9 FAM 402.5

(U) Students and Exchange Visitors – F, M, and J Visas

(CT:VISA-432;   08-08-2017)
(Office of Origin:  CA/VO/L/R)

9 FAM 402.5-1  (U) Statutory and regulatory authority

9 FAM 402.5-1(A)  (U) Immigration and Nationality Act

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) INA 101(a)(15)(F) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(F)); INA 101(a)(15)(J) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(J)); INA 101(a)(15)(M) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(M)); INA 212(a)(6)(C) (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(C)); INA 212(e) (8 U.S.C. 1182(e)); INA 212(j) (8 U.S.C. 1182(j)); INA 214(b) (8 U.S.C. 1184(b)); INA 214(l) (8 U.S.C. 1184(l)), INA 214(m) (8 U.S.C. 1184(m)).

9 FAM 402.5-1(B)  (U) Code of Federal Regulations

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) 22 CFR 41.61; 22 CFR 41.62; 22 CFR 41.63; 22 CFR Part 62.

9 FAM 402.5-2  (U) Overview

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

(U) Except for incidental, short-term courses permitted under a B visa (see 9 FAM 402.5-5(I)(3), an alien must have a student visa to study in the United States. The course of study and type of school he/she plans to attend determines whether he/she needs an F-1 visa (academic) or an M-1 visa (nonacademic, vocational). Exchange visitor (J-1) visas are for individuals approved to participate in exchange visitor programs in the United States, which can range from research scholar to camp counselor to physician.  Students and exchange visitors must be accepted by their schools or program sponsors before applying for visas. 

9 FAM 402.5-3  (U) Categories of F, J, and M Visas

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) 22 CFR 41.12 identities the following F, J, and M visas classifications for aliens engaged in study or participation in exchange programs:

F1

Student in an academic or language training program

F2

Spouse or Child of F1

F3

Canadian or Mexican national commuter student in an academic or language training program

J1

Exchange Visitor

J2

Spouse or Child of J1

M1

Vocational Student or Other Nonacademic Student

M2

Spouse or Child of M1

M3

Canadian or Mexican national commuter student (Vocational student or other nonacademic student)

9 FAM 402.5-4  (U) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)

9 FAM 402.5-4(A)  (U) Background on SEVP

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) In response to a requirement in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, in 1997, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiated a pilot program to monitor the academic progress, movement, etc. of foreign students and exchange visitors from entry into the United States to departure.  This program was formerly known as Coordinated Interagency Partnership Regulating International Students (CIPRIS).  As part of post-9/11 reforms, CIPRIS was renamed the Student and Exchange Visitor Identification System (SEVIS), and SEVP was established to manage SEVIS.

b. (U) SEVP manages the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) that monitors schools and programs, students, exchange visitors, and their dependents throughout the duration of approved participation within the U.S. education system.  Posts can access the SEVIS record associated with the student through the Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) SEVIS report.

c.  (U) School and program administrators with inquiries about individual student and exchange visitor visa cases may contact the Department of State, National Visa Center, Nonimmigrant Visa Unit at 603-334-0888. Consular officers should contact the Education and Tourism Division CA/VO/F/ET with policy and procedural questions related to F, M, and J visas.

9 FAM 402.5-4(B)  (U) Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Record is Definitive Record

(CT:VISA-149;   07-20-2016)

a. (U) While applicants must still present a paper Form I-20 (F or M visa) or Form DS-2019 (J visa) in order to qualify for a visa, the SEVIS record is the definitive record of student status and visa eligibility.  You must always check an applicant's SEVIS status before issuing an F, M, or J visa, for two reasons.  First, you must verify that the SEVIS fee has been paid (see following paragraph).  Second, while presentation of a valid Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 generally indicates that an individual is entitled to apply for a visa, the electronic SEVIS record in the CCD, not the paper form, is the definitive record.  Posts must ensure that part of their interview procedure includes a routine check of SEVIS for all applicants.

b. (U) The SEVIS record will indicate the applicant's current SEVIS status.  Posts should issue F, M, or J visas only to visa applicants whose SEVIS record indicates a SEVIS status of "initial" or "active."

c.  (U) On occasion, you may encounter visa applicants who present a hard copy Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 but you are unable to locate the record in the CCD.  This may occur because records were not "swept" into the CCD from the SEVIS database as usual.  If the applicant is otherwise qualified, refuse the visa under Section 221(g) for administrative processing and alert the Visa Office F/M/J portfolio holder listed in the CAWeb "Who's Who" in VO for assistance in verifying the record.

9 FAM 402.5-4(C)  (U) The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) All students and exchange visitors, except those that are Government sponsored, must pay the Form I-901 fee and must use Form I-901, Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants, to pay the SEVIS fee.  Form I-901 and filing instructions are available at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Website.  You must verify SEVIS fee payment through the SEVIS CCD report.  If the applicant's CCD SEVIS record does not show the fee was paid but the applicant states it was, you can easily and accurately verify the SEVIS payment by entering the SEVIS number, the last name of the applicant, and the applicant's date of birth into the FMJfee.com website.  Applicants who cannot demonstrate that they have paid the SEVIS fee should be refused under INA 221(g).  Questions about SEVIS fee payment should be directed to the Visa Office F/M/J portfolio holder listed in the CAWeb "Who's Who" in VO, who will relay the inquiry to the action office.  Additional details and FAQs on the SEVIS fee can be found on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website and at the Study in the States website.

9 FAM 402.5-5  (U) Students: Academic and NonAcademic – F and M Visas

9 FAM 402.5-5(A)  (U) Related Statutory and Regulatory Authorities

9 FAM 402.5-5(A)(1)  (U) Immigration and Nationality Act

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

INA 101(a)(15)(F) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(F)); INA 101(a)(15)(M) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(M)); INA 212(a)(6)(C) (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(C)); INA 214(b) (8 U.S.C. 1184(b)); INA 214(l) (8 U.S.C. 1184(l)), INA 214(m) (8 U.S.C. 1184(m)).

9 FAM 402.5-5(A)(2)  (U) Code of Federal Regulations

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

22 CFR 41.61.

9 FAM 402.5-5(B)  (U) Overview

 (CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) An F or M visa is required for individuals to enter the United States to attend university or college, public or private secondary school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory, other academic institution, including a language training program, or vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language training program.

b. (U) Citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) participating countries who intend to study cannot travel on the VWP or on visitor (B) visas, except to undertake recreational study as part of a tourist visit.  Study leading to a degree or certificate conferred by either a U.S. or foreign educational institution is also not permitted on a visitor (B) visa, even if it is for a short duration.  For example, distance learning which requires a period of time on the institution’s U.S. campus requires an F-1 visa.

c.  (U) B-2 visa appropriate for certain students: See 9 FAM 402.5-5(R)(3) for information on appropriate issuance of B-2 visas to prospective students, 9 FAM 402.5-5(I)(3) on students pursuing a short course of study, and 9 FAM 402.5-5(J)(2), 9 FAM 402.1-3 paragraph a, and 9 FAM 402.1-5(C) for derivative children applying for B-2 status.

9 FAM 402.5-5(C)  (U) Qualifying for a Student Visa (F-1/M-1)

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) An applicant applying for a student visa under INA 101(a)(15)(F) or INA 101(a)(15)(M) must meet the following requirements in order to qualify for a student visa:

(1)  (U) Acceptance at a school as evidenced by a Form I-20 (see 9 FAM 402.5-4(B) above and 402.5-5(D) below);

(2)  (U) Present intent to leave the United States at conclusion of approved activities (see 9 FAM 402.5-5(E) below);

(3)  (U) Possession of sufficient funds to meet the individual's financial needs (see 9 FAM 402.5-5(G) below); and

(4)  (U) Preparation for course of study (see 9 FAM 402.5-5(H) below).

b. (U) If an applicant fails to meet one or more of the above criteria, he or she must be refused a visa under INA 214(b).

9 FAM 402.5-5(D)  (U) Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status - For Academic and Language Students

9 FAM 402.5-5(D)(1)   (U) Form I-20 Required

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) A prospective nonimmigrant student must have a Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, issued by an SEVP-certified school in order to be issued an F-1 or M-1 student visa.  Only an SEVP-certified school can issue a Form I-20 to students who have been accepted for enrollment.  The Form I-20 constitutes proof of acceptance at an SEVP-certified school and allows the holder to apply for a visa or change of status and admission into the United States.  The Form I-20 has the student’s unique SEVIS identification (ID) number on the upper left hand side with the visa class printed on the top right hand side.  New forms do not have a bar code.  SEVIS ID numbers are an N followed by 9 digits.  Old Forms I-20 with a bar code ceased to be issued as of June 26, 2015 and became invalid for visa issuance on July 1, 2016. 

b. (U) An F-1 or M-1 visa may be issued only to an applicant who presents a properly completed and valid Form I-20 from the institution the student will attend and who is otherwise eligible for a visa.  These forms are issued only in the United States by approved institutions to students who will pursue a full course of study. 

c.  (U) F/M/J visa applicants must present signed Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 prior to visa issuance.  If there are minor errors on the form (e.g., a program start date that is off one day) you can process the case using that form.  However, if the form indicates an unrealizable program start date, or has a typographic error in the biographic data, you must verify that the information is correct in SEVIS.  The SEVIS record is the definitive record of student status and visa eligibility.  In most cases, the electronic record can be corrected by the institution without requiring issuance of a new hard copy Form I-20 or Form DS 2019.  You must verify that the SEVIS status is either "initial" or "active".  Make a case note that the electronic record contains corrections and that the traveler will present the original Form I-20 at the port of entry.  CBP accesses the electronic record using the SEVIS number.

d. (U) A Form I-20 must bear the signature of the designated school official (DSO) certifying that:

(1)  (U) The student's application for admission has been fully reviewed and is approved;

(2)  (U) The student is financially able to pursue the proposed course of study;

(3)  (U) Page 1 of the Form I-20 was completed and verified to be accurate prior to signature; and

(4)  (U) If the student will be attending a public high school on an F-1 visa, the school indicates that the student has paid the unsubsidized cost of the education (see INA 214(m)) and the amount submitted by the student for that purpose.

e. (U) A Form I-20 issued by a school system must indicate the specific school within the system that the student will attend.

f.  (U) If the applicant submits a Form I-20 that does not contain all the required information, you must refuse the visa under section 221(g) and require that the missing information be submitted.

9 FAM 402.5-5(D)(2)  (U) Student Must Present Form I-20 at Port of Entry (POE)

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) At the time of admission to the United States, a student must present the entire Form I-20, properly and completely filled out and signed by the designated school official (DSO) and the student.  Thus, after the visa interview or after an F-1 or M-1 visa has been issued, you must return the completed Form I-20, together with all supporting financial evidence, to the individual for presentation to the U.S. immigration officer at the port of entry (POE).  Upon the student's arrival, the immigration officer will examine the documentation and return the financial evidence to the individual.

b. (U) The student must retain the form at all times while in the United States.  If the student loses it, he or she must obtain a replacement copy from the designated school official (DSO).

9 FAM 402.5-5(D)(3)  (U) Suspension of Cases Involving Unrealizable Reporting Dates

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) Action on the application must be suspended if the program start date specified in the applicant's Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 is already past or you believe that the applicant will be unable to meet that date.  The officer must review the SEVIS record in the Consolidated Consular Database (CCD) to determine whether the designated school official (F,M visas) or responsible officer (J visas) has amended the SEVIS record to change the program start date.  If this has not already been done, the applicant must request the official enter a new program begin date in SEVIS that the applicant can meet.  You may then issue the visa based on the electronic record.  You should enter a case note that the electronic record contains a new program begin date and that the traveler will present the original Form I-20 at the port of entry.  CBP accesses the electronic record using the SEVIS number.

b. (U) You may issue an F or M visa to an applicant who is otherwise qualified, was previously admitted in F or M status, and is seeking to renew the visa to continue participation in a student program, as long as the status of the individual’s SEVIS record is "active." 

c.  (U) Do not renew F or M visas for individuals whose SEVIS status is in any other status, regardless of presentation of a hard copy Form I-20 that may appear to be valid on its face.

9 FAM 402.5-5(D)(4)  (U) Fraud Related to Form I-20

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Fraud, as it relates to F and M cases, often involves the submission of false records to institutions to secure a Form I-20.  Posts may also observe unusual patterns of Form I-20 issuance from a particular institution.  If any type of fraud is suspected, you should refuse the visa under section 221g and refer the case to post's Fraud Prevention Manager through ECAS and to CA/FPP.  In addition, notify the F/M/J portfolio manager in CA/VO/F/ET.  If a fraud investigation confirms fraud or misrepresentation of a material fact on the part of the applicant, you must consider the applicability of ineligibility under INA 212(a)(6)(C).  Questions concerning an applicant's ineligibility under INA 212(a)(6)(C) must be addressed to the Advisory Opinions Division of the Visa Office (CA/VO/L/A).

