Program Completion

Congratulations on completing your exchange program! Please report to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) if you are completing your exchange program before your DS-2019 end date. You must inform OISSS within 10 days of finishing your program—your DS-2019 will be shortened to reflect your new end date.

There is a 30-day window for J-1 scholars following your program called the “grace period.” During the grace period, you can:

  • Prepare to leave the country
  • Change visa status (if eligible)
  • Travel within the U.S. (do not travel outside of the U.S., as you cannot re-enter the U.S. as a J-1 scholar during the grace period)

All other actions, such as extending your program or transferring to another institution for work or research, must be completed before the end date on your DS-2019.

212(e) Home Residency Requirement

Your visa and DS-2019 form will indicate whether or not you are subject to the 212(e) Two-year Home Country Residence Requirement. J-1 exchange visitors are usually subject to 212(e) if they receive government funding to attend their program, or their home government wishes to ensure they return home to share the skills they have learned abroad.

If you are subject to 212(e), you must return to your home country and be physically present there for two years before being able to return to the U.S. on employment-based visas, permanent residency (a green card), or apply for U.S. citizenship.

If you are unsure whether or not you are subject to the 212(e) Two-year Home Country Residence Requirement, check both your visa and DS-2019. They should match and tell you whether or not you are subject.

12-Month Bar

The 12-Month Bar is a law that applies to people who have been, or will be, J-1 Researchers or Professors. The bar states that if you were a J-1 exchange visitor at some point within the last 12-months, you cannot come to the U.S. as a J-1 researcher or professor. (The bar also applies to J-2 dependents.) 

You are eligible for researcher or professor status only IF you have not been physically present in the U.S. as a nonimmigrant for part of the 12-month period immediately preceding the start date of the new program, unless your program in the U.S. was less than 6 months long. 

24-Month Bar (Research Scholars and Professors only)

The U.S. government has created a 24-month bar to prevent "repeat participation" in the J-1 Research Scholar and Professor categories. The bar applies to any Research Scholar or Professor who completes their program. After your program, you must wait for two full years before returning to the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor. (The bar also applies to J-2 dependents.)

The 24-month bar is NOT the same thing as the “Two-Year Home Residency Requirement,” which some visitors are subject to because of governmental funding or skills.