J-1 Immigration Regulations

Topics covered on this page:

  J-1 Categories

Category Primary Activity Length of Stay
Professor Teaching, lecturing, observing or consulting. A professor may also conduct research. 3 weeks - 5 years. This includes the time spent at another institution on J-1 status.
Research Scholar Conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project under the supervision of a Webster University faculty. The research scholar may also teach or lecture. 3 weeks - 5 years. This includes the time spent at another institution on J-1 status.
Short-term Scholar Lecture, observe,consult, train,or demonstrate special skills at Webster University. 1 day - 6 months. No extension of stay allowed beyond the six months.
Student Study, participate in internship program, engage in academic training or engage in language training. Until completion of degree program - Degree-seeking students.

24 months maximum - Non-Degree Students.

1 day – 12 months - Student interns.


Travel

All exchange visitors and their dependents who intend to travel outside the U.S. temporarily, but plan to return to the U.S. as scholars, must carry the following documents: Valid Passport (valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of re-entry to the U.S.) Valid J-1 visa in passport (This does not include Canadian citizens.) DS-2019 with a valid travel signature (endorsement) from a Responsible Officer (RO) from International Recruitment and International Services. Please note, the signature is valid for one year for professors and research scholars and six months for short-term scholars.

You can get travel signature on your DS-2019 on a walk-in basis, but you should call the Office of Admission at 314-246-7800 in advance to find out if one of the Responsible Officers (ROs) from International Recruitment and International Services will be available. We recommend that you request travel signature on your DS-2019 several weeks before your travel date.

Two-year Home Country Residence Requirement (212(e)

Some J exchange visitors are subject to the two-year home country residence requirement established by The Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) 212(e). An exchange visitor, who is subject to the two-year home residence requirement, must reside and be physically present in home country or last country of legal permanent residence for an aggregate of at least two years following completion of his or her program, before the exchange visitor is eligible to apply for H status (temporary workers and dependents), or L status (intra-company transferees and dependents) or lawful permanent resident status (“green card”).

An exchange visitor is also ineligible to change his or her status within the U.S. (unless the exchange visitor has received a waiver). However, the exchange visitor may leave the U.S. and apply for any other visa and return in that visa classification (such as F-1, B-1 etc.).

Who is subject to 212(e)?

There are three conditions that will make an exchange visitor subject to 212(e):

  • Any exchange visitor who is acquiring a skill that is in critical demand in their home country, according to the Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Skills List.
  • Any exchange visitor who has received U.S. or home government funding.
  • Any exchange visitor who received graduate medical education or training.

Please note that the two-year home residence requirement can affect exchange visitors in any J category, including J-2 dependents. If you are subject to the two-year home-residency rule, then any family members who entered the U.S. as J-2 dependents are also subject to the requirement.

Waiver of the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement

In limited circumstances, exchange visitors who are subject to the requirement may apply for a waiver directly from the Department of State if they meet certain conditions.

Waiver Eligibility

  1. No Objection Statement: Your home country government may issue a No Objection Statement through its embassy in Washington, DC directly to the Waiver Review Division in the Department of State.
  2. Request by an Interested U.S. Federal Government Agency: If you are working on a project for a U.S. federal government agency, that agency may request a waiver on your behalf.
  3. Persecution: If you believe that you will be persecuted based on your race, religion, or political opinion if you return to your home country, you may apply for a persecution waiver.
  4. Exceptional Hardship to a U.S. citizen (or lawful permanent resident) spouse or child of an exchange visitor: If you can demonstrate that your departure from the United States would cause exceptional hardship to your U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouse or child, you may apply for an exceptional hardship waiver.

12-month Bar

Prospective visiting scholars who previously participated in any J category (including J-2 dependents) are ineligible to participate in the J-1 Research Scholar or Professor categories for a period of 12 months after ending the previous J program. An exception to the 12-month bar exists for the following:

  • Participants transferring to Webster University from other J programs without any gap
  • Participants whose previous presence in the U.S. in J status was less than 6 months in duration
  • Participants who were previously present in the U.S. as a J Short-Term Scholar

However, this bar does not prevent participants from returning to the U.S. in any other visa status. 

24-month Bar

Exchange visitors in J-1 Professors or Research Scholars who have completed their programs are not eligible to participate again as professors or research scholars for a period of two years following the end date of the previous program.

This bar applies to both the J-1 and their J-2 dependents of J-1 professors and scholars. This prohibition does not apply to scholars in other J-1 categories. In addition, this bar does not prevent them from returning to the U.S.

The 24-month bar is not the same as the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement. Please refer to the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence for more information.

Transfer

Program Transfer The transfer of a scholar from one Exchange Visitor program (sponsor) to another is permitted if the transfer is within the same category. The transfer procedures must be completed prior to the end date on the current DS-2019. Transfers are not permitted in all categories, and transfer does not extend the maximum duration of the program. Please consult International Recruitment and International Services to determine your eligibility to transfer to Webster University.

Transfer to Webster University

A scholar, who has been offered a position at Webster University and is currently in the U.S. in J-1 status, must complete the J-1 Transfer Form and submit it with relevant documents to International Recruitment and International Services. You will be required to submit the form to your current sponsor and request that your SEVIS DS-2019 record be transferred to Webster University. After receiving the transfer form and your SEVIS electronic record we shall then issue you the new DS-2019 from Webster University. All new scholars must report to International Recruitment and International Services within 15 days of their transfer release date in order to complete the transfer.

Transfer from Webster University

Scholars transferring to another J-1 program must inform International Recruitment and International Services of their intention to transfer to another J-1 program.