9 FAM 402.5-5(D)(5)  (U) F-1 Form I-20 Sample

(CT:VISA-432;   08-08-2017)

(U) See Form I-20 Sample.

9 FAM 402.5-5(E)  (U) Residence Abroad

9 FAM 402.5-5(E)(1)  (U) Residence Abroad Required

(CT:VISA-432;   08-08-2017)

a. (U) INA 101(a)(15)(F)(i) requires that an F-1 applicant possess a residence in a foreign country he or she has no intention of abandoning.  You must be satisfied that the applicant intends to depart upon completion of the approved activity.  Consequently, you must be satisfied that the applicant, at the time of visa application:

(1)  (U) Has a residence abroad;

(2)  (U) Has no immediate intention of abandoning that residence; and

(3)  (U) Intends to depart from the United States upon completion of approved activities.

b. (U) Examining Residence Abroad:  General rules for examining residence abroad are outlined in 9 FAM 401.1-3(F)(2).  If you are not satisfied that the applicant’s present intent is to depart the United States at the conclusion of his or her study or OPT, you must refuse the visa under INA 214(b).  To evaluate this, you should assess the applicant’s current plans following completion of his or her study or OPT.  The hypothetical possibility that the applicant may apply to change or adjust status in the United States in the future is not a basis to refuse a visa application if you are satisfied that the applicant’s present intent is to depart at the conclusion of his or her study or OPT. 

9 FAM 402.5-5(E)(2)  (U) Relationship of Education or Training Sought to Existence of Ties Abroad

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) The fact that a student’s proposed education or training would not appear to be useful in the homeland is not, in itself, a basis for refusing an F-1 or M-1 visa.  This remains true even if the applicant‘s proposed course of study seems to be impractical.  For example, if a person from a developing country wishes to study nuclear engineering simply because he enjoys it, he may no more be denied a visa because there is no market for a nuclear engineer’s skills in his homeland than he may be denied a visa for the study of philosophy or Greek simply because they do not lead to a specific vocation.

b. (U) The fact that education or training similar to that which the applicant plans to undertake is apparently available in the home country is not in itself a basis for refusing a student visa.  An applicant may legitimately seek to study in the United States for various reasons, including a higher standard of education or training.  Furthermore, the desired education or training in the applicant's homeland may be only theoretically available; openings in local schools and institutions may be already filled or reserved for others.

9 FAM 402.5-5(E)(3)  (U) Returning Students

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

(U) Some students must apply for visa renewals if they go home or travel during their period of study.  You should generally issue visas to returning students who are qualified, unless circumstances have changed significantly from the time of previous issuance.  Students should be encouraged to travel home during their studies in order to maintain ties to their country of origin.  If students feel that they will encounter difficulties in seeking a new student visa or that they will not be issued a visa to continue their studies, they may be less inclined to leave the United States during their studies and hence may distance themselves from their family and homeland.  Posts should facilitate the reissuance of student visas so that these students can travel freely back and forth between their homeland and the United States and thereby maintain their ties.

9 FAM 402.5-5(F)  (U) Knowledge of English

9 FAM 402.5-5(F)(1)  (U) Notation on Form I-20

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

(U) If the individual's Form I-20 indicates that proficiency in English is required for pursuing the selected course of study and that no arrangements have been made to overcome any English-language deficiency, you must determine whether the visa applicant has the necessary proficiency.  To this end, the officer must conduct the visa interview in English and may require the applicant to read aloud from an English-language book, periodical, or newspaper, and to restate in English in the applicant's own words what was read.  The applicant may also be asked to read aloud and explain several of the conditions set forth in the Form I-20.  A student must demonstrate English language proficiency only if an admitting institution has made English language ability a requirement for the intended course of study.

(1)  (U) If a school has admitted an applicant on the basis of the applicant's TOEFL or other English language test scores, the officer must not reevaluate the school's admission decision, even if the applicant seems to know less English than the TOEFL score indicates, unless the officer suspects the applicant obtained the results through fraud.  Many students do well on the TOEFL, but seem to forget their English when confronted with a face-to-face interview with a consular officer.

(2)  (U) If the school is aware of a student's lack of English proficiency and has made arrangements for the student to study English before enrolling in regular courses, then the lack of English skills is not relevant.

9 FAM 402.5-5(F)(2)  (U) Courses for Students Taught in a Language Other than English in which the Student Is Proficient

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Proficiency in English is not required of a student if the enrolling institution conducts the course in a language in which the visa applicant is proficient.

9 FAM 402.5-5(F)(3)  (U) English as a Second Language (ESL)

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) The fact that an English as a Second Language (ESL) or other education program is available locally is not in itself grounds for refusing an applicant.  Many students find language learning enhanced by living in the country where the language is spoken. Students who intend to study in ESL-only programs must present a valid Form I-20 and be found qualified for an F visa.  Postsecondary institutions that require English proficiency in order for a student to matriculate use a variety of mechanisms, and such arrangements must be evident on the visa applicant's Form I-20.  Contact the Visa Office F/M/J portfolio holder listed in the CAWeb "Who's Who" in VO for additional guidance, as required.

9 FAM 402.5-5(G)  (U) Adequate Financial Resources

9 FAM 402.5-5(G)(1)  (U) Determining Financial Status of F-1 and M-1 Students

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) The sponsoring school is required to verify the availability of financial support before issuing the Form I-20.  Schools may not be as well-versed in local documentation or cultural practices as posts may be; therefore, you must still ensure that the student has sufficient funds to successfully study in the United States without being forced to resort to unauthorized employment.

b. (U) F-1 Student:  The phrase "sufficient funds to cover expenses" referred to in 22 CFR 41.61(b)(1)(ii) means the applicant must have sufficient funds to successfully study in the United States without resorting to unauthorized U.S. employment for financial support.  An applicant must provide documentary evidence that sufficient funds are, or will be, available to defray all expenses during the entire period of anticipated study.  This does not mean that the applicant must have cash immediately available to cover the entire period of intended study, which may last several years.  You must, however, establish, usually through credible documentary evidence, that the applicant has enough readily available funds to meet all expenses for the first year of study.  You also must be satisfied that, barring unforeseen circumstances, adequate funds will be available for each subsequent year of study from the same source or from one or more other specifically identified and reliable financial sources.

c.  (U) M-1 Student:  All applicants for M-1 visas must establish that they have immediately available to them funds or assurances of support necessary to pay all tuition and living costs for the entire period of intended stay.

9 FAM 402.5-5(G)(2)  (U) Adequate Medical Insurance

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) F and M students and their dependents are not required to have U.S. medical or travel insurance in order to qualify for a visa.

9 FAM 402.5-5(G)(3)  (U) Funds From Source(s) Outside the United States

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) When an applicant indicates financial support from a source outside the United States (for example, from parents living in the country of origin), you must determine whether there are restrictions on the transfer of funds from the country concerned.  If so, you must require acceptable evidence that these restrictions will not prevent the funds from being made available during the period of the applicant's projected stay in the United States.

9 FAM 402.5-5(G)(4)  (U) Affidavits of Support or Other Assurances by an Interested Party

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Various factors are important in evaluating assurances of financial support by interested parties:

(1)  (U) Financial support to a student is not a mere formality to facilitate the applicant's entry into the United States, nor does it pertain only when the individual cannot otherwise provide adequate personal support.  Rather, the sponsor must ensure that the applicant will not become a public charge nor be compelled to take unauthorized employment while studying in the United States.  This obligation commences when the visa holder enters the United States and continues until the visa holder's completion of their program of study and departure.

(2)  (U) You must resolve any doubt that the financial status of the person giving the assurance is sufficient to substantiate the assertion that financial support is available to the applicant.

(3)  (U) You must also carefully evaluate the factors that would motivate a sponsor to honor a commitment of financial support.  If the sponsor is a close relative of the applicant, there may be a greater probability that the commitment will be honored than if the sponsor is not a relative.  Regardless of the relationship, you must be satisfied that the reasons prompting the offer of financial support make it likely the commitment will be fulfilled.

9 FAM 402.5-5(G)(5)  (U) Funds from Fellowships and Scholarships for F-1 Student

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) A college or university may arrange for a nonimmigrant student to engage in research projects, give lectures, or perform other academic functions as part of a fellowship, scholarship, or assistantship grant, provided the institution certifies that the student will also pursue a full course of study.

9 FAM 402.5-5(G)(6)  (U) Post-Doctoral Research Grants for F-1 Student

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) A visa applicant may be issued an F-1 visa for post-doctoral research even if the college or university provides compensation to the individual in the form of a grant.

9 FAM 402.5-5(H)  (U) Educational Qualifications for F-1 and M-1 Students

9 FAM 402.5-5(H)(1)  (U) Consular Role in Determining Educational Qualifications

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) The Form I-20 and SEVIS record are evidence that a school has accepted the applicant as a student.  You should normally not go behind the Form I-20 or SEVIS record to assess the applicant's qualifications as a student for that institution.  If you have reason to believe that the applicant engaged in fraud or misrepresentation to garner acceptance into the school, then that information is an important factor to consider in determining if the applicant has a bona fide intent to engage in study in the United States.

b. (U) You are not expected to assume the role of guidance counselor to determine whether an applicant for an F-1 or M-1 visa is qualified to pursue the desired course of study.  You must, however, be alert to three specific factors when determining whether the applicant qualifies for a student visa:

(1)  (U) The applicant has successfully completed a course of study equivalent to that normally required of a U.S. student seeking enrollment at the same level;

(2)  (U) Cases in which an applicant has submitted forged or altered transcripts of previous or related study or training which the institution has accepted as valid; and

(3)  (U) Cases in which an institution has accepted an applicant's alleged previous course of study or training as the equivalent of its normal requirements when, in fact, such is not the case.

c.  (U) Through its school certification process, SEVP evaluates the qualifications of a school to issue Forms I-20.  This process includes a determination as to whether the school is a bona fide, established institution of learning which possesses the necessary facilities, personnel, and finances to conduct instruction in recognized courses of study.  Evaluation also involves an on-site visit.  If you have reason to question the authenticity of a school or exchange program, please contact the (CA/VO/F/ET) F/M/J portfolio holder and the Office of Fraud Prevention Programs (CA/FPP) so inquiries to ECA or SEVP are appropriately coordinated through CA.

d. (U) Many U.S. colleges and universities do not require foreign students to submit SAT scores or other standardized admission test scores, and not all schools require specific grade point averages (GPAs) for admission.  As a result, you may not require that applicants provide admission test scores, or that applicants have a certain grade point average.  Note that SEVP does not have a role dictating admissions practices to the schools they approve to issue Form i-20.

9 FAM 402.5-5(H)(2)  (U) Choice of Academic Institution

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Which school a student chooses is not nearly as important as why he or she chooses it.  A plan that includes initial attendance at a community college or English language program, and then a transfer to a four-year college is becoming more common.  Attendance at a lesser-known college or university is not, in itself, a ground of ineligibility and applicants cannot be refused a visa for this reason.  There is no legal difference between SEVP-certified community colleges, English language schools, and four-year institutions in terms of their authorization to issue Form I-20.

9 FAM 402.5-5(I)  (U) Full Course of Study

9 FAM 402.5-5(I)(1)  (U) F-1 Academic Student

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations (8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)) specify that “successful completion of the full course of study must lead to the attainment of a specific educational or professional objective.  A "full course of study" as required by INA 101(a)(15)(F)(i) means:

(1)  (U) Postgraduate study or postdoctoral study at a college or university, or undergraduate or postgraduate study at a conservatory or religious seminary, certified by a designated school official (DSO) as a full course of study;

(2)  (U) Undergraduate study at a college or university, certified by a school official to consist of at least 12 semester or quarter hours of instruction per academic term in those institutions using standard semester, trimester, or quarter hour systems, where all undergraduate students who are enrolled for a minimum of twelve semester or quarter hours are charged full-time tuition or are considered full-time for other administrative purposes, or its equivalent (as determined by the district director in the school approval process), except when the student needs a lesser course load to complete the course of study during the current term;

(3)  (U) Study in a postsecondary language, liberal arts, fine arts, or other non-vocational program at a school which confers upon its graduates recognized associate or other degrees or has established that its credits have been and are accepted unconditionally by at least three institutions of higher learning which are either:

(a)  (U) A school (or school system) owned and operated as a public educational institution by the United States or a State or political subdivision thereof; or

(b)  (U) A school accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body and which has been certified by a designated school official to consist of at least twelve clock hours of instruction a week, or its equivalent as determined by the district director in the school approval process;

(4)  (U) Study in any other language, liberal arts, fine arts, or other non-vocational training program, certified by a designated school official to consist of at least eighteen clock hours of attendance a week if the dominant part of the course of study consists of classroom instruction, or to consist of at least twenty-two clock hours a week if the dominant part of the course of study consists of laboratory work; or

(5)  (U) Study in a curriculum at an approved private elementary or middle school or public or private academic high school which is certified by a designated school official to consist of class attendance for not less than the minimum number of hours a week prescribed by the school for normal progress towards graduation.

b. (U) Notwithstanding paragraphs 8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(i)(A) and 8 CFR 214.2 (f)(6)(i)(B) of this section, an alien who has been granted employment authorization pursuant to the terms of a document issued by USCIS under paragraphs 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(i) or 8 CFR 214.2(f)(9)(ii) of this section and published in the Federal Register shall be deemed to be engaged in a "full course of study" if he or she remains registered for no less than the number of semester or quarter hours of instruction per academic term specified by the Commissioner in the notice for the validity period of such employment authorization.” 

c.  (U) Institution of Higher Learning:  Under DHS regulations (8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)(ii)), “a college or university is an institution of higher learning which awards recognized associate, bachelor's, master's, doctorate, or professional degrees.”  DHS holds that schools that devote themselves exclusively or primarily to vocations or business are not included in the category of colleges or universities but are categorized as M-1 schools.

d. (U) Reduced Course Load:  The designated school official (DSO) may advise an F-1 student to engage in less than a full course of study due to initial difficulties with the English language or reading requirements, unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods, or improper course level placement.  An F-1 student authorized to reduce course load by the DSO in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph is considered to be maintaining status.  On-campus employment pursuant to the terms of a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship is deemed to be part of the academic program of a student otherwise taking a full course of study.

