Time Limits & Program Bar Information for Scholars
The total stay in the U.S. for Exchange Visitors in the "Professor or Research Scholar" category is limited to five years. Extensions beyond this five-year period are not possible. The total stay in the U.S. for Exchange Visitors in the "Short-Term Scholar" category is limited to six months. Extensions beyond six months are not possible.
A person who is outside the U.S. may not enter the U.S. in the J professor or research scholar category if they were in J status (research scholar, professor, student, trainee, etc.) for 6 of the previous 12 months.
- Time in J-2 status does count toward the calculation of the time in J status for the 12-month bar.
- Time as a Short-Term Scholar does NOT count toward the calculation of the time in J status for the 12-month bar.
To calculate: (1) count backward 12 months from the (future) date of requested J status, (2) determine if the Scholar was in J status for six or more months of that 12-month period. If 6 months or more have been spent in J status, the scholar may not return until more time has passed. If the scholar has not spent 6 or more months in J status, the DS-2019 document can be issued unless the 24-month bar applies. (See 24-month bar information below.)
J-1 research scholars and professors who have completed their J program (as evidenced by the end date on their DS-2019) or who have reached the five-year limit may not extend their stay in J-1 status. They must leave the U.S. or change to another non-immigrant status. They are not eligible to return to the U.S. in J-1 research scholar or professor status for 24 months.
Once the J program has ended, this 24-month bar applies to J-1 research scholars or professors who have used less than five years of J-1 scholar status as well as to those scholars who have been here for the full five-year period. For scholars who use fewer than five years, the remainder of the five-year eligibility period is considered to be lost, and the scholar would face the 24-month bar. Therefore, scholars who will be in the U.S. for six months or fewer should consider using the short-term scholar category. The short-term scholar category is exempt from the 24-month bar.
Note: For any J visitor who was previously and most recently in the U.S. in the research scholar or professor category, it is likely that both the 12-month and the 24-month bars will apply, effectively resulting in a 24-month bar. The bars are not cumulative.