Two-Year Bar for Professors and Research Scholars
New regulations impacting a J-1 visitor to the U.S. in a research scholar or professor category have taken effect. Two major changes happened:
First, J-1 visitors in the research scholar or professor category may be eligible for an additional two years of that classification for up to a five-year uninterrupted period (not an aggregate of five years). Accordingly, individuals in the U.S. in the research scholar or professor category may be eligible to hold J-1 status in that category for up to five calendar years from the start of the program, regardless of how much time is actually spent in the U.S. during that period.
Second, any J-1 visitor in the research scholar or professor category will be subject to a two-year bar from returning to the U.S. in either category once their SEVIS record is completed. Once a program is completed, a J-1 visitor in the research scholar or professor category may not be eligible to hold J-1 visitor status in the research scholar or professor category for two years (whether the program was completed after three weeks or after five years). For example, this means that a J-1 visitor to the U.S. in the research scholar or professor category on a nine-month (academic year) program may be subject to the two-year bar from either J-1 category at the completion of that one-year program. This two-year bar or waiting period should not be confused with the two-year home-residency requirement; however, both requirements may be fulfilled simultaneously.
A J-1 visitor currently in the U.S. in the research scholar or professor category will be eligible to apply for additional J-1 status up to the five-year anniversary of that date that the program began. He or she will also be subject to the two-year bar from J-1 status as a research scholar or professor following program completion.