9 FAM 402.5-5(I)(2)  (U) M-1 Nonacademic Student

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) DHS regulations (8 CFR 214.2(m)(9)) specify that “successful completion of the course of study must lead to the attainment of a specific educational or vocational objective.  A ”full course of study” as required by INA 101(a)(15)(M)(i) means:

(1)  (U) Study at a community college or junior college, certified by a school official to consist of at least twelve semester or quarter hours of instruction per academic term in those institutions using standard semester, trimester, or quarter-hour systems, where all students enrolled for a minimum of twelve semester or quarter hours are charged full-time tuition or considered full-time for other administrative purposes, or its equivalent (as determined by the district director) except when the student needs a lesser course load to complete the course of study during the current term;

(2)  (U) Study at a postsecondary vocational or business school, other than in a language training program except as provided in Sec. 214.3(a)(2)(iv), which confers upon its graduates recognized associate or other degrees or has established that its credits have been and are accepted unconditionally by at least three institutions of higher learning which are either:

(a)  (U) A school (or school system) owned and operated as a public educational institution by the United States or a State or political subdivision thereof; or

(b)  (U) A school accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body; and which has been certified by a designated school official to consist of at least twelve hours of instruction a week, or its equivalent as determined by the district director;

(3)  (U) Study in a vocational or other nonacademic curriculum, other than in a language training program except as provided in Sec. 214.3(a)(2)(iv), certified by a designated school official to consist of at least eighteen clock hours of attendance a week if the dominant part of the course of study consists of classroom instruction, or at least twenty-two clock hours a week if the dominant part of the course of study consists of shop or laboratory work; or

(4)  (U) Study in a vocational or other nonacademic high school curriculum, certified by a designated school official to consist of class attendance for not less than the minimum number of hours a week prescribed by the school for normal progress towards graduation.  

9 FAM 402.5-5(I)(3)  (U) B-2 Visa for Visitor Who Will Engage in a Short Course of Study

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) Individuals whose principal purpose of travel (see 9 FAM 402.1-3) is tourism, but who plan to engage also in a short course of study, are properly classified for B-2 visas.  You must determine whether the content of the course qualifies as a short course of study.  If the student will earn academic credit toward completion of an academic program engaging a short course of study while in the United States, then a B-2 is not the appropriate visa class.  This guidance applies regardless of whether it is a U.S. or foreign educational institution that will grant academic credit for completion of the short course of study.  You should not advise applicants to obtain an I-20, but should refuse the visa under INA section 214(b) as not approvable for the planned activities. 

b. (U) An individual enrolling in such a school may be classified B-2 if the purpose of attendance is recreational or avocational. 

c. (U) Individuals traveling to the United States to attend seminars or conferences that are required to earn a degree (i.e., the applicant cannot complete the requirements for the degree unless he or she completes the proposed seminar or conference in the United States) are not eligible for B visa classification.  This category includes students engaged in an on-line course of study traveling to the United States for academic consultations or to take examinations.  In the case of an alien traveling to the United States to attend seminars and conferences for credit toward a degree, the study is neither incidental to a tourist visit, avocational, nor recreational.

d. (U) Individuals traveling to attend professional education, seminars, or conferences that do not result in academic credit may qualify for a B-1 per 9 FAM 402.2-5(B).

e. (U) It is common for U.S. colleges, universities, and private organizations to offer   summer programs tailored for high school or college-aged students.  Though these programs are academic enrichment and are marketed as “study,” and the participants attend “classes,” the activities do not meet the definition of “full” or “part-time” course of study and therefore do not qualify for issuance of an I-20.  You may not advise applicants to obtain an I-20 for these programs.  Because these programs are not classifiable as a “full course of academic study,” schools cannot issue I-20s for them.  In most cases, the activity, which is more like a summer camp with an academic focus, can be undertaken in a B2 status.  You should consult CA/VO/L/A for an advisory opinion on the appropriate visa classification. 

9 FAM 402.5-5(I)(4)  (U) F-1 or M-1 Visa for Visitor Who Will Engage in a Short Term Program

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) Only applicants who present a valid Form I-20 should be adjudicated as F or M applicants.  You should not advise applicants who do not present a Form I-20 to obtain one and return for further adjudication.  Instead, applicants without a Form I-20 should be adjudicated in the most logical category that allows the proposed activities in the United States.  In most cases, this will be a B visa.  If it is unclear whether the activities proposed are permissible on a B visa, you should consult CA/VO/L/A for an advisory opinion. 

b. (U) An individual may be issued a Form I-20 by a school only if he or she will engage in a full course of study.

c.  (U) If a student is receiving academic credit for the program of study or the program of study is required for his/her degree, the student must qualify for an F-1 or M-1 visa. 8 CFR 214(b)(7) prohibits an individual from enrolling in a course of study on a B-1 or B-2 visa.  See 9 FAM 402.5-5(J)(2), 9 FAM 402.1-3 paragraph a, and 9 FAM 402.1-5(C) for possible limited exceptions.

d. (U) Students may enroll in online degree programs that allow them to reside overseas but that may require them to travel to the United States for short programs required for their degree.  Such students should apply for F visas and should present a properly executed Form I-20 indicating appropriate program dates for this limited period of school attendance on their U.S. campus.

9 FAM 402.5-5(J)  (U) Special Types of Students

9 FAM 402.5-5(J)(1)  (U) Students Destined to Schools Which are Avocational or Recreational in Character

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

(U) Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cannot approve schools which are avocational or recreational in character for issuance of Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.  Students coming to study in such schools may be classified B-2, if the purpose of attendance is recreational or avocational.  When the nature of a school's program makes determining its character difficult, you should consult with VO/L/A for an advisory opinion on the appropriate visa classification.

9 FAM 402.5-5(J)(2)  (U) Elementary School Students

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) Only children qualified for a derivative nonimmigrant classification through a principal alien parent may attend a publicly funded elementary school.  No public elementary schools or school systems are approved by SEVP to issue Form I-20 for attendance in F-1 status by children in kindergarten through grade eight.  However, any student of school age (kindergarten-grade 12) who is otherwise qualified may receive an F-1 visa under INA 101(a)(15)(F)(i) to attend a private elementary school.

b. (U) Occasionally, you may encounter situations in which an American citizen/LPR friend or relative, or an institution in the United States, may offer to accept guardianship of a child in order to provide an indeterminate period of free schooling at a public school.  You may determine that a parent appears to be seeking a B visa for a child or children in order to facilitate this arrangement.  Keep in mind that study is generally not allowed on a B visa and that even legal guardianship does not constitute a qualifying family relationship for residence in the United States.  See 9 FAM 402.5-5(K)(4).  Separately, see 9 FAM 402.1-3 paragraph a and 9 FAM 402.1-5(C) for situations in which a child applies for a B-2 visa to accompany a parent who could be considered the principal applicant.

9 FAM 402.5-5(J)(3)  (U) Candidates for Religious Orders

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Individuals desiring to enter a convent or other institution for religious training of a temporary nature are classifiable as F-1 students under INA 101(a)(15)(F), if the institution has been approved as a place of study and the applicant will return abroad after concluding the course of study or training.

9 FAM 402.5-5(J)(4)  (U) Student Destined to U.S. Military Training Facility

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Civilians accepted by any of the U.S. military service academies may be classified as F-1 students.  They are required to present Form I-20 and pay the SEVIS fee.  Military personnel coming to the United States for education or training at any armed forces training facility are to be classified as foreign government officials and issued A-2 visas.

9 FAM 402.5-5(J)(5)  (U) Alien Graduate of Foreign Medical School

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) Foreign medical graduates seeking to enter temporarily in connection with their profession are not eligible for F-1 visas.  Such applicants must apply and qualify for immigrant visas (IV) or for exchange visitor (J) or temporary worker (H) visas.  (See 9 FAM 402.5-6(B) and 9 FAM 402.10-4(B).)

b. (U) At least one school has been approved to issue Forms I-20 to foreign medical graduates for a review-type continuing education course of study in preparation for taking tests in the field of medicine.  Foreign medical graduates seeking to enter the United States to take such a review-type course of study who present a Form I-20 from an approved school are classifiable as F-1 students.

9 FAM 402.5-5(J)(6)  (U) Alien Entering the United States for Nursing Training

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) DHS has approved a number of hospital-affiliated nurses' training schools for attendance by nonimmigrant students.  In cases where a school has been thus approved, the alien's application may be given consideration under INA 101(a)(15)(F).

9 FAM 402.5-5(J)(7)  (U) Aviation Training

(CT:VISA-391;   06-26-2017)

a. (U) All flight training for initial training or subsequent training that will result in a certificate or rating must be undertaken on an F or M visa.

b. (U) Recurrent or refresher training (training related to an aircraft for which the applicant has already received certification) may be undertaken on a B-1 if the training involves only flight simulator training and self-study and no classroom instruction.  This assumes that the applicant’s employer is covering the simulator training costs, incidental costs, and that the applicant does not receive a salary or perform labor in the United States.

c.  (U) Questions regarding visas for flight training should be directed to the F, M, J visa portfolio in CA/VO/F/ET, as listed in the Who’s Who section on the CA website.

9 FAM 402.5-5(K)  (U) Applying INA 214(M)

9 FAM 402.5-5(K)(1)  (U) Public Primary School or a Publicly Funded Adult Education Program

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Congress imposed limitations on aliens’ attendance in publicly funded institutions in the 1996 immigration legislation.  As of November 30, 1996, F-1 visas cannot be issued to persons seeking to enter the United States in order to attend a public primary school or a publicly funded adult education program (See INA 214(m). This does not, however, bar a dependent of a nonimmigrant in any classification, including F-1, from attendance at a public primary school, an adult education program, or another public educational institution, as appropriate.  For the purpose of INA 214(m), primary school means kindergarten through 8th grade.

9 FAM 402.5-5(K)(2)  (U) Secondary School

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) INA 214(m) restricts, but does not prohibit, the issuance of F-1 visas to students seeking to attend public high schools.  Secondary school is deemed to be grades 9-12.  As of November 30, 1996, two new additional criteria were imposed on intending F-1 students at public high schools:

(1)  (U) They cannot attend such school for more than 12 months; and

(2)  (U) They must repay the school system for the full, unsubsidized, per capita cost of providing the education to him or her.

b. (U) You may not issue an F-1 visa for attendance at a public high school if the length of study indicated on the Form I-20 exceeds the 12-month cumulative period permitted under INA 214(m).  F-1 visas issued to attend public secondary schools must be limited to 12 months.

c.  (U) It is important to remember that public secondary school attendance in a status other than F-1 (including unlawful status) does not count against the 12-month limit, nor does attendance in F-1 status prior to November 30, 1996. 

9 FAM 402.5-5(K)(3)  (U) Reimbursement

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) A public school system issuing a Form I-20 for attendance at a secondary school must indicate on the Form I-20 that such payment has been made and the amount of such payment.  School districts may not waive or otherwise ignore this requirement.  If the Form I-20 does not include the requisite information, the student must have a notarized statement stating the payment has been made and the amount from the designated school official (DSO) who signed the Form I-20.  If not, the visa must be refused, under INA 221(g), until the applicant provides the necessary documentation.

b. (U) Although the per capita costs vary from one school district to another (and sometimes from one school to another within the same district), the averages across the country have ranged from about $3,400 to more than $10,000.  They run somewhat less than that in Puerto Rico and U.S. territories.  These figures are guidelines only, and must not be taken as absolutes.  If, however, a Form I-20 indicates a repaid cost radically different (for example, something less than $2,000), you should contact the F, M, J portfolio holder in CA/VO/F/ET and CA/VO/L/A to coordinate an inquiry through SEVP. 

