End of Program

Ending your J-1 Program

At the end of your J-1 program, you must notify IFSS when you leave the U.S. You must work with your UW–Madison sponsoring department to ensure IFSS knows your departure plans.

If you are departing the U.S. and ending your J-1 program before the end date on your DS-2019, your sponsoring UW department must submit a shorten program request before you leave the U.S. IFSS can update the end date on your DS-2019 to show the shortened end date of your program.

Correctly recording your program completion date is important because it can affect when you may return to the U.S. on a new J-1 program or in another visa status. Your department’s shorten program request is the only way to have the end date of your program changed on your DS-2019 and in SEVIS.

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Certificate of Completion

Certificates of J-1 program completion are available by request.  If you would like a certificate created for you, please email ischolars@ohr.wisc.edu stating your request.

30 Day Grace Period

J-1 scholars and their J-2 dependents are given a 30-day grace period for leaving the U.S. During the 30 days, you will no longer be a J-1 Scholar but can lawfully be in the U.S. to take care of personal affairs. This means that you can use the time to travel in the U.S. or take care of moving. Once you leave the U.S. during the 30 days, the grace period ends, and you will not be able to return without a new status.

Continuing to work within your UW department is not allowed during the grace period. Your department must submit an extension request if you must work beyond the current end date of your DS-2019.


IFSS will hold on to your scholar file for three years after the end date of your J-1 program. After three years, the file will be 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, just in case you may need them in the future.

Insurance Requirement

You must be compliant with your health insurance requirement prior to departing the U.S. All scholars must be enrolled in SHIP through there program end or have an approved waiver through their program end date. Scholar’s are still responsible for their health insurance requirement even if their program has ended and they have departed the U.S.

Scholars who fail to have approved health insurance the entire duration of their program may not be offered sponsorship by UW–Madison in the future.

Changing Status

If your J-1 program is ending because you are changing to another U.S. immigration status please confirm this with IFSS. We may need copies of your new documents for our records.

Some changes are not permitted by your J-1 status. Filing an application for a change to another non-immigrant status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will require time to process. Talk to IFSS for a current estimate of processing times. Individual circumstances may influence procedures and processing times, so it is important to discuss such plans with an IFSS J-1 coordinator in detail as early as possible. Please note that if you are subject to the 212(e) two-year home residence requirement, you will not be eligible for a change of status from within the United States with USCIS and instead will need to change status by travel.

24-Month Bar on Repeat Participation

The 24 month bar prohibits certain J-1 exchange statuses, after completing their program, from returning on certain J-1 statuses again until 24 months has passed from their program completion date.

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Who is Subject to the 24 month bar?

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

According to the U.S. Department of State, exchange visitors who have participated in the Exchange Visitor Program as either the Professor or Research Scholar category, become subject to the bar on “repeat participation.” This applies even if their program participation lasted less than the 5 year maximum.

On the day a Professor or Research Scholar J-1 program is completed or terminated in SEVIS, the 24 month bar on repeat participation begins from that date. Before the individual can have another J-1 Research or Professor Category program in the U.S. with any sponsor, they must wait the 24 months.

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. for 24 months. You may be in the U.S. in other immigration status such as F-1, B-1/B-2 or ESTA, or other J-1 categories such as J-1 Student or J-1 Short Term Scholar. This is not a complete list of statuses you may be able to use.

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 the Research or Professor Categories without waiting 24 months.

2-Year Home Residency Requirement 212 (e)

In some cases, J-1 Scholars are subject to the two-year home residence requirement. Being subject to the requirement means you and your J-2 dependents must return to your home country for two years before being eligible to apply for an immigrant intent status. At UW–Madison, our immigrant-intent statuses are H1-B and U.S. Permanent Residency (aka green card). The requirement also makes you and your J-2 dependents ineligible to change to any other visa status while within the United States.

Not all J-1 visa holders 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, you are subject to the requirement.
  • If your skills are needed in your home country, as registered on the Exchange Visitor Skills List, you are subject to the requirement.
  • 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), you are subject to the requirement.

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Are you 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 an IFSS J-1 Coordinator to look over your program documents. If IFSS agrees that you have been marked as subject incorrectly, there is the option of submitting an Advisory Opinion to the Department of State on your behalf. The processing time for an advisory opinion is roughly 2-3 months. If the Department of State agrees with IFSS’s determination that 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.

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.

Please note: before requesting a waiver, contact an IFSS Advisor. Failure to inform IFSS regarding this matter could negatively affect your J-1 program. This could have negative impacts on both your current program and any future programs.