Certain bars to future program participation are in place depending on the (J visa) exchange visitor’s program and program category. The purpose of these requirement is to ensure that the home country benefits from the exchange visitor's experience in the US. 


Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement 212(e)

Applies to some exchange visitors

Some exchange visitors (with J status) are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement. This includes current and former exchange visitors and dependents. 

The two-year home-country physical presence requirement states that the person who is subject to it may not change to another nonimmigrant status in the US nor acquire H, L, or immigrant status, until that person has resided for two-years in their home country or country of legal permanent residence. The only exception is if that person has requested and been granted a waiver of this requirement.

More information about who is subject and what this means.


12 and 24 Month Bar

Applies to Professor/Research Scholar categories

24 Month Bar:  Exchange visitors in the J-1 Researcher or Professor categories cannot return to the US under the Exchange Visitor Program in the category of J-1 Researcher or Professor until 24 months have passed since the exchange visitor completed their J-1 program.

12 Month Bar: Exchange visitors who have been in any J status (J-1 student, J-2 dependents, etc.) for at least 6 months cannot become a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor until they have been outside the US for at least 12 months. 

Time spent in the J-1 Short-term Scholar category does not count towards the 12 or 24 month bar.

More information about who is subject and what this means.


Student Interns

Applies to the Student Intern category

Exchange visitors in the J-1 Student Intern category are limited to one internship per degree level.

Waiver of Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement

U.S. Department of State information on 212(e) waiver eligibility, instructions and information.

If the State Department recommends a waiver of the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, the exchange visitor cannot extend his or her program beyond the expiration date of the current DS-2019 form or transfer to another Exchange Visitor program.