9 FAM 402.5-5(K)(4)  (U) Aliens Under Legal Guardianship of American Citizen Relatives

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Schools sometimes advise relatives to declare themselves as the alien's legal guardian.  The school then admits the foreign student as a resident, wrongfully assuming that this would exempt the alien from the INA 214(m) requirements.  The student's status as a resident of the school district is irrelevant.  Likewise, the fact that the student's U.S. sponsor has paid local property/school taxes does not fulfill the reimbursement requirement of INA 214(m).

9 FAM 402.5-5(K)(5)  (U) Student Visa Abusers

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) INA 212(a)(6)(G) provides sanctions against foreign students who fail to comply with the INA 214(m) requirements.  An alien in F-1 status who violates the 214(m) provisions is excludable until he or she has been outside the United States for a continuous period of five years after the date of the violation (see 9 FAM 302.9-9).  Note that aliens who are not subject to INA 214(l) are not subject to INA 212(a)(6)(G).

9 FAM 402.5-5(L)  (U) Period of Stay

9 FAM 402.5-5(L)(1)  (U) For F-1 Applicants

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) An individual entering as an F-1 student or granted a change to that status is admitted or given an extension of stay for the duration of status.  Duration of status means the time during which the student is pursuing a full course of study and any additional periods of authorized practical training, plus 60 days following completion of the course or practical training within which to depart.  Since November 30, 1996, however, the duration of status of an F-1 student in a publicly funded secondary school cannot exceed an aggregate of 12 months schooling (See 9 FAM 402.5-5(K)(2) above).

b. (U) An academic student is considered to be in status during the summer between terms, if eligible and intending to register for the next term.  Moreover, a student compelled by illness or other medical condition to interrupt or reduce studies is considered to be in status until his or her recovery.  The student is expected to resume a full course of study at that time.

c.  (U) The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) amended its regulations to permit the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to waive the usual limitations, including hours of coursework, on employment for students faced by unexpected severe economic circumstances.  These might include such elements ranging from substantial fluctuations in exchange rates to loss of on-campus employment or other financial aid through no fault of the student, among others.  Students granted such waivers are deemed to be in status until the economic emergency is over and the necessity for such reduced studies has passed.

9 FAM 402.5-5(L)(2)  (U) For M-1 Applicants

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) The period of stay for an M-1 student, whether from admission or through a change of nonimmigrant classification, is the time necessary to complete the course of study indicated on Form I-20 plus 30 days within which to depart, or 1 year, whichever is less.

b. (U) An M-1 student may be granted an extension of stay if it is established that the student:

(1)  (U) Is a bona fide nonimmigrant currently maintaining student status; and

(2)  (U) Is able to, and in good faith intends to, continue to maintain that status for the period for which the extension is granted.

9 FAM 402.5-5(M)  (U) Spouse and Child of F-1 or M-1 Student

9 FAM 402.5-5(M)(1)  (U) Refusals of Spouse and Child of F-1 or M-1 Student

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) Before issuing an F-2 or M-2 visa to a spouse or child of a principal F-1 or M-1 student, you must be satisfied that the relationship between the principal applicant and the spouse or child exists, and that the spouse or child can be expected to depart from the United States upon the termination of the student status of the principal applicant (see 9 FAM 402.5-5(E) above).  Keep in mind that coming to a different conclusion about family members entitled to a derivative nonimmigrant classification and the principal should be rare when the spouse and children are applying in company with the principal applicant (see 9 FAM 402.1-4(A)).  When the spouse and children are seeking to join the F-1 principal applicant already in the United States,  a decision to refuse those applications must be based on specific, identifiable differences in the circumstances relating to the principal and the family member(s) (see 9 FAM 402.1-4(C)).

b. (U) Please note that if you doubt a F-1 or M-1 student's intent to return abroad, the student cannot satisfy your doubts by offering to leave a child, spouse, or other dependent abroad (see 9 FAM 402.2-2(B) paragraph b).

9 FAM 402.5-5(M)(2)  (U) Separate Form I-20 and SEVIS Registration Required for Accompanying Spouse and/or Minor, Unmarried Child of F-1 or M-1 Student

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

(U) Each F-2 or M-2 dependent is required to have their own properly executed Form I-20 and their own unique SEVIS ID number.  It is not possible to issue dependent F-2 or M-2 visas on the basis of the principals Form I-20.  The F-2 or M-2 must present this evidence to both you and the immigration officer at the port of entry (POE).  F-2 or M-2 dependents are not required to pay a separate SEVIS fee.  Additional details on the SEVIS fee can be found on the SEVP at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.

9 FAM 402.5-5(M)(3)  (U) Classification of Spouse or Child Who Will Attend School in the United States

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) A spouse qualified for an F-2, M-2, or any other derivative nonimmigrant classification may only study if those studies are incidental to the primary purpose of travel:  to accompany his or her spouse to the United States.  A spouse in F-2 status, therefore, may only participate in avocational or recreational programs.  A spouse of an F-1 visa holder may only enroll in a full-time course of study if he or she qualifies under INA 101(a)(15)(F)(i) as a nonimmigrant student.

b. (U) A child qualified for an F-2, M-2, or any other derivative nonimmigrant classification is not required to qualify under INA 101(a)(15)(F)(i) as a nonimmigrant student even though the child will attend school while accompanying the principal alien (see 9 FAM 402.1-5(C)).  Moreover, such a child could not qualify for F-1 status for attendance at a public primary school and, if in F-1 status, would be limited to 12 months training at a public high school. 

9 FAM 402.5-5(N)  (U) Employment of F-1 and M-1 Student, Spouse, and Children

9 FAM 402.5-5(N)(1)  (U) On-Campus Employment for F-1 Student

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

(U) An F-1 student may accept on-campus employment with the approval of the designated school official (DSO) in an enterprise operated by or on behalf of the school.  The work must take place either at the school or an educationally affiliated (associated with the school's established curriculum or part of a contractually funded research projects at the postgraduate level) off-campus location.  Work that takes place at the school location could be for an on-campus commercial business, such as a bookstore or cafeteria, as long as the work directly provides services for students.  Employment located on-campus that does not directly involve services to students (such as construction work) does not qualify as on-campus employment.  Work with an employer that is contractually affiliated with the school is on-campus employment even if the work site is not located on the campus (such as a research lab affiliated with your school).  Such on-campus employment must not displace an American citizen or LPR.  The employment may not exceed 20 hours a week while school is in session but may be full time when school is not in session.  The student must be maintaining status.  An F-1 student who finishes a program, such as a bachelor's degree, and starts another program of study at the same campus may continue on-campus employment as long as the student plans to enroll in the new program of study for the next term.

9 FAM 402.5-5(N)(2)  (U) Off-Campus Employment for F-1 Student

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) An F-1 student may not accept off-campus employment without first applying to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for employment authorization.  An F-1 student may be eligible to apply for off-campus employment authorization after completing an academic year in F-1 status.  A student who receives authorization from USCIS for off-campus employment may not work more than 20 hours a week when school is in session.  Such employment authorization is automatically terminated if the student fails to maintain status.  A designated school official (DSO) must request off-campus employment for an F-1 student in SEVIS in support of the Form I-765 which must be filed with USCIS, and the request will appear in the electronic SEVIS record.  In order to request off-campus employment, the designated school official must certify that:

(1)  (U) The student has been in F-1 status for one full academic year;

(2)  (U) The student is in good standing and carrying a full course of study;

(3)  (U) The student has established that acceptance of employment will not interfere with the full course of study; and

(4)  (U) The prospective employer has submitted a labor and wage attestation or the student has established a severe economic necessity for employment due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control.

b. (U) A student who has received approval from USCIS for off-campus employment will have an employment authorization document (EAD) showing the duration of the employment authorization, which may be up to one year at a time.  The student’s electronic SEVIS record will also show approval for off-campus employment.

c.  (U) If a student who has been granted off-campus employment authorization temporarily leaves the country during the period of time when employment is authorized, such employment can be resumed upon return.  The student must, however, be returning to the same school.

9 FAM 402.5-5(N)(3)  (U) Employment as Part of Curricular or Alternate Work/Study Practical Training for F-1 Student

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) A student enrolled in a college or other academic institution having alternate work/study courses as part of the curriculum within the student's program of study may participate in and be compensated for such practical training when authorized for curricular practical training (CPT) by the designated school official (DSO).  Students may not begin such training before endorsement of their electronic SEVIS record by the DSO with such authorization.  Periods of actual off-campus employment in a work/study program are considered practical training.  Students who have engaged in a full year of curricular practical training will not receive authorization to engage in optional practical training after completion of the course of study.  However, for graduates of colleges, universities, and seminaries, the maximum aggregate of curricular practical training may not exceed the duration of the course of study.

9 FAM 402.5-5(N)(4)  (U) Practical Training

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) Students are eligible for practical training only after they have completed a full academic year in an approved college-level institution, with the exception of graduate students whose program requires them to participate immediately in curricular practical training.  Optional Practical Training (OPT) is training that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study.  It is intended to provide a student with practical experience in his or her field of study during or upon completion of a degree or certificate program and is authorized through the recommendation of the designated school official and the filing of Form I-765 with USCIS.  Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is employment that is an integral part of a student's specified curriculum.  In most cases, CPT involves internships and similar work experience specifically required by the student's program of study.  The DSO must authorize CPT before the student begins work.  See the SEVP website for more information on Practical Training.

b. (U) Any authorization for employment for purposes of practical training is suspended in the event of a strike at the place of employment.

9 FAM 402.5-5(N)(5)  (U) Optional Practical Training

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) An F-1 student may otherwise apply for optional practical training (OPT) in a job related to his or her major area of study.  OPT may be authorized pre- and post-completion and on a full-time or part-time basis.  During school vacations, either part-time or full-time OPT is permissible. When school is in session, OPT may not exceed 20 hours per week.  An F-1 student may request post-completion OPT after completion of all course requirements for graduation (not including thesis or equivalent), or after completion of all requirements.  Post-completion OPT must be full-time.  Such training must be completed within 12 months, though certain F-1 students may be eligible for an extension of post-completion optional practical training based on their major field of study or a pending change of status to H-1B.  In addition to a designated school official’s (DSO) request for OPT which will appear in the student's electronic SEVIS record, the student must apply to USCIS using Form I-765 for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).  If the student makes a brief trip abroad during a period of post-completion OPT, a valid F-1 visa, the unexpired EAD, the endorsed Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, and the electronic SEVIS record will be required for re-entry to complete the training.  A letter of employment may also be required.  F-1 students may also travel abroad during the period following the completion of their programs with a pending request for OPT, which will appear in their electronic SEVIS record.

b. (U) Please note that OPT is different from curricular practical training (CPT), which is part of a student's degree curriculum and can only be authorized during a student's course of study.  OPT, by contrast, can be authorized part-time or full-time during the student's degree program, as well as full-time after graduation.

9 FAM 402.5-5(N)(6)  (U) Extension of OPT for Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) Students, and H-1B Beneficiaries (“Cap Gap”)

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) Effective May 10, 2008 until May 9, 2016, USCIS could grant an OPT extension of 17 months, for a maximum total period of 29 months, to an eligible F-1 student on post-completion OPT with a degree in a DHS-approved science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field.

b. (U) Effective May 10, 2016, an F-1 student with a bachelor's or higher degree in a DHS-approved STEM field who is already in a period of approved post-completion OPT may apply to USCIS to extend that period by 24 months, for a maximum total period of 36 months.  Eligibility for this extension is based upon the Classification of Instruction Programs (CIP) code or degree program of the student’s major as indicated on the Form I-20, on an official transcript, or as shown in SEVIS (including for eligibility based on a previously obtained degree) and whether that CIP code or degree program is included on the DHS-approved list of qualifying degree program categories for the extension, found on the SEVP STEM OPT website.  Students are also required to complete Form I-983, Training Plan for STEM OPT Students, with their employer and submit it to the DSO.  See the SEVP website for more information on Form I-983.  The DSO must verify the student's eligibility, including ensuring that Form I-983 has been properly completed and executed, recommend the extension through SEVIS, and provide the student with an I-20 annotated with the recommendation.  Once the DSO recommends the extension, the student must submit a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and all appropriate fees to USCIS (additional filing information can be found at the USCIS website).

c.  (U) F-1 students on post-completion OPT must report all employment and periods of unemployment to their DSOs, who then report the information in SEVIS on the student’s record.  F-1 students participating in post-completion OPT are initially allowed an aggregate maximum period of unemployment of 90 days.  Students on a 24-month STEM OPT extension are allowed an additional 60 days of unemployment, for a total of 150 days.  This measure allows time for job searches or a break when switching employers.  See the SEVP OPT Policy guidance on the SEVP website for more information on how unemployment is counted.

d. (U) If the F-1 student has filed a Form I-765 for a 24-month extension in a timely manner before the end of regular post-completion OPT, then the student's OPT employment authorization is automatically extended up to 180 days until the USCIS adjudication occurs.  USCIS adjudicates the Form I-765 and provides the student with an EAD reflecting the STEM OPT extension.  If the petition is denied, the period of OPT ends.

e. (U) As the STEM OPT extension is automatic for the first 180 days following regular post-completion OPT (when the student has properly filed Form I-765), the student may not necessarily have a renewed EAD.  Therefore, any students having automatically authorized employment through the OPT extension may not be able to present a valid EAD when they apply to renew their visa.  However, F-1 students in this situation can request an updated I-20 from the DSO, annotated for the STEM OPT extension, as well as proof that the I-765 petition was filed in a timely manner.  You must confirm that the student's electronic SEVIS record contains the same information as the updated hard copy Form I-20 before issuing a visa.

f.  (U) The STEM Designated Degree Program List provides program categories approved for the 17-month extension and 24-month extension and significant additional information.

g. (U) If an F-1 student is the intended beneficiary of a timely filed I-129 petition for a cap-subject H-1B to start on October 1, the F-1 status and any OPT authorization held on the eligibility date is automatically extended to dates determined by USCIS allowing for receipt or approval of the petition, up to September 30.  The Cap Gap OPT Extension is automatic, and USCIS will not provide the student with a renewed EAD.  However, F-1 students in this situation can request an updated Form I-20 from the DSO, annotated for the Cap Gap OPT Extension, as well as proof that the I-129 petition was filed in a timely manner.  You must verify that the electronic SEVIS record has also been updated before issuing a visa.

9 FAM 402.5-5(N)(7)  (U) Practical Training for M-1 Student

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

(U) Except for temporary employment for practical training as set forth herein, an M-1 student may not accept employment.  Practical training may only be authorized at the completion of an M-1 course of study.  An M-1 student who desires temporary employment for practical training must apply to USCIS on Form I-765.  If approval is granted, DHS will endorse the student's Form I-20 with the dates the authorization for practical training/employment begins and ends.  Since M-1 students are admitted until a certain date, an M-1 student may need to file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, as well, to apply for an extension of M-1 status in conjunction with the application for employment authorization.  You must verify that the electronic SEVIS record has been updated before issuing a new visa.

9 FAM 402.5-5(N)(8)  (U) Temporary Absence of F-1 or M-1 Student with Pending or Granted Practical Training

(CT:VISA-432;   08-08-2017)

a.  (U) An F-1 or M-1 student authorized to accept employment for practical training who leaves the country temporarily may be readmitted for the remainder of the authorized period.  The student must be returning solely to perform the authorized training.  Additionally, a student may travel abroad and be readmitted while the request for practical training is pending with USCIS, but such travel should be undertaken with caution.  USCIS may send a request for evidence to the U.S. address on the application while the applicant is away.  Additionally, if USCIS approves the OPT application, the applicant will be expected to have the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in hand to reenter the United States.  Like a request for evidence, USCIS can only send the EAD to a U.S. address.

b. (U) A valid F-1 or M-1 visa, the Form I-20, EAD (if issued), and an accurate electronic SEVIS record are required to reenter the United States for practical training purposes.  A letter of employment may also be required.  For individuals attempting to travel abroad and be readmitted while an application for the STEM OPT extension is pending, the Form I-20 should be endorsed for reentry by the DSO within the last six months.

9 FAM 402.5-5(N)(9)  (U) Employment of F-2 and M-2 Spouse and Children

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) The F-2 spouse and children of an F-1 student may not accept employment.  The M-2 spouse and children of an M-1 student may not accept employment.

9 FAM 402.5-5(O)  (U) F-3 AND M-3 NONIMMIGRANT VISA CLASSIFICATIONS

 (CT:VISA-432;   08-08-2017)

a. (U) The Border Commuter Student Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-274), which was signed into law on November 2, 2002, amended INA 101(a)(15)(F) and (J) to create the F-3 and M-3 nonimmigrant visa (NIV) categories for Canadian and Mexican citizens and residents who commute to the United States for the purpose of full-time or part-time study at a DHS-approved school.  These students (classified F-3 and M-3) are permitted to study on either a full-time or part-time basis.  However, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not yet published implementing regulations.  Therefore, until further notice, applicants applying to study in the U.S. who present a valid I-20, have an electronic SEVIS record in INITIAL or ACTIVE status, and will commute to school; i.e., not reside in the United States while attending classes, are to be processed as F-1/M-1 students, and the annotation "border commuter" placed on the visa foil.

b. (U) The family members of border commuter students are not entitled to derivative F-2 or M-2 status, given that these students do not reside in the United States.

9 FAM 402.5-5(P)  (U) Temporary Absence

9 FAM 402.5-5(P)(1)  (U) Aliens Who Apply While Abroad for an F-1 or M-1 Visa

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Except as provided below, a student making a short trip abroad during an authorized period of study, who needs to obtain a new visa during such absence, must present his or her Form I-20, properly executed and endorsed.  You must verify that the SEVIS record of the applicant is in ACTIVE status.  If otherwise qualified, the applicant may be issued the appropriate visa. 

9 FAM 402.5-5(P)(2)  (U) Temporary Absence of Aliens Applying Abroad for Attendance at School Other than Listed on the Visa

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

(U) A student temporarily abroad who intends to return to study at a United States institution other than the one for which the original visa was issued may seek admission with the original visa, if still valid, and the Form I-20 from the new school.  If the student wishes to apply for a new visa, however, he or she must present proof that the transfer has been affected and the student is in “initial” or “active” status at the new school.  You must verify that the applicant has a valid SEVIS record showing the applicant is in INITIAL or ACTIVE status at the new institution and that the SEVIS fee has been paid on the new record before issuing a new student visa.

9 FAM 402.5-5(P)(3)  (U) Renewing F or M Visas for Returning Students

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

(U) You generally should renew F or M visas to returning students who have remained in status and have not had any significant changes in either their academic program or their personal circumstances.  When a foreign student engaged in study takes a short trip abroad and requires a visa to return to the United States, you are encouraged to issue visas, if the student is otherwise qualified, to allow the student to complete his or her study.  You must verify that the student's SEVIS record is in ACTIVE status before issuing a new visa.

9 FAM 402.5-5(Q)  (U) Processing F and M Visas

9 FAM 402.5-5(Q)(1)  (U) Issue Full Validity Student Visas

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

Unavailable

9 FAM 402.5-5(Q)(2)  (U) Maintenance of Status and Departure Bond

(CT:VISA-432;   08-08-2017)

(U) See 9 FAM 403.9-8.

9 FAM 402.5-5(Q)(3)  (U) Automatic Extension of Validity of Visa

(CT:VISA-432;   08-08-2017)

(U) See 9 FAM 403.9-4(E).

9 FAM 402.5-5(R)  (U) Visa Annotations

9 FAM 402.5-5(R)(1)  (U) Name of School and SEVIS ID

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) An F-1 or M-1 visa must be annotated with the SEVIS ID and the name of the institution that the student will initially attend.  You must ensure that the SEVIS ID is correctly annotated on the visa foil.  You must inform an applicant who has been accepted by more than one institution that the visa application will be considered only on the basis of the Form I-20 issued by the school which the applicant will attend.  You must also advise the applicant that the immigration inspector at the port of entry (POE) can refuse admission if given a Form I-20 from a school other than the one named on the visa, or if the student indicates an intention to attend a different institution.

9 FAM 402.5-5(R)(2)  (U) Entry of Student Prior to Enrollment

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) You must not issue a student visa to an applicant more than 120 days in advance of his or her studies and must notify the applicant that he or she cannot enter the United States more than 30 days in advance of the report date shown on the Form I-20. 

b. (U) A student who desires an earlier entry must qualify for, and obtain, a B-2 visitor visa. 

c.  (U) At the time of issuance of the B-2 visa, you must explain to the applicant that, before beginning any studies, he or she must apply for and obtain a change of visa classification to that of student.  The individual must follow standard procedures and fee requirements as set by DHS/USCIS for making an application to change status.

9 FAM 402.5-5(R)(3)  (U) Entry When School Not Selected

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) A prospective student applicant who has neither been issued a Form I-20 nor made a final selection of a school may wish to enter for the primary purpose of selecting a school.  If the applicant qualifies for a visitor visa, and would appear to qualify for a student visa, a B-2 visa may be issued.

9 FAM 402.5-5(R)(4)  (U) Admitted Student Traveling Without Form I-20

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) An original signed hard copy Form I-20 must be presented at the port of entry for a student to be admitted in F or M status.

b. (U) When a student has documentary evidence that admission to a particular school has been granted, and when circumstances warrant visa issuance before the hard copy Form I-20 has been received, you may issue an F-1 visa based on the electronic SEVIS record.  The electronic SEVIS record must show that the visa applicant is in INITIAL or ACTIVE student status and that the SEVIS I-901 fee has been paid.  You must make a case note that you have reviewed the electronic SEVIS record and advised the student to carry the original signed hard copy Form I-20 when travelling. 

9 FAM 402.5-6  (U) Exchange Visitors – J Visas

9 FAM 402.5-6(A)  (U) Statutory and  Regulatory Authorities 

9 FAM 402.5-6(A)(1)  (U) Immigration and Nationality Act

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) INA 101(a)(15)(J) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(J)); INA 212(e) (8 U.S.C. 1182(e)); INA 212(j) (8 U.S.C. 1182(j)); INA 214(b) (8 U.S.C. 1184(b)); INA 214(l) (8 U.S.C. 1184(l)).

9 FAM 402.5-6(A)(2)  Code of Federal Regulations

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) 22 CFR 41.62; 22 CFR 41.63; 22 CFR Part 62.

9 FAM 402.5-6(B)  (U) The Exchange Visitor Program

9 FAM 402.5-6(B)(1)  (U) Overview

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program (J visa) is to further the foreign policy interest of the United States by increasing the mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of mutual educational and cultural exchanges.  The ultimate goal is to meet this purpose while protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the foreign nationals participating in the Program as exchange visitors.  Only organizations that have been designated by the Department’s Office of Designation, Private Sector Exchange, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), may participate.

b. (U) The Exchange Visitor Program (J visa) is administered under the oversight of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange.  The Office of Designation and the Office of Exchange Coordination and Compliance are located at:

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
Department of State
State Annex SA-5
2200 C Street, NW
Washington, DC  20522

c.  (U) Detailed guidance can be found on the Exchange Visitor Program at j1visa.state.gov.

9 FAM 402.5-6(B)(2)  (U) Mandatory Exchange Visitor Classification in Certain Cases

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Participants in exchange visitor programs sponsored by the Department of State or the Agency for International Development (USAID) (program serial numbers G-1 and G-2, respectively) are supported by U.S. Government funding.  These participants must be documented as exchange visitors (J visa) rather than in another visa category (such as F-1 student), even if they qualify for that visa category.  Participants in exchange visitor programs sponsored by other U.S. Government agencies (program serial number G-3) or participants in a federally-funded national research and development center program (program serial number G-7), must also be documented as exchange visitors if participation is directly financed in whole or in part by the sponsoring agency.  The only exception is for an applicant who would otherwise qualify for an A (diplomatic) visa.  Such applicants must always be issued A visas, rather than J visas, regardless of the funding of their travel.  Contact CA/VO/F/ET for additional guidance, if required.

9 FAM 402.5-6(C)  (U) Qualifying for an Exchange Visitor Visa (J-1)

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

(U) An applicant applying for a visa under INA 101(a)(15)(J) must meet the following requirements in order to qualify for an exchange visitor visa:

(1)  (U) Acceptance to a designated exchange visitor program, as evidenced by presentation of Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (see 9 FAM 402.5-6(D) below);

(2)  (U) Sufficient funds, or adequate arrangements made by a host organization, to cover expenses (self-funded programs do not exist);

(3)  (U) Sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in his or her program and compliance with the requirements of INA Section 212(j) (see 9 FAM 402.5-6(G) below);

(4)  (U) Present intent to leave the United States at conclusion of program (see 9 FAM 402.5-6(F) below);

(5)  (U) Possession of qualifications for the program offered (see 9 FAM 402.5-6(E) below); and

(6)  (U) Compliance with INA 212(e) if applicable (see 9 FAM 302.13-2 and 22 CFR 41.63).  Consular officers must annotate the Form DS-2019 (see 9 FAM 402.5-6(I)(7) below).

