The Catholic University of America

Summary of Federal Laws

Students

Miscellaneous Laws

Compliance Partners

Director International Student and Scholar Services

Related Policies

International Student Employment
Categories of Employment

Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961

22 U.S.C. § 2451 et seq.; 22 C.F.R. § 62.1 et seq.

Regulates foreign exchange students and scholars. See also the summary of this law as it relates to employment under the section on Employment

 
Final Rule on Exchange Visitor Program, 79 Fed. Reg. 60294, October 6, 2014: This rule amends process that governs designation of sponsors and overall administration of the Program. There are significant changes: 

More specific filing requirements for entities seeking to become designated sponsors and for sponsors seeking to renew their designation, including requiring current Responsible Officials and Alternate Responsible Officials to undergo background check, along with proposed ROs and AROs.  If the University already has a process in place, as long as it meets the requirements of Subpart A, then staying with current provider is fine.

There will be a 10 day window for replacing departing ROs and AROs. Access to SEVIS for a departing RO must end within 10 days. In addition, although a new hire need not be made in 10 days, someone at the organization must be placed in the position on a temporary basis. In some instances, the Dept. of State may authorize an individual who is not an employee or officer to serve in the role of ARO. Requests to replace the Responsible Officer or add an Alternate Responsible Officer must be submitted in SEVIS, and a signed Form DS–3037 must be either mailed or emailed to the Department of State with the required completed Citizenship Certification, along with certification (by the President or CEO or equivalent) that the individual has undergone a criminal background check conducted at the time of such Certification.

The rule expands the universe of laws and policies the ROs and AROs must be familiar with, to include not just Exchange Visitor Program regulations, but also relevant immigration laws, and all federal and state regulations and laws pertaining to administration of the program, including Department of State and DHS manuals, policies, instructions and guidance on SEVIS and all other operations relevant to the EVP. If ROs and AROs work with programs regarding employment, knowledge on those laws is required as well.

There are also new rules on English language proficiency.  The standard now requires an objective measurement of proficiency and specifies three methods by which this can be determined. There are also  data collection and reporting requirements, especially for J-2 dependents. 

Responsible Officers: Section 22 C.F.R. § 62.9 contains a general requirement that a university administering a program must ensure that the employees involved in the administration of the program are adequately qualified, appropriately trained, and comply with the Exchange Visitor Program regulations. A person who is serving as a responsible officer or an alternate responsible officer must certify that he or she is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. In addition, pursuant to 22 C.F.R. § 62.13, the university must notify the Department of State within 10 days of any change in the responsible officer. A variety of sanctions apply for failure to comply with the requirements listed above.  See 22 CFR 62.13(d).  Sponsors must  (on or before the next business day) notify the Department of State of any investigations of an exchange visitor’s site of activity or any serious problem or controversy that could be expected to bring the Department of State, the Exchange Visitor Program, or the sponsor’s exchange visitor program into notoriety or disrepute, to include: 

  • Potential litigation related to a sponsor’s exchange visitor program, in which the exchange visitor may be a named party
  • Death of an exchange visitor
  • Serious injury of an exchange visitor
  • Sexual abuse allegations

Recordkeeping: Federal regulations require a three-year retention period for all records pertaining to exchange visitors under a J-1 visa. See 22 C.F.R. § 62.10(h).

Reporting: Report due annually to the Department of State. All J-1 sponsors must submit an annual report generated from SEVIS and a narrative report. Sponsors must submit an annual report to the Department of State. The report must be filed on an academic, calendar, or fiscal year basis, as stipulated on the program's designation or re-designation letter. The due dates are:
For Academic Year end designees (June 30th): report due to the Department of State July 31st.
For Calendar Year end designees (December 31st): report due to the Department of State January 31st. For Fiscal Year end designees (September 30th): report due to Department of State October 31st.

Resources:

Regulations and Compliance Administration J-1 Visa (Dept. of State)

J-1 Visa: Academic Program Sponsors 

NAFSA on starting a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and responsibilities

NAFSA copy of J-1 Regulations

NAFSA Immigration Basics for Academic Advisors

NACUANOTES Ten Key Immigrations Concepts for College and University Counsel, Sept. 2017

NAFSA Conference Sesssion Summary Q&A 2017

American Immigration Council Fact Sheet on Exchange Visitor Programs

updated  1-18-18 mlo