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J-1 Visa

Mayo Clinic-sponsored J-1 program exchange visitor rules

Important exchange visitor program rules include:

Bars and limitations

12-Month Bar

Exchange program participants may be ineligible to participate in the Professor or Research Scholar categories if they have held any J nonimmigrant status for more than six months within the 12-month period immediately preceding the start of their proposed exchange program.

This 12-Month Bar applies to J-2 dependents as well as J-1 exchange visitors. 

The following exceptions exist:

  • J-1 transfers to Mayo Clinic without any gap
  • Prior stay in the U.S. in J status was for six months or less
  • Presence in J status as a short-term scholar

24-Month Bar

Appointees who participate in an Exchange Visitor Program in the J-1 professor or research scholar categories become subject to the 24-Month Bar upon completion of their Mayo Clinic appointment. This bar prohibits future participation in the professor or research scholar categories for 24 months.

The 24-Month Bar also applies to J-2 dependents of J-1 professors or research scholars if the J-2 desires to return as a J-1 professor or research scholar.

212(e) Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence requirement

Exchange visitors who have received funding from their home country government or the U.S. government, or whose skills are on their home country’s skills list, must leave the U.S. after J-1 program completion. Not all visitors are subject to this requirement.

If you are subject to the Two-Year Rule, then you will not be able to:

  • Change to another nonimmigrant status (except A or G) within the U.S. You may, however, obtain a new nonimmigrant visa in many visa categories by traveling abroad to a consulate.
  • Apply for a Green Card (Legal Permanent Residence).
  • Receive an H visa for temporary work.

In some cases, this requirement may be waived upon recommendation of your home government or on other grounds. Such waivers are the responsibility of the individual exchange visitor, and Mayo Clinic may not be able to give detailed guidance on the waiver process. The final authority to grant the waiver lies with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Submission of a waiver application should be carefully timed. It is wise to consult with the Mayo Clinic Legal Department prior to submitting a waiver application if you are unfamiliar with the potential adverse effects of receiving a waiver. When a waiver approval notice (from USCIS) or a waiver recommendation (by the U.S. Department of State) is granted, the J-1 exchange visitor is no longer eligible for a program extension.

J-1 English proficiency requirements

All J-1 exchange visitors must demonstrate English language proficiency. English proficiency must be measured using one of the following options:

  1. Recognized standardized English language test
  2. A signed letter from an academic institution or English language school confirming that your program was conducted in English
  3. Interview conducted by a Mayo Clinic supervisor or other designee

​ Exceptions to the above criteria apply to exchange visitors that are native speakers of English.


Your participation as an exchange visitor requires that you, and any dependents potentially participating in an exchange program with you, have medical insurance at all times during your exchange visitor program.

Medical insurance coverage information can be found at the J-1 Visa U.S. State Department information site under the "Insurance" dropdown.

Grace period

As an exchange visitor, you and your dependents will be permitted a 30-day grace period following your program end date or the DS-2019 end date (whichever is earlier) during which time you may remain in the U.S. to make plans for departure.

You may not leave the U.S. during the grace period and re-enter using your most recently issued DS-2019 form.

You may not work during your grace period.

Transfer of J-1 sponsorship

If you desire to transfer your J-1 program from Mayo Clinic to another institution, you must first inform the Legal Department at Following this notification, the institution to which you are transferring should formally express to the Mayo Clinic Legal Department ( their interest in hosting you as an exchange visitor. If the Mayo Clinic Legal Department approves the request, your J-1 record will be transferred to your future program sponsor using SEVIS. When Mayo Clinic has transferred your J-1 program and your new institution has produced a new DS-2019, you will be under the sponsorship of your new institution.

You may not begin your appointment with your new sponsor until the transfer process has been successfully completed. The transfer of J-1 program sponsorship must be completed prior to ending your Mayo Clinic program and before the current DS-2019 form expires.

For those of you who will be transferring your J-1 program from another institution to Mayo Clinic, the Mayo Clinic’s Legal Department will provide you with a transfer-in request form including the effective date of your requested transfer as well as Mayo Clinic’s program sponsor number. Time spent in your previous program(s) prior to the transfer will be counted toward the maximum stay allowed. If you wish to transfer your J-1 status from Mayo Clinic to another institution, contact your new institution to determine what transfer procedures must be followed.

Notice of absence for J-1 professors and research scholars

As an exchange visitor, you are required to give notice to the Mayo Clinic Legal Department by contacting if you are going to be absent from the U.S. beyond your accrued sick or vacation days. In general, your absence from your exchange visitor program should not be more than 30 days.

Department of State J-1 or J-2 serious incident reporting requirements

The U.S. Department of State’s Office of Private Sector Exchange Administration (OPA) works with exchange visitor program sponsors to respond to incidents that may adversely affect your exchange program. If you become aware of an incident affecting your health, safety, or welfare, you are required to contact the Legal Department at immediately, as serious incidents must be reported to the OPA within one business day.

Examples of serious incidents can be found at Serious Incident Reporting Examples.

Occasional lectures and consultations

If you have the opportunity to present a lecture, consult on a short-term basis, or participate in a short-term research experience, you are required to consult with to receive approval from the Mayo Clinic Legal Department in advance of the activity. 

Scholars may be eligible for remuneration in the form of a stipend or reimbursement for the activity provided that the exchange visitor is not considered to be an employee of the institution at which the activity will take place.