Completing your J Program at UMBC
30-day grace period after DS-2019 end date
- Enter/exit the country within 30-days before/after the program.
- You are not allowed to work or conduct research during the grace period.
Notify IES When You Leave the U.S. or Change Visa Status
When you finish your program and leave the U.S. permanently or change to another visa status, please notify IES
Program Completion and Departing the U.S.
J-1 Exchange Visitors must depart the U.S. within 30 days of the DS-2019 program end date, unless the J-1 has applied for a change of status or has transferred his or her J-1 status to another institution before the end of the 30-day grace period.
Restrictions to Returning to the US
Some kinds of J status or circumstances impose restrictions on an individual’s eligibility to return to the US. Please read below for more details on each restriction.
12-Month “Bar” to return as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor
Individuals who have been in the U.S. for more than six months within the last twelve months in J-1 or J-2 immigration status are not eligible to enter the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor for the following 12-month period.
The 12-month bar does not prevent individuals from returning to the U.S. in a different immigration status, such as other J-1 categories, F-1, H-1B or O-1.
24-Month “Bar” to return as a J-1 Research Scholar or Professor
J-1 Professors or Research Scholars are subject to a 24-month restriction on “repeat participation” in that same J-1 category, and may not return to the U.S. as a J-1 visa holder in the Research Scholar or Professor categories for a 24-month period.
The 24-month bar occurs regardless of the duration of the program. Whenever the Exchange Visitor ends his or her academic appointment and returns home, the bar goes in effect. The Exchange Visitor will again be eligible for the J Research Scholar or Professor category after being out of that status for 24 months.
As with the 12-month bar, the 24-month bar does not prevent individuals from returning to the U.S. in a different immigration status, such as other J-1 categories, F-1, H-1B or O-1.
212(e) Two Year Home Residency Requirement
Some J-1 Visitors will be “subject to 212(e),” the Two Year Home Residency Requirement, based on the source of their funding, or the skills they are bringing from their specific country.
This means the Visitor must “reside and be physically present” in their “home” country for an aggregate of two years before they can take certain next steps in the US. A Visitor that is “subject to 212(e)”:
- cannot apply for Permanent Resident, H-1b, L-1 or K-1 status until the 2 year requirement is met or waived
- cannot change to another immigration status of any kind within the US – you must leave the US to apply for the new visa type abroad. The 2 years home residence does not have to be complete if you want to return in any category that is NOT Permanent Resident, H-1b, L-1 or K-1.
J-1 individuals who have received funding from their home government or the US government for J-1 program participation, or whose skills are deemed to be in short supply by the home country, are obliged to leave the U.S. upon completion of their programs. Scholars can check the “Skills List” to see if their skills are listed as subject to the Two-Year Home Residency requirement. The two-year home country residence requirement does not, however, apply in all cases, since there are many countries that do not maintain a list of skills in short supply.
Applying for a 212(e) waiver
Sometimes the requirement to spend 2 years at home before changing to the specific immigration categories listed above can be waived. The waiver process should be initiated and filed by you, not by IES. More information on this waiver process can be found on the Department of State’s website. This process can take up to a year to complete, so please plan ahead!
Important notes about the 212(e) waiver:
- No additional extension: Once you receive a written waiver recommendation from the US Department of State, you cannot extend the current end date of your DS-2019.
- Transfer after waiver: While not recommended, if you are a J-1 scholar at another institution who has already received the 212e waiver but would like to transfer your record to UMBC, it is possible to transfer the J-1 DS-2019 provided the end date remains the same on the new DS-2019.