Can a J-1 participate in additional J-1 programs?

This is a question we receive quite often from individuals who have participated in an Intern or Trainee program. They came to the U.S. for on-the-job training purposes and successfully completed their program. They returned home and continued their careers in their home country or elsewhere. Are they eligible for repeat participation? Section 62.22(n) of the J-1 visa regulations addresses this issue:

 

Additional training and internship program participation.
Foreign nationals who enter the United States under the Exchange Visitor Program to participate in training and internship programs are eligible to participate in additional training and internship programs under certain conditions. For both trainees and interns, additional training and internship programs must address the development of more advanced skills or a different field of expertise.

Interns may apply for additional internship programs if they:
(1) Are currently enrolled full-time and pursuing studies at degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institutions outside the United States; or,
(2) Have graduated from such institutions no more than 12 months prior to the start of their proposed exchange visitor program. A new internship is also permissible when a student has successfully completed a recognized course of study ( i.e., associate, bachelors, masters, Ph.D., or their recognized equivalents) and has enrolled and is pursuing studies at the next higher level of academic study.

Trainees are eligible for additional training programs after a period of at least two years residency outside the United States following completion of their training program.

Participants who have successfully completed internship programs and no longer meet the selection criteria for an internship program may participate in a training program if they have resided outside the United States or its territories for at least two years.

If participants meet these selection criteria and fulfill these conditions, there is  no limit to the number of times they may participate in a training and internship program. But remember, participants cannot duplicate previous training; the new program must address the development of more advanced skills or a different field of expertise.

29 Responses to “Can a J-1 participate in additional J-1 programs?

  • Ayush Kumar
    5 years ago

    hi Mario,
    I interned in US this summer on a J1 VISA status as a student intern as it is wriiten in my DS2019 and I am back to my country INDIA SINCE AUGUST. I wanted to know that can I reparticipate in the J 1 program again as I have got another internship in US?

    • If you still qualify as Intern, you can participate in another Intern program. If you no longer qualify as Intern, but rather as Trainee, you must reside outside the U.S. for 2 years.

  • Alex S
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario
    thanks again for this very helpful site.

    I´m thinking about to directly follow up with another J1-program in November. I will still fulfill the criteria for J1 Intern then and don´t fall under the 2 years home residency requirement.

    My question is now if I have to leave the country to apply for another J1 or can I do this here in the U.S.. And what would be the best time to do that?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Alex, you need to return home first. Then you can apply with any program sponsor for another program. They will issue a new DS-2019. Finally, you will need to apply for another J visa at the U.S. consulate.

  • Adela
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,
    I have a question regarding my situation. I’m currently working in US as an intern under J1 visa, which expires in mid May. I found a new internship in a great company and want to apply for a new J1 visa. I know there is a 90 day period that I have to wait. Does this period count between end of the old visa and starting date of new visa? Or does the 90 day period apply after I leave the US after the grace period? Please clarify this for me, I’ve seen and heard of different conditions.
    Thank you in advance.

    • It depends on the visa sponsor. Most will require that you reside outside the U.S. for 90 days. So that 90-day period would start the moment you leave the U.S.

      • Adela
        4 years ago

        Hi Mario,

        Thank you for your reply. How does the sponsor check when I really left the US? Or is it at the embassy level? Is it too risky to try to get the visa before the 90day period?
        Why are there different rules imposed by different sponsors for the same visa?

        Thank you for your answer.

  • fridapucci
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    Thanks for your wonderful website. Im a Phd student with Fullbright sponsorsip for 5 years, Im about to finish my study and got a faculty offer (an instructor) in one university. Since Im done with fullbright can I go home and get another J1 visa right away and work under academic training program and finish my 2 year home residency later?

    Thanks so much for your answer.

    • HTP has designations in the Trainee and Intern categories and the rules for Fulbright scholars may be different. I recommend reaching out to your university, they should be able to help. Good luck!

  • fridapucci
    4 years ago

    Thanks so much for replying. Do you mean the university that will hire me or university where Im currently a student?

  • Laz Collins
    4 years ago

    Hi Marion, Again thanks for the wonderful web site and the best advices for everybody.. My situation is 2 years ago I did J1 internship program in hospitality field but I didnt saw that on the DS it was marked Trainee not Internship. anyway with the sponsor and the hotel i receive Diploma for completed Internship.. My program was from May 2011 – May 2012.. my question is.. currently finishing Masters and Im about to defend my thesis October 2013 and I want to go on a second J1 with different property and different field..Can I do Intern or Trainee?

    Thanks and keep up with the good work my friend!

    Laz

  • Ceasar Ryan Asuncion
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario. I would like to ask regarding my present situation. My DS-2019 will expire this July 8, 2013 and at the same time that would be the last day of my work. I will be going back to th Philippines this July 23, 2013. I am a J1 TRAINEE. Can I participate again in another J1 TRAINEE? How true is it that I have to reside in the Philippines first for the period of 2 years? Shall I look for another program sponsor or is it okay to still apply for the same program sponsor as my present one? But I really need to have a more advance skills? Meaning should my program sponsor need to create more good DS-7002 or Training Plan for my 2nd J1 Trainee Visa? Thank you very much.

    • The J-1 visa regulations allow you to participate in additional J programs under certain conditions. One of those conditions is that you have to wait 2 years before applying for another Trainee program.

  • Judith Molla Salas
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,
    I have a question that I HOPE you can answer me. I had a J-1 VISA (INTERN)-TWO YEAR RULE APPLIES. However I have got a schoolarship in my home university to study my second semester (this coming spring) in the University of Tenesse as a exhange student with another J-1 visa (this time Exhange student). Would I be able to get another J-1 visa? or do I have to request a waiver for this? I have heard that the two year rules only applies if you want to get a H1B Visa or green card. PLEASE i need help with this.

