The Catholic University of America

Summary of Federal Laws


Miscellaneous Laws

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

Effect of 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Exchange Visitors-Advisory Issued April 30, 2019 to Sponsors:

 The Department wishes to notify all sponsors designated in exchange programs with work components to let their exchange visitors know, as part of their pre-arrival information and U.S. orientation, that the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) includes changes to the federal income tax law that may affect some exchange visitors.

 The new federal income tax law, which will be implemented in 2019, eliminates the personal exemption of $4,050 when filing Form 1040-NR for nonresident aliens. This may affect exchange visitors’ refund of wages withheld for federal income tax and may consequently increase the cost of Exchange Visitor Program participation.

 As you are aware, tax-related issues are under the purview of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The role of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ Office of Private Sector Exchange is limited to ensuring that designated sponsors remain in conformance with federal, state, and local laws. For more information on the TCJA, please visit the IRS website ( and look for IRS Publication 5307.

 The Department will update its welcome letters for all exchange programs with work components and upload them to the Exchange Visitor Program website by the end of April 2019.

 Thank you for your support of the Exchange Visitor Program and its cultural and educational goals that enrich the lives of both the exchange visitors and the American people.


Update to Memo Below: On May 3, 2019 the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against enforcement of the Unlawful Presence Policy issued in August 2018. See Klasko Immigration Partners update.

August 9, 2018 Policy Memorandum: Accrual of Unlawful Presence and F, J and M Nonimmigrants

Under the new policy, USCIS will start counting days of unlawful presence the day after an F, M, or J status violation occurs, unless the student applies for reinstatement or the student or exchange visitor is covered by some other exception to the unlawful presence counting rules. Prior policy did not count unlawful presence until a USCIS official or immigration judge made a formal finding of a status violation.

F, J, or M nonimmigrants who failed to maintain nonimmigrant status before August 9, 2018. F, J, or M nonimmigrants who failed to maintain their nonimmigrant status7 before August 9, 2018 start accruing unlawful presence based on that failure on August 9, 2018, 8 unless the alien had already started accruing unlawful presence on the earliest of the following:

• The day after DHS denied the request for an immigration benefit, if DHS made a formal finding that the alien violated his or her nonimmigrant status while adjudicating a request for another immigration benefit; 9

• The day after the Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, expired, if the F, J, or M nonimmigrant was admitted for a date certain; or

• The day after an immigration judge ordered the alien excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed). 

F, J, or M nonimmigrants who failed to maintain nonimmigrant status on or after August 9, 2018

An F, J, or M nonimmigrant begins accruing unlawful presence, due to a failure to maintain his or her status10 on or after August 9, 2018, on the earliest of any of the following:

• The day after the F, J, or M nonimmigrant no longer pursues the course of study or the authorized activity, or the day after he or she engages in an unauthorized activity;

• The day after completing the course of study or program (including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period, as outlined in 8 CFR 214.2);

• The day after the Form I-94 expires, if the F, J, or M nonimmigrant was admitted for a date certain; or

• The day after an immigration judge orders the alien excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

 NAFSA has updated the NAFSA web page on this issue. 

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.


Basics of Hiring Foreign Nationals: Presentation by Laura Simkiss, Office of International Student and Scholar Services, January 2019.

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  5-17-19 mlo