Repeat participation

Regulations limit how often a person may participate in J-1 exchange visitor programs.

Interns and Trainees  may participate in subsequent J-1 internship/training programs provided the additional program is needed to address the development of more advanced skills or a different field of expertise.

Specialists are not subject to any limits on repeat participation in J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs.

Short-term Scholars cannot extend their visits beyond 6 months, but there is otherwise no regulatory limit on the number of Short-Term Scholar visits that may be undertaken. However, frequent entries to the U.S. as a Short-Term Scholar might be perceived as an attempt to circumvent the rules pertaining to Research Scholars (specifically, the limitations on repeat participation in Research Scholar programs). The critical issue, therefore, is that there is legitimate need for an additional Short Term Scholarly visit.

Research Scholars who participate in a J-1 Research Scholar program must reside outside the U.S. for 2 years from the expiration date of their DS-2019 (the end date of their Research Scholar program) before being eligible to re-enter the U.S. in J-1 status to participate in a “new” Research Scholar program; and
Individuals who have been in the U.S. in J-1 status (in any program other than Short-Term Scholar) for 6 months or more may not begin a J-1 Research Scholar program until 12 months have elapsed between the date the previous J-1 program ended (as listed on the DS-2019) and the start date of the “new” Research Scholar program (as listed on the DS-2019).
Please see the chart below for a visual explanation of this complex rule.

12- and 24-Months Bars on J-1 Research Scholar Participation

According to the Department of State J-1 Research Scholars must:

  • Not be a candidate for a tenure track position;
  • Not have participated in and completed a professor or research scholar program within the last 24 months preceding the beginning date of their new program’s commencement;
  • Not have participated in a J-Visa program for all or part of the 12-month period immediately preceding the start date of a professor or research scholar program unless they meet one of the following exceptions:
    • The participant is currently in a professor or research scholar program and is transferring to another institution in the United States to continue their current J-1 program;
    • The participant’s prior physical presence in the U.S. on a J-visa program was less than six months in duration; and
    • The prior participation was as a short-term scholar.

Are You Subject to the 12-month or 24-month Bar?


Previous J-status



Total duration of stay in the U.S. as previous J-status



Eligible to begin a new program as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor


None N/A Immediately
Any J-1 category

other than Research Scholar; OR

J-2 Dependent of the same

< 6 months Immediately
> 6 months 12 months after the previous program ends
J-1 Research Scholar; OR

J-2 Dependent of the same

Any 24 months after the previous program ends


Questions? Comments? Contact the Visa Office!