    • Hi Judith, you don’t need a waiver to return to the U.S. on a J visa. 212(e) only applies to H, K and L visas (and legal permanent resident status).

  • Ceasar Ryan G. Asuncion
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I just had finished my J1 Traineeship Program at Salt Lake City, Utah from July 9, 2012 to July 8, 2013. I am eligible in the program under a “TRAINEE” category. Recently, I am now in the Philippines after the expiration of my J1 Visa.

    This 2nd Semester (October 2013 to March 2014), I will be enrolling and studying here in the Philippines with a GRADUATE SCHOOL PROGRAM (Masters in Business Administration). I have read from your blog regarding 2nd J1 Visa Participation where it says “A new internship is also permissible when a student has successfully completed a recognized course of study ( i.e., associate, bachelors, masters, Ph.D., or their recognized equivalents) and has enrolled and is pursuing studies at the next higher level of academic study.”

    Regarding this matter, by December 2013 of this year, I will be starting with my new application and process my 2nd J1 Visa Program. By that time, I will be given a certification that I am currently enrolled in a Master’s Program which I believe that certification would qualify me as an “INTERN” for another J1 Visa. I was a “TRAINEE” before. Can I participate again in another J1 but this time as an “INTERN” considering that I will be studying a Master’s Degree this October 2013 to March 2014? Am I eligible again to participate in the 2nd J1 Visa Program this time as an “INTERN”? I will appreciate your reply.

    Thank you very much.

    Sincerely,
    Ceasar Ryan G. Asuncion.

  • Mehmet Teko
    4 years ago

    Dear Mario,

    I joined trainee program in 2007 for 18 months. In fact it was internship program but in that time there were only one program and in that year it changed to the system it has now. I have 2 year rule on visa and at the end of 2008 i came to my country and changed my visa to student visa and studied graduate degree there and after i did my opt last year i came back to my country at the beginning of this year. My question is if i am allowed to join one of those programs or i have to wait another year?

    Thanks for your help.

  • Lifang
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I interned in US as a J-1 student intern from Nov,2012 to Nov, 2013, and I am back to my country China now. I want to apply for a postdoc in US, I want to know that can I participate in the J-1 program (such as J-1 research scholar again? Thanks.

    • Lifang, I am not familiar with the exact rules for research scholars, sorry.

      • Lifang
        4 years ago

        Dear Mario,

        Thanks for your reply. I have another question. if I apply for another J-1 visa, is it possible? thanks.

  • Elodie
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario,

    I am presently in the US on a J-1 Research Scholar and my husband came on a J-2.
    On both our visas it is written that the two year rule does not apply.
    My husband wined a scholarship for a postdoc and would like to change his J-2 into a J-1, as many of our friends and colleagues have done before us.

    Unfortunately, his contact in the administration says that it is impossible for him to apply for a J-1 and when we protested, added that we are confusing 212 (e) with another regulation which is separate and distinct. It is the “24 month bar against repeat participation in the J-1 Research Scholar or Professor Category” and has no connection with 212 (e). All J-1s and J-2s who use the Research Scholar category are subject to the 24 month bar.

    Do you know about this? Is it really the case?

    Many thanks in advance for your reply.

  • Hello Mario,

    Thank you for this article, but i still did not got an answer.

    These 2 years restrictions should be physically in the country of origin? i.e. I am from lebanon but now working in another Gulf country. Will this affect my application for an H visa for a residency training program in july? (i was on a J-visa as an intern 1.5 yrs ago)

  • ElliotL
    4 years ago

    Hi Mario. First, thanks for your website, it looks pretty complete, but my situation is complicated and I wanted to ask a direction question.

    My situation:
    I just graduated from a US masters in December, and I will graduate from my french school of Masters in March (they need time to organize just to double check academical requirements but they validate without a doubt).
    I am looking for jobs in the US and I am close of getting an offer. As you may know, H-1 wok visa require sponsorship; application open (and close because of too much applicants) on April 1st, and the work period can start in October. Obviously that is a big time gap from January to October 2014, and the company would eventually like me to start before October.

    So I got interested into the J-1 internship program.

    1) The official embassy J1 website says that eligible people are the one “Who have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to their exchange visitor program start date”
    Technically I will be within the 12 month time frame period in March after my official graduation from my french school. But does it matter that I ALSO graduated from a US university in December?

    2) I already have been on the US territory on a J-1 visa 2 times:
    – J-1 student intern as I was doing a full-time research semester in my own university in Spring 2013
    – J-1 student as I was finishing taking my coursework this Fall semester.
    Is that a problem for my situation? Could I be denied the new J-1 intern visa because of the previous ones?

    3) The website mentions the 2-years rule, but I was not under this rule for both my previous J-1 visas. I guess diplomatic and commercial between US and France help on that. Is there any possibility that I have this 2 years rule for this J1 intern visa I want to have?

    I am trying to get flexible because for now, I had some feedback from companies that wanted to take me but could not afford for my H1-B visa to start in October as they were looking for people that could start beginning of 2014. It is very frustrating for me to not land the job just because of visa rules and timings.
    Thanks in advance for your answers!

    Elliot

    • Elliot, the J visa is a cultural exchange visa; it is not a substitute for an H visa. If you are looking for a job, the J visa is not the appropriate visa. If you are looking to participate in a cultural exchange program, then this blog post may be helpful: