Two-Year Home Residence Requirement
Exchange Visitors and their dependents may be subject to the 212(e) Two-Year Home Residence Requirement. It is determined if a J-1 Scholar is subject to the Two-Year Rule at the time of the visa interview. Please read and understand section 1(a) on the second page of your DS-2019. This requirement is normally associated with government funding (from your country or the United States) and/or the U.S. Department of State skills list.
If you are subject to 212(e), it does not mean that you cannot return to the United States for two years in any non-immigrant status (i.e. F-student or B-tourist). However, it does mean that you cannot change status in the United States or obtain a work visa (H), permanent residency (green card) or an intra-company transferee visa (L) unless this requirement is waived or met. More information on the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement and waiver eligibility can be found on the Home Country Presence Requirement page.
Repeat Participation Bars
12-month bar: USCIS regulation 22 CFR 62.20(d)(ii) established a "12-month bar" on beginning a new J-1 program as a Research Scholar or Professor for those persons who spent the previous year in the United States in any J status (J-1 or J-2). This bar does not apply to transfers from one institution to another, to persons who were Short-Term Scholars, or to persons whose J program lasted less than 6 months.
24-month bar: USCIS regulation 22 CFR 62.20(i)(2) established a "24-month bar" on repeat participation as a Research Scholar or Professor for those persons who were present in the United States in J-1 Research Scholar/Professor category on or after November 17, 2006. The bar does not apply to transfers from one institution to another.
These bars only prevent new programs as Research Scholars and Professors who have previously held J status. They do not prevent someone who has held J status from beginning a new program as a J-1 Student or Short-Term Scholar, nor any other visa status. Once the applicable 12-month or 24-month time period has lapsed, Exchange Visitors are again eligible to begin a program in any J category. The J repeat participation bars also apply to J-2 dependents who accompany the J-1.