End of Program

Ending your J-1 Program

If, at the end of your J-1 program, you would like a certificate of completion, please contact your J-1 specialist.

If you plan on leaving your appointment and the U.S. earlier than the end date on your DS-2019, you must inform IFSS and your host department. Updating your program end date is important because it may affect the date you can return to the United States on a new J-1 program or in another nonimmigrant status. Notifying IFSS is important because you will be responsible for paying for your SHIP insurance through your original end date even if you have already left the U.S. Your UW department must submit a shorten program request before you leave the U.S.

J-1 scholars and their J-2 dependents have a 30-day grace period after the program ends before they must leave the U.S. During these 30 days, you are not allowed to continue working in your department. You can lawfully remain in the U.S. to travel or take care of personal affairs.

Once you leave the U.S. during the 30 days, the grace period ends, and you will not be able to return to the U.S. as a UW-Madison J-1.  You will need a new immigration status and visa.

IFSS will keep your scholar file for three years after the end date of your J-1 program. After three years, the file will be confidentially destroyed. For this reason, please do not rely on IFSS for copies of your immigration documents (DS-2019s, I-94s, visa stamps, etc.).

Make sure you are keeping your own copies of all immigration documents in a safe place, in case you may need them in the future.

You must:

  • be compliant with your health insurance requirement prior to departing the U.S.
  • be enrolled in SHIP for the duration of your program or have an approved waiver with SHIP.
  • remain compliant with this health insurance requirement even if you left the U.S. and your J-1 program has not ended.

If you fail to have approved health insurance for your entire program, you may not be offered sponsorship by UW–Madison in the future.

Changing Status

If your J-1 program ends because you are changing to another U.S. immigration status, please notify IFSS. We may need copies of your new documents for our records.

Filing an application for a change to another non-immigrant status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires time to process.  Individual circumstances may influence procedures and processing times, so it is important to discuss such plans with a J-1 Specialist in detail as early as possible. Please note that if you are subject to the 212(e) two-year home residence requirement, you cannot change to another immigration status inside the United States.  You must leave the U.S., obtain your visa stamp from a U.S. embassy or consulate and then you can re-enter in the new status.

24-Month Bar on Repeat Participation

If you were a J-1 Research Scholar or J-1 Professor and you completed your program, you must wait 24 months before starting another J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program. You can transfer to another institution before your program is completed.  Transferring to another institution does not trigger the 24-month bar. Note that the 24-month bar is not the same as the two-year home country physical presence requirement.

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Who is Subject to the 24 Month Bar?

1) Professor Category J-1s and your J-2 dependents
2) Research Scholar Category J-1s and your J-2 dependents

On the day your professor or research scholar J-1 program is completed, the 24 month bar on repeat participation starts. Before you can have another J-1 Research Scholar or Professor program in the U.S. with any sponsor, you must wait the 24 months. You can remain in the U.S. but you must be in another status.

Are the 24 months required to be spent in my home country or outside the U.S.?

No. You do not have to be in your home country or outside the U.S. to fulfill this requirement. You may be in the U.S. in another immigration status such as an F-1 or other J-1 categories such as J-1 Student or J-1 Short Term Scholar. 

Can I Waive This Rule?

No, there is no available waiver for the 24 month bar.

I am a J-1 Short Term Scholar, am I subject to this rule?

No, J-1 short term scholars are not subject to the 24 month bar. Once a short term program ends, the individual can come back in either the Research Scholar or Professor category without waiting 24 months.

2-Year Home Residency Requirement 212 (e)

In some cases, J-1 Scholars are subject to the two-year home residency requirement. Being subject to this requirement means you and your J-2 dependents must return to your home country for two years before you are eligible to apply for an immigrant intent status. At UW–Madison, our immigrant-intent statuses are H-1B and permanent residency (aka green card). The requirement also makes you and your J-2 dependents ineligible to change to any other immigration status while in the United States.

Not all J-1 Scholars are subject to this requirement. The requirement applies to individuals in one of the following situations:

  • If you are funded by the United States Government, your own government, or international organizations during part or all of your stay in the United States.
  • If your skills are needed in your home country, as registered on the Exchange Visitor Skills List.
  • If you are a graduate of a foreign medical school participating in an internship, residency, or a clinical training program in the United States sponsored by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

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How do I know if I am subject to 212 (e)?

You should check all of your DS-2019s and J-1 visa stamps to see if you have been subjected to the two year home residency requirement. Sometimes even if your documents state you are not subject, you may still be subject. You can consult IFSS if you have any questions.

Advisory Opinion from the U.S. Department of State

If there is a doubt whether or not you are correctly subject to the requirement, you should consult with a J-1 specialist.  If you have been marked as subject incorrectly, we will submit an Advisory Opinion to the Department of State on your behalf. The processing time for an Advisory Opinion is roughly 3-4 months. If the Department of State determines you are not subject to this requirement, they will put the decision in writing and you will not have to return to your home country before applying for any status that has immigrant intent. You will not need to apply for a waiver either.  The Advisory Opinion applies to you and your J-2 dependents.

212(e) Waiver

If you are subject to the requirement and do not wish to fulfill the requirement, you may apply for a waiver of the two-year home residence requirement. IFSS does not process these waivers for scholars. It is your responsibility to file the waiver. The application for the waiver can be found on the Department of State’s website.

Your J-2 dependents cannot apply for and obtain a waiver separate from you.  You, as the J-1, are required to submit the waiver for you and your family.

Please note: before requesting a waiver, contact your J-1 specialist. Failure to inform IFSS regarding this matter could negatively affect your J-1 current and future programs.