I have been on a J1 student intern visa this spring, visa covering the period from Feb 9, 2015 to Aug 7, 2015 (180 days, or 5 months and 25 days). Am I subject to the twelve months bar that comes with the J1 Research Scholar visa? I have not been able to find a definitive clear condition on the bar. Does it apply if the stay was >=180 days, or >=6 months?
Also, I used the 30 day grace period to get settled end of January and left early September, does this grace period count towards the J1 stay length?
Finally, if I am subject to this bar, is there any alternative? I might get offered a research position at a university and I'm looking at visa options. H1B might be another option but more lengthy and cumbersome to get?