12- and 24-Month Bars

Understanding the 12- and 24-Month Bars

Time spent in the US as a J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) or J-2 dependent might temporarily affect eligibility for future J-1 status in the "Research Scholar" or "Professor" categories. These periods of ineligibility are referred to as the 24-month and 12-month "bars."

The 24-month and 12-month bars apply only to persons who have previously been in the US in J status and wish to begin a new exchange visitor program in the categories of "Research Scholar" or "Professor." Depending on what your previous J category was, you may be subject to a 12 month bar, a 24 month bar or have no bar at all.

The bars do NOT apply under the following circumstances:

  • You are coming to the U.S. in a J category that is NOT “Research Scholar” or “Professor” (such as “Short-Term Scholar or “Student Intern”)
  • You are transferring your current J-1 program from another US institution to continue your academic/research activities at UCSB
  • You have never been in the US in J status

The following chart shows how long you would have to wait (the 12 or 24 month bar) before you could obtain a new J-1 Research Scholar or Professor visa, based on what your previous J status was. If you have never before had J-1 visa sponsorship, then the bars do not apply to you.

Previous J-1 EV Status

Previous Length of Stay

May Return as Professor or Research Scholar

NO BAR

An J-1 EV Category other than Professor or Research Scholar

6 months or less

No Wait

J-2 Dependent of above

6 months or less

No Wait

12-MONTH BAR

Any J-1 EV Category other than Professor or Research Scholar

More than 6 months

Wait 12 months from previous End Date

J-2 Dependent of above

More than 6 months

Wait 12 months from previous End Date

24-MONTH BAR

J-1 Professor or Research Scholar Category

Any amount of time

Wait 24 months from previous End Date

J-2 Dependent of above

Any amount of time

Wait 24 months from previous End Date

IMPORTANT:  The 12- and 24-month bars are NOT the same as the 212(e) Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement