's
departure dates so that we can accurately update the scholar's SEVIS
record. To this end, the ISSO has developed a new J-1
Scholar Departure Notification Form.
ISSO carefully weighs the pros and cons of different immigration
categories when issuing an immigration document for a prospective
scholar. In light of the new restrictions associated with the long-term
J categories, the ISSO may encourage BU host departments to consider
inviting scholars for shorter academic appointments (six months
or shorter) if appropriate to meet the academic needs of the department.
occasions where sponsorship under a J-1 scholar category is not
possible, host departments should work closely with ISSO staff to
determine appropriate alternatives for scholars who intend to return
to the U.S.
to continue academic or research pursuits.
addition, international scholars at Boston
are advised to work closely
with the ISSO scholar advising staff to determine appropriate immigration
options for continued exchange program participation and continued
academic affiliation with Boston
Detailed information related to a scholar's visa history and long-term
scholarly goals will be crucial in order for the ISSO scholar advising
staff to best assist and advise visiting scholars.
the staff of the ISSO is pleased that the new five-year maximum
has finally been implemented, we are concerned that the new 24-month
bar creates a new barrier to international academic exchange. We
will continue to advocate with USCIS and DOS for alternatives in
order to diminish the negative impacts of this new stipulation for
international scholars and host departments at Boston
Tools for BU Department Administrators:
Scholar Notification of Departure Form
Chart: “J-1 Two-Year Home Residence Requirement – 212(e) Versus
12-Month and 24-Month Bars”