Extensions may be granted until the scholar reaches the five-year maximum given evidence that the J exchange visitor requires additional time to complete his/her program objectives. Sufficient funds (Current Minimum Financial Support) must be available and documented to support the exchange visitor and any dependents. Continuation of insurance for the duration of the extension is also required.
Extension requests should be submitted to ISSO a minimum of two months in advance of the expiration date. Please discuss possible program extension with your Principal Investigator and your department administrator. ISSO will then work with your department and Human Resources to process your paperwork.
Effective November 18, 2006, an individual who participates in the Exchange visitor Program as a Professor or research Scholar becomes subject to a 24-month bar on “repeat participation” in those categories after completing his or her program. Under DOS’s interpretation, the 24-month bar applies under two circumstances: • If the Professor or research Scholar completes a full five years of program participation with one or more sponsors; or • If, before the full five-year period is over, the Professor or Research Scholar completes his or her program. In this case, the continuity of the five-year period is broken, the five-year window is “closed,” the individual is not eligible to access the remaining unused time, and the individual must wait for two years before beginning a new program as a J Professor or Research Scholar.
Understanding the 24-Month Bar, any individual who participates in 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. The 24-month bar will be in effect regardless of whether status in the program is a few months in duration or the full five years allowed. Whenever an exchange program ends and the SEVIS record becomes “inactive”, the five-year window is “closed” and the individual must wait 24 months before beginning a new program as a J Professor or Research Scholars. To take advantage of the full five years of the J Research Scholar category, a scholar would need to have an appointment of five continuous years to keep his/her SEVIS record active. Unused time from the five-year window may not be saved for use later. For example, a J Professor who comes for a single academic year, or a Research Scholar that comes for four months, and then goes home without having his/her SEVIS record kept open and active in his/her absence, would not be able to access the remainder of the five year period of eligibility; would be subject to the 24 month bar and would not be eligible to return to the United States as a J-1 Professor or Research Scholar at any institution until 24-months (two years) after the last program ended.
Your Future Options
If you are subject to the 24 month bar, you will not be able return to the U.S. as a J-1 scholar in the Research Scholar or Professor categories for a two year period. However, you may be able to return in a different J-1 category or with a different type of visa. You may also consider extending your current J-1 status for a longer period, if possible. It is important that you consult with the ISSO at UCSF or other institutions if you have plans to return to the U.S. in the future for research or teaching.