24 Month Bar on Repeat Participation

(For J-1 Research Scholar or Professor categories only)


In December 2006, the U.S. Department of State issued a clarification on new requirements governing the issuance of J-1 status in the Research Scholar and Professor categories.  While the rule changes did provide an increase in the number of years a foreign national may hold J-1 Research Scholar or Professor category status (increase from 3 years to 5 years maximum), it provided a limitation on the time between activities a foreign national may be able to hold J-1 Research Scholar or Professor status.

A J-1 visa holder (Research Scholar or Professor category) may pursue an activity for up to 5 years from the date of entry to the U.S. in that status.  This is an aggregate from the date of entry.

However, if a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor concludes their activity and leaves the U.S., they may NOT re-enter the U.S. in J-1 status (Research Scholar of Professor category) for at least 24 months from the date of the end of the initial activity.  As an example, if an individual comes to Brandeis University as a Postdoctoral Fellow for one year in J-1 Research Scholar category, finishes their activity at Brandeis and then returns to their home country (or another country), they may NOT return to the U.S. (to Brandeis or another institution) in J-1 Research Scholar or Professor category until they have been out of the U.S. for at least 24 months from the date they ended their initial activity at Brandeis.

While this rule does not prevent an individual from re-entering the U.S. in tourist (B-1, B-2, or Visa Waiver Tourist) status, or as a J-1 Short-Term Scholar (for activity less than 6 months of duration), this can be inconvenient to an individual who gets invited to pursue another exchange visitor activity within 24 months of the previous activity.  An individual in this scenario described above could not return to the U.S. as a Postdoctoral Fellow in J-1 status for that second period if the term of stay was greater than six months.

*IMPORTANT NOTE:  Please note that this 24 Month Bar is NOT the same as the J-1 Two-Year Homestay requirement – these are two different conditions that can affect J-1 visa holders.

For this reason, if you are inviting a scholar who has recently been in the U.S. in any visa status, but especially J-1, it will be important for the ISSO to receive documentation and verification of the period of stay in that previous visa status to determine eligibility for a new visa status to come to Brandeis.  Please feel free to contact the ISSO for further details and consultation.