9 FAM 402.5-6(D)  (U) Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status

9 FAM 402.5-6(D)(1)  (U) The Basic Form

(CT:VISA-149;   07-20-2016)

a. (U) Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, is the document required to support an application for an exchange visitor visa (J-1).  It is a 2-page document which can only be produced through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).  SEVIS is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) database developed to collect information on F, M, and J visa holders (see 9 FAM 402.5-4 and 9 FAM 402.5-6(J)).  The potential exchange visitor’s signature on page one of the form is required.   Page 2 of Form DS-2019 consists of instructions and certification language relating to participation.  No blank SEVIS forms exist.  Each Form DS-2019 is printed with a unique identifier known as a “SEVIS ID number” in the top right-hand corner, which consists of an “alpha” character (N) and 10 numerical characters (e.g., N0002123457).

b. (U) The Department of State’s Office of Designation in the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA/EC) designates U.S. organizations to conduct exchange visitor programs.  These organizations are known as program sponsors.  When designated, the organization is authorized access to SEVIS and is then able to produce Form DS-2019 from SEVIS.  The program sponsor transmits completed forms to the potential exchange visitors and his or her spouse and minor children.

c.  (U) J visa applicants must present a signed Form DS-2019.  If there are minor errors on the form (e.g., a program start date that is off one day) you can process the case using that form.  You must verify the applicant's SEVIS record in the electronic SEVIS report in the CCD.  If corrections are needed, they may be made electronically; there is no need to request a new hard copy of the Form DS-2019.  Make a case note to alert CBP that the electronic record has been updated.  Once the visa is issued, however, the SEVIS record cannot be updated until the participant’s program is validated (“Active” in SEVIS).  No corrections to the record can be made until that time.  In addition, in the event a visa is needed for a spouse or dependent, the system will not permit a new Form DS-2019 to be created until after the primary’s SEVIS record is validated.

9 FAM 402.5-6(D)(2)  (U) Processing of Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status

(CT:VISA-432;   08-08-2017)

a. (U) All exchange visitors, unless personal appearance has been waived under 9 FAM 403.5-4(A), must read and sign the Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, at the time of visa issuance.  The certificate indicates that the visa applicant understands all conditions of the stay in the United States in J status and understands also that a consular or immigration officer will make a preliminary determination as to whether the applicant is subject to the 2-year home country physical presence requirement.  The applicant then must sign the bottom of page one of the Form DS-2019 confirming that he or she agrees to comply with that requirement if it is determined to be applicable.

b. (U) A consular or immigration officer makes the preliminary determination regarding the applicability to the alien of the 2-year home country physical presence requirement after a personal interview with the alien.  The consular or immigration officer then signs page 1 of Form DS-2019 indicating the determination made by the officer.  The Department of State’s Waiver Review Division (CA/VO/DO/W) reserves the authority to make the final determination whether to issue a favorable recommendation to DHS to waive the 2-year requirement under INA 212(e).

9 FAM 402.5-6(D)(3)  (U) Serial Numbers of Designated Exchange Visitor Programs

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) When the Office of Designation designates an organization or agency as a sponsor, it is enrolled in SEVIS and assigned a unique program serial number (referred to as the program number) that is used to identify the specific program.  The sponsor number is assigned based upon the following series:

(1)  (U) G-1―Department of State;

(2)  (U) G-2―U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID);

(3)  (U) G-3―Other U.S. Federal agencies;

(4)  (U) G-4―International agencies or organizations in which the U.S. Government participates;

(5)  (U) G-5―Other national, State, or local government agencies;

(6)  (U) G-7―Federally funded national research and development center or a U.S. Federal laboratory;

(7)  (U) P-1―Educational institutions, e.g., schools, colleges, universities, seminaries, libraries, museums, and institutions devoted to scientific and technological research;

(8)  (U) P-2―Hospitals and related institutions;

(9)  (U) P-3―Nonprofit organizations, associations, foundations, and institutions (academic institutions conducting training programs can be classified as a P-3 as long as they are considered nonprofit); and

(10) (U)        P-4―For-profit organizations (business and industrial concerns).

9 FAM 402.5-6(D)(4)  (U) Requirement for Form DS-2019 in Case of Spouse and/or Minor, Unmarried Children

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) Each accompanying J-2 spouse or child of a principal J-1 is required to have a separate Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, issued by the program sponsor and will have their own unique SEVIS ID number.  It is not possible to issue dependent J-2 visas on the basis of the principal alien’s (J-1’s) Form DS-2019.

b. (U) A minor, unmarried child qualified for J-2 status is not required to qualify under INA 101(a)(15)(F)(i) as a nonimmigrant student even though the child will attend school while accompanying the principal J-1 (see 9 FAM 402.1-5(A)).

c.  (U) The J-2 must present his or her Form DS-2019 to both the consular officer at the time of the visa interview, and the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry (POE).

d. (U) Participants in the Summer Work Travel, camp counselor, au pair, and high school exchange programs are not expected to be accompanied by dependents.  If you receive a Form DS-2019 supporting a J-2 visa application from an individual claiming such status, contact CA/VO/F/ET for guidance.

9 FAM 402.5-6(D)(5)  (U) Processing of Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, at Port of Entry (POE)

(CT:VISA-149;   07-20-2016)

a. (U) After a J-1 visa has been issued, you must return the completed Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status to the exchange visitor.  You must inform the exchange visitor that he or she must carry Form DS-2019 on his or her person for presentation to the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the U.S. port of entry (POE).  At each time of admission to the United States, an exchange visitor must present the Form DS-2019 along with the visa to the CBP officer.  Upon the exchange visitor’s arrival in the United States, the CBP officer will examine the visa, the Form DS-2019, and any supporting documentation and return the documents to the exchange visitor.

b. (U) If the exchange visitor is admitted, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will return the Form DS-2019 to the individual.  The exchange visitor must safeguard the form at all times.  If the exchange visitor loses the Form DS-2019, he or she must obtain a replacement copy from the designated sponsor.

9 FAM 402.5-6(D)(6)  (U) Sample Form DS-2019

(CT:VISA-149;   07-20-2016)

a. (U) J-1 Principal Applicant Sample:

Title: Form DS-2019 Sample Page 1 - Description: Title: Form DS-2019 Sample Page 1 - Description: Form DS-2019 Sample Page 1

Title: Form DS-2019 Sample Page 2 - Description: Title: Form DS-2019 Sample Page 2 - Description: Form DS-2019 Sample Page 2

b. (U) J-2 Dependent Sample:

 

Title: Form DS-2019 Sample for J-2 Page 1  - Description: Title: Form DS-2019 Sample for J-2 Page 1 - Description: Form DS-2019 Sample for J-2 Page 1Title: Form DS-2019 Sample for J-2 Page 2 - Description: Title: Form DS-2019 Sample for J-2 Page 2 - Description: Form DS-2019 Sample for J-2 Page 2

 

 

 

9 FAM 402.5-6(D)(7)  (U) Form DS-7002, Training/ Internship Placement Plan

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) The Form DS-7002, Training/Internship Placement Plan, is designed to standardize applications in the Trainee, Intern, and Student Intern categories and to increase transparency and accountability and curb potential abuse by having all three concerned parties― the exchange visitor, the U.S. sponsor and the entity providing the training or internship —sign the Form DS-7002 acknowledging the program plan and their regulatory responsibilities.

b. (U) You may wish to use the Form DS-7002 to help in formulating interview questions, but they are not required to verify the form. 

c.  (U) Electronic signatures (including faxed signatures) are permissible on Form DS-7002, and posts should accept these as they adjudicate applications. 

d. (U) The form requires each participant to have U.S. contact information.  As some participants may not have this information at the time of the visa interview, you may accept the contact details for the participant’s host organization in the United States instead. 

9 FAM 402.5-6(D)(8)  (U) DS-7002

(CT:VISA-149;   07-20-2016)

(U) To see the Form DS-7002 please see E-Forms.

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)  (U) Categories of Exchange Visitors

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) At present, the Department has 15 exchange categories in which foreign nationals may participate.  Participants may only engage in activities authorized for their program.

b. (U) The following sections list these categories in alphabetical order with a brief description of key points for consular officers.

c.  (U) The presentation of a valid Form DS-2019 by the visa applicant constitutes evidence that the individual was determined by the designated U.S. program sponsor to be qualified to participate in the specific exchange program.  You must verify the Form DS-2019 in the electronic SEVIS CCD report and determine that the applicant's record is in either INITIAL or ACTIVE status and that the SEVIS I-901 fee has been paid.  You should also note the program end date as it appears in the electronic record and ensure that the J visa is issued with a validity that corresponds to the program end or to the reciprocity schedule for the country of the applicant's nationality, whichever is shorter.

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(1)  (U) Alien Physician

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) Alien Physician (22 CFR 62.27):  This category is for foreign national physicians pursuing American medical board certification through graduate education and training at accredited U.S. schools of medicine, or other U.S. institutions through a clinical exchange program.

b. (U) The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is the only program sponsor authorized to use this category.  Foreign medical graduates under this category must successfully complete examinations administered by ECFMG that measure their command of English and the medical sciences.

c.  (U) All foreign medical graduates sponsored in the category of Alien Physician are subject to the 2-year home-country physical presence requirement (see 9 FAM 402.5-6(M) below).

d. (U) Exception to ECFMG sponsorship:  A foreign physician may be sponsored by a designated sponsor other than ECFMG (e.g., a U.S. university, academic medical center, school of public health, or other public health institution) as a “research scholar” only if the dean of the accredited U.S. medical school or his or her designee certifies the following 5 points and such certification is appended to the Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor  (J-1) Status, issued to the perspective exchange visitor Alien Physician:

(1)  (U) The program is predominantly involved with observation, consultation, teaching, or research;

(2)  (U) Any incidental patient contact will be under the direct supervision of a U.S. citizen or resident-Alien Physician who is licensed to practice medicine in the State in which the activity is taking place;

(3)  (U) The foreign national physician will not be given final responsibility for the diagnosis and treatment of patients;

(4)  (U) Any activities will conform fully with the State licensing requirements and regulations for medical and health care professionals in the State in which the program is being pursued; and

(5)  (U) Any experience gained will not be credited towards any clinical requirements for medical specialty board certification.  In such cases, the program sponsor’s letter of designation will explicitly authorize the sponsor to issue Form DS-2019 using the Research Scholar category.  The duration of participation as a Research Scholar is limited to 5 years, unless the Department approves a program extension for a G-7-sponsored exchange visitor.

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(2)  (U) Au Pair

(CT:VISA-149;   07-20-2016)

a. (U) Au Pair:  This category is for a foreign national age 18-26 entering the United States for a period of one year for the purpose of residing with an American host family, or the family of a lawful permanent resident, while directly participating in their home life and providing limited childcare services.  Au pair applicants who are 26 years of age at the time of the program start date are eligible to participate in the au pair program.  The Au Pair is also required to enroll and attend classes offered by an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution for not less than 6 semester hours of academic credit, or the equivalent.  As a condition of participation, host-families must agree to facilitate the enrollment and attendance of the Au Pair and to pay the cost of such academic course work in an amount not to exceed $500.  Au pairs may enroll in appropriate course work after they arrive on the program. Failure to adhere to the education component is grounds for termination from the program.

b. (U) EduCare:  The regulations governing the Au Pair Program were amended to create a subcategory called EduCare.  This component is specifically designed for families with school-aged children requiring limited child care assistance.  Au Pairs participating in the EduCare component may not be placed with families having pre-school aged children unless alternative arrangements are in place for these children.  EduCare participants may not work more than 10 hours a day/30 hours a week.  They must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours of academic credit, or its equivalent, during their program.  Host families provide the first $1,000 to the Au Pair toward the cost of the educational component.  EduCare au pairs may enroll in appropriate course work after they arrive on the program.

c.  (U) No Family Placement:  Au Pairs are not to be placed in the homes of family/relatives, irrespective of the distance in relations (e.g., third cousin, great aunt and/or uncle, etc.).

d. (U) Duration:  The duration of participation is limited to one year/one sponsor only unless specifically authorized by the Department of State (ECA/EC).  Such authorization will be indicated by an active SEVIS status with the same SEVIS number as the applicant’s initial Au Pair program, and an extended program end date.

e. (U) Extension of program:  Designated Au Pair sponsors may request that an Au Pair participant be granted an extension of program participation beyond the original twelve months.  Au Pair program sponsors may request an Au Pair participant be granted an additional 6-, 9-, or 12-month extension of program participation.  The applicant’s age is not a barrier to program extension as long as he or she was 18-26 years of age at the time of the initial program start date. 

f.  (U) Repeat Participation:  A foreign national who successfully completed an Au Pair program is eligible to participate again as an Au Pair participant provided that he or she has resided outside the United States for at least two years following completion of his or her initial Au Pair program.  The repeat participant must qualify as an Au Pair under the same rules as an initial participant.

g. (U) Exchange Visitor Program Regulation:  See 22 CFR 62.31.

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(3)  (U) Camp Counselor

(CT:VISA-432;   08-08-2017)

a.  (U) Camp Counselor:  

(1)  (U) This category is for a foreign national selected to be a counselor in an accredited U.S. summer camp (during the U.S. summer months) who imparts skills to American campers and information about his or her country or culture.

(2)  (U) While it is recognized that some non-counseling chores are an essential part of camp life for all counselors, this program is not intended to assist American camps in bringing in foreign nationals to serve as administrative personnel, cooks, nurses, physicians, or menial laborers, such as dishwashers or janitors.

b. (U) Duration:  The duration of participation must not exceed 4 months.

c.  (U) Exchange Visitor Program Regulation:  See 22 CFR 62.30.

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(4)  (U) Government Visitor

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) Government Visitor:  This category is for a foreign national who is recognized as an influential or distinguished person in their own country, and who is selected by a Federal, State, or local government agency to participate in observation tours, discussions, consultations, professional meetings, conferences, workshops, and travel.

b. (U) This category is for the “exclusive use” of United States Federal, State, and local government agencies.

c.  (U) Duration:  The duration of participation must not exceed 18 months.

d. (U) Exchange Visitor Program Regulation:  See 22 CFR 62.29.

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(5)  (U) Intern

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) Intern: 

(1)  (U) The Intern category aims to strengthen U.S. public diplomacy by expanding opportunities for substantive programming for foreign students and professionals; to enhance the skills and expertise of exchange visitors in their academic or occupational fields; improve participants’ knowledge of American techniques, methodologies, and technologies; and to increase participants’ understanding of American society and culture.

(2)  (U) This category is for a foreign national who is either currently enrolled in and pursuing studies at a degree- or certificate-granting post-secondary academic institution outside the United States or who graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to his or her exchange visitor program start date, and who enters the United States to participate in a structured and guided work-based internship in his or her specific academic field.

c.  (U) Duration:  The duration of participation must not exceed twelve months.

d. (U) Program exclusions:  Sponsors must not:

(1)  (U) Place Interns in unskilled or casual labor positions; in positions that require or involve child care or elder care; or in clinical or any other kind of work that involves patient care or contact, including any work that would require them to provide therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care (e.g., sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, early childhood education, or as hairdressers or manicurists);

(2)  (U) Place Interns in positions, occupations, or businesses that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department into notoriety or disrepute;

(3)  (U) Engage or otherwise cooperate or contract with a staffing/employment agency to recruit, screen, orient, place, evaluate, or train trainees or Interns, or in any other way involve such agencies in an Exchange Visitor Program training or internship program.

e. (U) Program requirements:  Sponsors must:

(1)  (U) Ensure that the duties of trainees or interns as outlined in the trainee/internship placement plans (T/IPP)  Form DS 7002 will not involve more than 20 percent clerical work, and that all tasks assigned to trainees or Interns are necessary for the completion of training and internship program assignments; and

(2)  (U) Ensure that all “hospitality and tourism” training and internship programs of 6 months or longer contain at least 3 departmental or functional rotations.

f.  (U) Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP):  Sponsors must complete and obtain requisite signatures for a Form DS-7002, Training/Internship Placement Plan, for each intern before issuing a Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status.  Upon request, visa applicants must present their fully executed Form DS-7002 to a consular official during their visa interviews (see 9 FAM 402.5-6(D)(7) above for information on the training/internship placement plan).

g. (U) Repeat Participation: 

(1)  (U) A foreign national can participate in additional internship programs that address the development of more advanced skills or a different field of expertise as long as they maintain student status or begin a new internship program within 12 months of graduation from an academic institution outside the United States.

(2)  (U) Participants who have successfully completed an internship program and no longer meet the selection criteria for internship programs may participate in a training program after a 2-year period of residency outside the United States following their internship program.

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(6)  (U) International Visitor

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) International Visitor:  This category is for the exclusive use of the U.S. Department of State.  It is for an individual who is a recognized or potential leader in their own country and is selected by the Department of State to participate in observation tours, discussions, consultation, professional meetings, conferences, workshops, and travel.

b. (U) Duration:  The duration of participation must not exceed one year.

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(7)  (U) Professor

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) Professor:  This category is for an individual who is engaged primarily in teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at accredited post-secondary academic institutions, museums, libraries, or similar institutions.  The Professor may also conduct research and participate in occasional lectures if authorized by the program sponsor.

b. (U) The Professor’s appointment to a position must be temporary, even if the position itself is permanent.  The individual must not be a candidate for a tenure-tracked position.

c.  (U) Alien Short-Term Scholars and Physicians are governed by regulations set forth in 22 CFR 62.21 and 22 CFR 62.27, respectively.

d. (U) Duration:  The duration of participation must not exceed 5 years unless the participant is directly sponsored by a federally funded national research and development center or a U.S. Federal laboratory (Program Serial G-7). 

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(8)  (U) Research Scholar

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) Research Scholar:  This category is for an individual whose primary purpose is to conduct research, observe, or consult in connection with a research project at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or similar types of institutions.  The Research Scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor.  The Research Scholar’s appointment to a position must be temporary, even if the position itself is permanent.  The individual must not be a candidate for a tenure-tracked position.

b. (U) Short-Term Scholars and Alien Physicians are governed by regulations set forth in 22 CFR 62.21 and 22 CFR 62.27, respectively.

c.  (U) Minimum qualifications for this category are a bachelor’s degree with appropriate experience in the field of in which research is to be conducted.

d. (U) Duration:  The duration of participation must not exceed 5 years unless the participant is directly sponsored by a Federally funded national research and development center or a U.S. Federal laboratory (program serial G-7).

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(9)  (U) Short-Term Scholar

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) Short-Term Scholar:  This category is for a foreign national who is a Professor, Research Scholar, or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited academic institutions, or similar type of institution.

b. (U) Exchange visitors who have recently participated in an exchange program as a Professor or Research Scholar in the United States are not expected to attempt to reenter the United States as a Short-Term Scholar to rejoin their original sponsor as this would be considered to be a continuation of their original program objective.

c.  (U) Duration:  The duration of participation must not exceed 6 months.  No program extensions are permitted.

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(10)  (U) Specialist

(CT:VISA-149;   07-20-2016)

a. (U) Specialist:  This category is for a foreign national who is an expert in a field of specialized knowledge or skill coming to the United States for observing, consulting, or demonstrating their special skills except:

(1)  (U) Research Scholars and Professors, who are governed by regulations set forth at 22 CFR 62.20;

(2)  (U) Short-Term Scholars, who are governed by regulations set forth at 22 CFR 62.21; and

(3)  (U) Alien Physicians in graduate medical education or training, who are governed by regulations set forth at 22 CFR 62.27.

b. (U) Duration:  The duration of participation must not exceed 1 year.  Within the specialist category there are six program numbers with approved exceptions to this one year duration.  They are for Japanese teachers and individuals affiliated with the Laurasian Institute (P-3-05588); Israeli specialists under the World Zionist Organization (P-3-04530); specialists under the U.S. Department of Energy (G-3-00348); specialists under the East-West Center (P-3-10434); specialists under the Institute of International Education (P-3-14039); and specialists under the Broadcasting Board of Governors (G-3-00366).  For these six excepted program numbers, the duration of participation is three years and the visa should be issued for the full three years.  Both the Form DS-2019 and the SEVIS record will have a notation that this program is a three-year duration.  The visa should be set to expire two years after the listed program end date found in Box 3 on the Form DS-2019.

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(11)  (U) Students

(CT:VISA-432;   08-08-2017)

a. (U) Secondary School Student: 

(1)  (U) This category affords foreign secondary school students an opportunity to study for an academic semester or an academic year in a U.S. accredited public or private secondary school while living with an American host family or residing at an accredited U.S. boarding school.  Participants in this category must meet the following requirements:

(a)  (U) Be a secondary school student in their home country who has not completed more than 11 years of primary and secondary study excluding kindergarten; or

(b)  (U) Be at least the age of 15 but not more than 18-1/2 years of age as of the program start date; and

(c)  (U) Has not previously participated in an academic year or semester secondary school student exchange program in the United States or attended school in the United States in either F-1 or J-1 visa status.  Screening factors such as English language proficiency, maturity, character, and scholastic aptitude are critical.

(2)  (U) Sponsors are required to secure host-family placement prior to the student’s departure from his or her home country, but are not required to have a placement before the visa interview.  As a result, the student’s Form DS-2019 may list the sponsor’s contact information instead of the host family’s contact information. 

(3)  (U) Duration:  The duration of participation is a minimum of one academic semester or a maximum of one academic year.  Sponsors are permitted to issue a Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, for an academic semester or academic year.   When a student is from a country whose school calendar is opposite that of the United States, a sponsor can issue a Form DS-2019 for a calendar-year cycle.

b. (U) College and University/Student: 

(1) In order to participate, a foreign individual must be someone who will:

(a)  (U) Study in the United States; pursue a full course of study leading to or culminating in the award of a U.S. degree from a post-secondary accredited academic institution; or engage full-time in a prescribed course of study in a non-degree program of up to 24 months duration conducted by a post-secondary accredited academic institution; or

(b)  (U) Engage in English language training at a post-secondary accredited academic institution, or an institute approved by or acceptable to the post-secondary accredited academic institution where the college or university student is to be enrolled upon completion of the language training.  A Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, for language training can only be issued if the student is fully funded by funding from the student’s home government.

(2)  (U) Exchange visitors participating in the college or university student category must be supported substantially by funding from any source other than personal or family funds. 

(3)  (U) Duration:  Duration of participation is determined by whether the exchange visitor is a degree or non-degree student.  An explanation of each is provided in paragraphs c and d below.

c.  (U) Degree Students:  Exchange visitor students who are in degree programs may be authorized to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program as long as they are either:

(1)  (U) Studying at the post-secondary accredited academic institution listed on their Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, and are:

(a)  (U) Pursuing a full course of study as set forth in 22 CFR 62.23(e); and

(b)  (U) Maintaining satisfactory advancement towards the completion of their academic program; or

(2)  (U) Participating in an authorized academic training program as permitted in 22 CFR 62.23(f).

d. (U) Nondegree Students:  Exchange visitors who are Nondegree Students may be authorized to participate in the Exchange Visitor Program for up to 24 months, if they are either:

(1)  (U) Studying at the post-secondary accredited academic institution listed on their Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, and are:

(a)  (U) Participating full-time in a prescribed course of study; and

(b)  (U) Maintaining satisfactory advancement towards the completion of their academic program; or

(2)  (U) Participating in an authorized academic training program as permitted in 22 CFR 62.23(f).

e. (U) Student Intern Subcategory:

(1)  (U) Department-designated U.S. colleges and universities can administer internship programs substantially similar to those detailed herein under their J-1 College/University Student designation.

(2)  (U) A number of colleges and universities currently hold J-1 training designations and can be expected to issue Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, and Form DS-7002, Training/Internship Placement Plan, to applicants as trainees per the current rulemaking and the program guidelines described herein.

(3)  (U) The category of Trainee will be reflected on the Form DS-2019 if the sponsor is authorized for this category.

f.  (U) Exchange Visitor Program Regulation:  See 22 CFR 62.23.

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(12)  (U) Summer Work Travel (SWT)

(CT:VISA-391;   06-26-2017)

a. (U) Qualifying for Summer Work Travel (SWT):  In this category, a participant is defined as a bona fide post-secondary student in the applicant’s own or another foreign country if the applicant is currently enrolled and participating full time at an accredited post-secondary academic institution at the time of the application, or as that status is defined by the educational system of the country.  On-line study, though it may be full time and may lead to a degree, does not qualify a student as a full time student for purposes of participation in the Summer Work Travel program.  Final year students are eligible to take part in this program during the school's major academic break immediately following their graduation, as long as they apply to participate in the program prior to graduation.

(1) (U) An applicant must have completed at least one semester, or the quarter or trimester equivalent, of postsecondary education to be eligible to participate in this program.

(2) (U) Participants must demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English to enable them to not only carry out their job duties but also to interact effectively with law enforcement authorities and medical personnel, read rental agreements, carry on non-work related conversations, etc.  It is appropriate to conduct SWT visa interviews in English in order to assess the applicant’s proficiency.  U.S. sponsors may use video teleconferencing to conduct interviews with potential participants but assertions by the sponsor that an applicant meets the English language requirement are not alone sufficient to meet the burden of proof for this program requirement. 

(3)  (U) Unless they are final-year students, participants must demonstrate that they are bona fide students who are maintaining student status and are actively pursuing their degree per their local educational system.  Participants must be actually attending classes, rather than pursuing an on-line degree program. 

(4)  (U) Unless the participant is a final-year student, they must demonstrate that they will resume activities as a student after participation in the SWT program.

(5)  (U) It is not necessary for the student to be enrolled in the same institution both before and after participating in SWT in order to qualify.  Students may participate if they are transferring from one school to another, if they have finished an academic program at one school and are going on to another full-time program, or if they are continuing on to graduate school.  Documentation, satisfactory to you, that applicants have been accepted for and will commence studies upon their return may be accepted to establish status as a continuing student.

(6)  (U) Students attending vocational schools are generally not eligible for participation in the Summer Work Travel program, unless they can demonstrate that study in the vocational school will ultimately lead to a degree from a full-time post-secondary academic institution.

(7)  (U) Students may participate in the program every year that they meet the definition of bona fide student but participation each year is limited to the shorter of four months or the length of the long break between academic years at the school they attend. 

