2 Year Bar – J-1 Teacher Visa

There are two 2-year bars applicable to the J-1 Teacher Visa. You cannot get around the second bar:
No waiver applies.

Click on the arrow below on screen left for one-minute video explanation.

TWO YEAR BAR for J-1 Teacher Visa #1:

After the end of the 1-5 year J-1 visa term, teachers must return to their home country to share what they have learned in the US.  The end date is June 30 of the 3rd year or 5th year (if you extend).

In May 2020 and April 2021, the State Dept. offered a special 1-year extension for a 6th year due to the Covid 19 travel bans imposed by the State Department and the White House starting in Spring of 2020, which were not lifted until November 8, 2021.

Are they going to offer 6th-7th year J-1 teacher visa extensions for School Year 2022-23? 
We do not think so, but the Exchange Visitor Bureau has not announced it until April or May.

Can I apply for a waiver of the 2 year bar? 
No, do not do that.  Watch the video which explains why:


You must return to your home country for two years at the end of the J-1 visa term (1-5 years), unless you marry an American citizen, in which case you will apply for a different visa status.  Note:  At the point you marry an American citizen, you are no longer eligible for Exchange Visa Status.  You must apply for the correct visa status as the spouse of an American citizen immediately.  The marriage is viewed as “intention to immigrate” by US immigration.

2 YEAR HOME Residency Requirement for J-1 Teacher Visa #2:

If you do not have a 212-E Stamp on the bottom of your J-1 passport visa, it means that you are not subject to the 2-year home-residency requirement.

This is an ADDITIONAL 2-year bar.  You must not apply for a waiver of this 2-year residency requirement if you plan to request an extension of your J-1 teacher visa in the 3rd year, to request a 4th-5th year.  To apply for this extension, you need to present all 3 of the previous year’s Cultural Activity Reports including all the components required for Activities 1 & 2 in Elementary Schools and also Activity 3 in high schools.