J-1 Scholar/Employee Leaving UMass

J-1 Scholar/Employee Leaving UMass

Program Completion

All J-1 Scholars are permitted a 30-day grace period to leave the U.S. after their DS-2019 expires. Prior to your DS-2019 expiring, you should decide your future plans to ensure your immigration status is not impacted. You may travel within the U.S., but you cannot leave and return to the U.S. Leaving the U.S. ends your J-1 status while in your grace period.

Review the options available to you BEFORE the end date listed on the DS-2019 as extensions and transfers cannot happen AFTER your end date listed on the DS-2019.


A J-1 Exchange Visitor may change employers or schools, which is referred to as a “transfer.” They may transfer from one designated Exchange Visitor program to another designated program provided the J-1 time does not exceed the maximum permitted by his or her J-1 category (e.g., a Research Scholar J-1 category has 5 years). 

J-1 scholars intending to transfer to another program should discuss their plans with the IPO, as well as with the international office (not just the hiring department) of the new school. The transfer is processed through an update in the J-1 scholar's SEVIS record and must be completed prior to the end date as noted on the form DS-2019. There cannot be any gap of time between the two schools. For example, if your UMass DS-2019 ends on April 1, then your new DS-2019 from the new institution must start on April 2.


All international students and scholars who were in the U.S. for any period of time during any calendar year must file a federal tax statement, called an income tax return. Even if you were not paid, all visitors will file some form.

Bars and Limitations

* These apply to the J-1 and J-2 as soon as they enter the U.S. in J status.

Two-Year Home Country Residency Requirement [INA 212(e)] 

Certain J-1 Exchange Visitors will be subject to the Department of State’s Two-Year Home Country Residency Requirement. You and your J-2 dependents will be subject to this requirement if your J-1 program is:

  • funded by either your government or the U.S. government
  • involves specialized knowledge or skills deemed necessary by your home country
  • if you come to the U.S. for graduate medical training.

If this requirement applies to you, you must return to your home country for a cumulative total of two years at the end of your J-1 program. You are not prohibited from traveling to the U.S., but you may not benefit from certain employment-based or family-based visas until the requirement is satisfied. 

Most J-1 Scholars will have the 212e requirement noted on their J-1 visa stamp and DS-2019 by the U.S. Consulate. However, if you were not subject at time of entry to the U.S., you can become subject if your funding changes.

12- and 24-Month Bars on Repeat Participation

The 12-month and 24-month bars are special restrictions on persons who are interested in coming to the U.S. as a J-1 Research Scholar or J-1 Professor. (Note: these bars are different from the restrictions imposed by the 212(e) two-year home country physical presence requirement. Refer to our Section 212(e) page for more information about this restriction). 

  • 12 Month Bar: If you were in the U.S. previously in ANY J-1 status - including J-1 student, student intern, intern, trainee, professor, research scholar, au pair, etc. - you cannot return to the US to participate in a new J-1 Research Scholar or J-1 Professor program until 12 months have passed since the completion of your previous program. Exception: if your previous J-1 program was of a duration of six months or less, in which case the 12-month bar does not apply.
  • 24 Month Bar: J-1 Research Scholars or Professors and your J-2 dependents will be subject to the 24-month bar if you have completed a particular J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program of ANY LENGTH and your SEVIS record becomes inactive BEFORE the full five-year period is over. You must then wait at least 24 months before you may begin a new J-1 program in the Research Scholar or Professor category.

Someone with previous J-1 research scholar or J-1 professor experience can be subject to both the 12-month and 24-month bars simultaneously.