Length of Stay and Other Rules
Length of Stay
Research Scholar/Professor - Maximum duration 5 years
The initial DS-2019 for the Research Scholar will usually be issued for the period of the invitation, as long as there is documentation of funding for the entire period. The J-1 program can then be extended up to a maximum of five years. There is no possibility to extend further. After completion of the program there is a bar to repeat participation in a J-1 Research Scholar program. The Exchange Visitor must wait 2 years before he or she can be eligible to participate in the J-1 Research Scholar category again.
Short-term Scholar - Maximum duration 6 months
A short-term scholar is a person coming to the US for research or teaching (or similar activity in an area of expertise) for a short visit. The visit may be extended up to a maximum of six months. After completion of the program, there is no prohibition on a return to the U.S. in any J-1 category.
Specialist - Maximum duration 1 year
The Specialist category has a maximum period of stay of one year.
Two-year home residency requirement
Under specific circumstances, a J-1 exchange visitor may incur a two year home residency requirement. The J-1 classification is designed to be a method by which individuals from around the world can visit the U.S. to gain or augment specific skills or to share their expertise with colleagues in the U.S. The individuals are then expected to return home to share their skills and experience in their home country. This requirement states that those Exchange Visitors with this requirement applied to their status cannot obtain the H1-B employment visa, L visa or Permanent Residency in the U.S without first returning to his/her country for two years or obtaining a waiver of this requirement. It does not affect returning to the U.S. in any other type of visa. If the individual is subject to this requirement, the J-1 visa stamp and/or DS-2019 form will indicate that the bearer is subject to section “212(e)” of the Code of Federal Regulations. Not all Exchange Visitors are subject to this rule. There are 3 conditions that trigger the application of this rule:
- Skills list - this is the list of fields of study, maintained by the U.S. State Department, that have been determined to be of importance to the Exchange Visitor's home country.
- Government funding - the source of financial support for the Exchange Visitors program comes from a government source, either the U.S. government or the Exchange Visitor's home government; or
- Sponsorship as an Alien Physician by ECFMG
It is possible, in many cases, for the Exchange Visitor to request a "waiver" to the 2 year home residency requirement. We strongly recommend that the Department and Exchange Visitor speak with the ISO before beginning the waiver process. Once the Exchange Visitor has applied for a waiver, the J-1 program cannot be transferred or extended.
Bar on Repeat Participation in the J-1 Program
Separate from the two-year home residency requirement, there is an additional restriction applied only to repeat participation in the J-1 Program. If the program category of the J-1 Exchange Visitor is Research Scholar, the individual is subject to a bar on repeat participation. After conclusion of the J-1 Research Scholar's program, the individual is not eligible to return in that category of the J-1 for 24 months. In addition, if an individual had participated in any other category of the J-1 including J-2, (with the exception of the Short-term Scholar category), he/she may be subject to a 12 month bar.
The J-1 visa is a not an employment-based visa, however, Exchange Visitors are allowed to work in the U.S. only insofar as the employment is directly related to the program for which they have been sponsored by UVA. No employment or payment from a U.S. source other than UVA can occur without prior discussion and written permission from the ISO.