Scholar Categories and Status Conditions

J-1 Scholars can come to the United States in different categories depending on the reason for their visit. These descriptions below outline what types of activities are appropriate under each category and some additional considerations for J-1 status.

J-1 Scholar Categories

Short-Term Scholars

Short-Term Scholars may come to the United States for a period of up to six (6) months to lecture, observe, consult, and to participate in seminars, workshops, conferences, or similar types of educational and professional activities. Short term scholars may not change their status or extend their stay. They are subject to the insurance requirements that apply to all J-1 visitors.

Professors and Research Scholars

Professor and Research Scholar participants may not be in the United States in J-visa status for any part of the 12-month period preceding the start date of their programs, indicated on their Form DS-2019. The 12-month bar is waived if the participant is 1) transferring from one exchange program to another within the same participant category; 2) present in the United States no more than six (6) months; or 2) participating in the Short-Term Scholar category. J-1 exchange visitors who have been in any J status (except for Short-Term Scholar) for more than six (6) months of the 12 months preceding the start date of a new J program cannot return to the United States in the J-1 Professor or Research Scholar categories until 12 months have passed from the date of departure from the United States.

It is sometimes the case that a J student will complete his or her degree and wish to return to the United States shortly to take up research which seems to be an extension of the degree program. Although it may be logical for such a person to re-enter in J-1 status in the professor or researcher category, he or she may not do so until he or she has spent twelve months outside the United States. This bar is independent of the two-year home country physical presence requirement.

J-1 Visa Considerations and Limitations

Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement [212 (e)]

Some, but not all exchange visitors are subject to the “two-year home country presence requirement.” Its purpose is to enable the home country to benefit from the experience that exchange visitors gain in the United States. For the terms of the requirement please see item 1(a) on page 2 of the enclosed Form DS-2019. If you have questions about the requirement, such as whether or not you will be subject to it, ask the consular officer when you apply for your visa, or an International Student Advisor at USF.

Five-Year Time Limit

The total stay in the United States for exchange visitors in the Professor or Research Scholar categories is limited to five years. If you are now in the United States in your fifth year in either of these categories, please contact the USF International Student and Scholar Services office so that we can certify that we have complete information on your time in J status.

24-Month Bar

Effective November 18, 2006, in addition to the two-year home country physical presence requirement and the 12-month bar after physical presence in the U.S. in any J-1 classification, the U.S. Department of State has instituted a 24-month bar to entry as a J-1 in the Professor or Researcher categories under certain circumstances. Any individual who participates in and completes an Exchange Visitor program in the Professor or Researcher Scholar categories on or after 11/18/06 is subject to a 24-month bar on “repeat participation” in those categories. Scholars subject to the bar may not return to the U.S. as a J-1 scholar in the Professor or Research Scholar categories for the 24-month period. J-1 visiting scholars in the Short-Term Scholar, Specialist or Student categories are not subject to the 24-month bar. The J-1 category can be found in section four (4) of your DS-2019.