Welcome to the Immigration section of our webpage. This front page will reflect our most current information on immigration law affecting educational institutions.
Chinese applicants who qualify for a B-category nonimmigrant visa (NIV) may now be issued multiple-entry visas for up to 10 years for business and tourist travel. Qualified Chinese students and exchange visitors and their dependents who qualify for F, M, or J-category visas are now eligible for multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years or the length of their program. U.S. citizens eligible for Chinese short term business and tourist visas should also receive multiple-entry visas valid for up to 10 years, while qualified U.S. students may receive student residency permits valid up to five years, depending on the length of their educational program.
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. The new rule is effective Jan. 5, 2015. The insurance amounts listed in 22 CFR 62.14(b)(1)–(4) and the provisions of 22 CFR 62.14(h) will be applicable on May 15, 2015. 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 new 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 new data collection and reporting requirements, especially for J-2 dependents.
For a full summary of the all the changes in the new rules, see the NAFSA J Subpart A Rule Resource Page. This page contains a good summary of the redesignation application requirements as well. A long list of supporting documentation is detailed.