The Department of State published a rule on November 17th, 2006 regarding key changes to the Exchange Visitor regulations affecting the J Professor and Research Scholar categories.
The major changes include:
5 Year Rule:
The maximum period of participation for J Professors and Research Scholars will be raised from three years to five years. The period of participation is a five-year period, which starts from the program begin date on the DS–2019. This means that exchange visitors on these two categories may now extend up to 5 years, if needed. The extension procedures will remain the same at ISS (application, proof of insurance, etc.)
24 Month Bar:
A new 24–month (two-year) bar on repeat participation in the J Professor or Research Scholar categories will be instituted for those who complete their program participation.
This means that any scholar that comes to the US for any length of time in the Professor or Research Scholar categories will not be able to come back to the US in the J Professor or Research Scholar categories for a period of two years.
Application of the 5 Year Rule and the 24 Month Bar:
The 5 Year Rule and the 24-Month Bar will apply only to those who:
Are currently in the US in J status AND
- are in the Professor or Research Scholar categories for any length of time AND
- will complete their J program on or after the date the new rule becomes effective OR
- New incoming J Exchange Visitors on the Research Scholar or Professor categories
The five-year period is a “continuous” period given to a participant on a “use or lose” basis.
A Research Scholar or Professor comes to Temple University for two years, and returns home for two months. Her Sevis record is maintained during her absence. After two months, s/he then returns to the Temple University. In this case, s/he will have two years and ten months left in her J program. In other words, the two months outside of the U.S. counts toward the total five–year period.
A Research Scholar or Professor comes to Temle for two years and returns home without remaining active on the current J program. While at home, the scholar and the TU department decide there is more work to be done. So, the scholar decides to come back to TU as a Research Scholar or Professor. In this case, the scholar is subject to the 24 month bar becuase her Sevis record did not remain active and she and will not be able to return to the U.S. on the Research Scholar or Professor categories for two years following the date s/he originally returned home. For this scholar, other visa types or J categories may be an option.
24-Month Bar vs. the Two-Year Rule (212e):
The new 24-month bar should not be confused with the Two-Year Rule (212e). These are two completely different regulations.
The two year rule (212e) may apply to anyone who enters the U.S. on a J visa, based on 3 eligibility requirements. The 24–Month Bar only applies to J visa holders who enter the U.S. on the Research Scholar or Professor categories.
The 5-Year Period and 24-Month Bar do not apply to other J categories. Scholars who wish to return to the US without waiting 24 months, may do so on other visa types or in other J categories (i.e. : Short Term Scholar, J–2 Dependent, J Student) based on their eligibility.
Application of the existing 12 Month Bar:
The existing 12 Month Bar will continue to apply to those who:
- Have been in the US in any J status (all categories, except the short–term scholar category) AND
- for six months or more in the 12-month period immediately preceding the proposed DS-2019 start date
Visitors who are subject to the 12 Month Bar are not eligible to begin a new program in the J Professor or Research Scholar categories until 12 months have passed since they were in J status actively participating to their program. However, they are eligible to return to the US on other visa types or in other J categories (i.e. Short Term Scholar, J–2 Dependent, or J Student).