(8)  (U) In no case should there be more than one Summer Work Travel period per year identified in any country without the concurrence of both the Visa Office and ECA’s Office of Private Programs.

b. (U) Summer Work Travel (SWT) Sponsor Obligations:

(1)  (U) Designated U.S. sponsors of Summer Work Travel exchange programs must not place program participants in jobs as described in 22 CFR 62.32(h).

(2)  (U) U. S. Sponsors must ensure that 100 percent of their non-Visa Waiver Program country participants have a confirmed, vetted job placement.  Job placements may be secured directly by the U.S. sponsor or through self-placement by the participant. 

(3)  (U) For SWT participants from VWP countries, for whom employment has not been prearranged, sponsors must:

(a)  (U) Ensure that participants have sufficient financial resources to support themselves during their search for employment;

(b)  (U) Provide participants with pre-departure information that explains how to seek employment and secure lodging in the United States;

(c)  (U) Maintain and provide a roster of bona fide jobs that includes at least as many job listings as the number of participants entering the United States with pre-arranged and confirmed employment; and

(d)  (U) Undertake reasonable efforts to secure suitable employment for participants unable to find jobs on their own after 2 weeks of commencing the job search.

(e)  (U) Vet the job placement selected by the participant PRIOR to the commencement of employment;

(4)  (U) All SWT participants should be cautioned to comply with their responsibility to inform their U.S. sponsor of their arrival and commencement at work and keep the sponsor informed of their whereabouts, should they change locations.  SWT participants who wish to change jobs or to accept an additional job must inform their U.S. sponsor of the desired job placement and wait for the sponsor to perform the same vetting and approval process as for the initial employment prior to beginning work.

c.  (U) Duration of Summer Work Travel (SWT) Program:

(1)  (U) The duration of participation in the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program must not exceed four months.  These four months must coincide with the exchange visitor’s official academic school break between school years.  Please note that while the program may not be longer than four months, you are permitted to issue visas valid prior to the program start date.

(2)  (U) SWT programs are only permitted once a year during the long break between academic years.

d. (U) Summer Work Travel (SWT) Outreach and Fraud Prevention Measures:

(1)  (U) Designated U.S. sponsors are responsible for conducting the Summer Work Travel program under the regulations contained in 22 CFR 62.32.  The U.S. sponsors play a vital outreach role by explaining to host-country audiences the Summer Work Travel program's purpose, how it is structured, its economic imperatives, and the checks in place to safeguard the welfare of foreign youth while in the United States.  You should seek to develop a good working relationship with U.S. sponsors, which will allow you to better reach local audiences and deal with any problems that come up later, after program participants have entered the United States, but ECA is responsible for managing the administrative relationship with the U.S. sponsors and, in turn, will officially notify U.S. sponsors of their compliance responsibilities. 

(2)  (U) The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (WWTVPRA) requires you to ensure that aliens applying for J visas are made aware of their legal rights under Federal immigration, labor, and employment laws.  This includes information on the illegality of slavery, peonage, trafficking in persons, sexual assault, extortion, blackmail, and worker exploitation in the United States.  At the time of the nonimmigrant visa interview, you must confirm that a pamphlet prepared by the Department detailing this information has been received, read, and understood by the applicant.  Adjudicating officers must insert a case note to the effect that the applicant has acknowledged receipt and understanding of the pamphlet.  See 9 FAM 402.3-9(C)(1) for more information about WWTVPRA enforcement.

(3)  (U) It is important to ensure post's anti-fraud measures stay within the parameters established by regulations.  Post must allow any applicant with a valid Form DS-2019 to apply for a visa.  Each local SWT third-party contractor operating overseas must have executed a written agreement with the designated U.S. sponsor that explains their relationship and identifies their respective obligations.  These agreements must include annually updated price lists for the services provided to the U.S. sponsors and confirm that they will not outsource any core programmatic functions or pay or provide other incentives to U.S. host employers.  ECA has created a "Foreign Entity Report" SharePoint site by country listing the designated U.S. sponsors and their affiliated local, third party agents/ recruiters. Sponsors are required to maintain a current listing of all foreign agents or partners on the Foreign Entity Report.  It must contain the names, addresses and contact information (i.e., telephone numbers and email addresses) of all foreign entities that assist the sponsors in fulfilling the provision of core program services.  You must share information about misconduct by local third party entities with the CA/FPP and the F, M, J visa portfolio holder in CA/VO/F/ET, as listed in the CAWeb Who's Who, and they will in turn work with the ECA Office of Coordination and Compliance so that ECA can review and take appropriate action.

(4)  (U) When you receive applications from previous SWT participants who failed to return in time for the start of their university classes, this fact may call into question their eligibility (whether they are in fact "bona fide students") for future exchange program visas.  That is the case even when the applicant departed the United States within 30 days of the completion of his/her exchange program and did not incur a U.S. immigration violation.  Each of these cases must be evaluated on its own merits.

e. (U) Sample Handout for Summer Work Travel Participants:

Congratulations on your acceptance as an Exchange Visitor Program participant in a Summer Work Travel program.  This program is a cultural exchange, and your eligibility for program participation is based on your status as a foreign college/university student.  It is therefore very important that the program does not interfere with your studies and that you return to school in time for the first day of your classes.  Please take a moment to read the following information to ensure that you are familiar with certain requirements of the program.

What do the program BEGIN and END dates on my Form DS-2019 mean?

The program begin and end dates indicate when you may begin work and when you must stop working.  You may begin working at any point on or after the program start date, but you must end your work by the end date of the program.  Working beyond the program end date will impact your ability to participate in the program in future years.

How long before the program begin date may I enter the United States?

You may enter the United States up to 30 days in advance of your program begin date, but may not begin working until the program begin date is reached.  Please remember that participation in the program cannot prevent you from attending any scheduled classes or taking exams at your university.  If you miss any classes due to participation in the program, you will greatly jeopardize your chances of participating in the program.

How long after the program end date may I stay in the United States?

You have 30 days following the end date of your program to travel and/or to arrange for your return home.  You are not permitted to work during these 30 days, and if you leave the United States during this grace period, you will not be permitted to re-enter the United States on your J-1 visa because you will no longer be in J status.  Please keep in mind that it is your responsibility to return home in time for the start of your scheduled classes, no matter what your program end date is.

Can I switch jobs once I am in the United States?

Please check with your sponsoring agency before making any changes in your employment.  If you change employment without the permission of your sponsoring agency, your status in the program may be terminated.

If your program is terminated, you must leave the United States immediately.

Can I work more than one job in the United States?

The Exchange Visitor Program regulations do not prohibit a participant from accepting a second job.  However, you must check with your sponsoring agency before accepting a second job.  Your sponsoring agency must approve and vet all jobs.

What if I have a complaint about the sponsoring agency or my employer in the United States?

You may register complaints with the Department of State at jvisas@state.gov.  However, your U.S. sponsoring organization has primary responsibility for your program.  If you have a complaint about your employer, you should first contact your sponsor for assistance.  Contact information for your sponsor can be found in Box #7 of your Form DS-2019.

What if I have a difficult time finding a job placement once I arrive in the United States, or have concerns about the work conditions?

If you have questions or are experiencing difficulty in finding employment, or have concerns about the work conditions, you should first contact your sponsor for assistance.  You also may contact the Department of State (jvisas@state.gov).  You may also wish to contact your country’s nearest Embassy or Consulate.

If you have other questions not answered here, please consult the following Web page:

J1visa.state.gov or write to the Department of State at jvisa@state.gov.

f.  (U) Student Work Travel Pilot Programs for Citizens of Australia and New Zealand:

(1)  (U) In September 2007, the U.S. Government signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with Australia and New Zealand launching 12-month student work and travel pilot programs.  The MOU with New Zealand became effective on September 10, 2007; the MOU with Australia became effective on October 31, 2007.  The MOUs allow certain Australian, New Zealand, or U.S. citizens who are bona fide post-secondary students or recent graduates (within 12 months of graduation) from post-secondary schools to work and travel in Australia, New Zealand, or in the United States, respectively, for up to 12 months.

(2)  (U) The guidance for the Australia and New Zealand pilot programs differs from other J-1 SWT guidance (see paragraph a above) in the following respects:  Participants are not required to return home in time for the school year to begin, and qualified post-secondary students can enter the United States at any time. 

(3)  (U) Duration:  The duration of participation in this category must not exceed 12 months.  No extensions of program are permitted.  No repeat participation is allowed under this pilot program.

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(13)  (U) Teacher

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Teacher:  This category is for an individual teaching full-time in a primary or secondary accredited academic institution.  A foreign national must satisfy all of the following:

(1)  (U) Meet the qualifications for teaching in primary and secondary schools in his or her country of nationality or last legal residence;

(2)  (U) Satisfy the standards of the state in which he or she will teach in the United States;

(3)  (U) Be of good reputation and character;

(4)  (U) Seek to come to the United States for the purpose of full-time teaching at a primary or secondary accredited academic institution in the United States; and

(5) (U)  Have a minimum of 3 years of teaching or related professional experience.

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(14)  (U) Trainee

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) The intern and training programs are operating under an Interim Final Rule that went into effect on July 19, 2007.  The Exchange Visitor Program’s existing Trainee category was revised and a new Intern category created.

b. (U) This category is for a foreign national who has either a degree or professional certificate from a post-secondary academic institution outside the United States and at least one year of prior related work experience in his or her occupational field acquired outside the United States; or five years of work experience outside the United States in his or her occupational field.

c.  (U) Program exclusions:  Sponsors must not:

(1)  (U) Place trainees in unskilled or casual labor positions (cashiers, servers, kitchen help, custodial workers, etc.), in positions that require or involve child care or elder care, or in clinical or any other kind of work that involves patient care or contact, including any work that would require them to provide therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care (e.g., sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, early childhood education, or as hairdressers or manicurists);

(2)  (U) Place trainees in positions, occupations, or businesses that could bring the Exchange Visitor Program or the Department into notoriety or disrepute;

(3)  (U) Engage or otherwise cooperate or contract with a staffing/employment agency  to recruit, screen, orient, place, evaluate, or train trainees, or in any other way involve such agencies in an Exchange Visitor Program training program;

(4)  (U) Designated sponsors must ensure that the duties of trainees as outlined in the T/IPPs will not involve more than 20 percent clerical work, and that all tasks assigned to trainees are necessary for the completion of training program assignments;

(5)  (U) Sponsor must also ensure that all “Hospitality and Tourism” training programs of six months or longer contain at least three departmental or functional rotations; or

(6)  (U) Place trainees in the field of aviation.

d. (U) Form DS-7002, Training/Internship Placement Plan (T/IIP):  Sponsors must complete and obtain requisite signatures on this form for each trainee before issuing Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status.  Upon request, visa applicants must present their fully executed Form DS-7002 to a consular official during their visa interview (see 9 FAM 402.5-6(D)(7) above for information on the Training/Internship Placement Plan). 

9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(15)  (U) Exception for Management Training for Trainees and Interns

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) The occupational category of Management, Business, Commerce, and Finance is up to 18 months for any type of management training, which may include restaurant management, turf management, office management, etc.  The duration of a trainee's or intern's participation in a training or internship program must be established before a sponsor issues a Form DS–2019.  Except as noted below, the maximum duration of a training program is 18 months, and the maximum duration of an internship program is 12 months.

b. (U) For training programs in the “Hospitality and Tourism” occupational category, the maximum duration is 12 months.  Training programs in the field of agriculture are permitted to last a total of 18 months, if in the development of the training plan, as documented in the T/IPP, the additional six months of the program consist of classroom participation and studies. Program extensions are permitted only within maximum durations as long as the need for an extended training and internship program is documented by the full completion and execution of a new Form DS–7002.

c.  (U) Typical rotational programs offered in hotels or restaurants in a variety of related functions leading to a final rotation in a single supervisory position, such as front desk supervisor or manager, floor supervisor, lead chief or room service manager, would fall under the "Hospitality and Tourism" occupational category and be limited to 12 months.

d. (U) Non-management placements on farms or other production facilities fall under ‘Agriculture’ and are limited to 12 months, or 18 months providing that six months of the program consists of classroom participation and studies.

9 FAM 402.5-6(F)  (U) Residence Abroad

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) The INA requires that the applicant possess a residence in a foreign country he or she has no intention of abandoning.  The regulations require that you be satisfied that the alien has present intent to depart the United States upon completion of their exchange visitor program.  Consequently, you must be satisfied that the applicant, at the time of visa application:

(1)  (U) Has a residence abroad;

(2)  (U) Has no immediate intention of abandoning that residence; and

(3)  (U) Intends to depart from the United States upon completion of the program.

b. (U) The context of the residence abroad requirement for exchange visitor visas inherently differs from the context for B visitor visas or other short-term visas.  The statute clearly presupposes that the natural circumstances and conditions of being an exchange visitor do not disqualify that applicant from obtaining a J visa.  It is natural that the exchange visitor proposes an extended absence from his homeland (see 9 FAM 401.1-3(F)).  Nonetheless, you must be satisfied at the time of the application for a visa that an applicant possesses the present intent to depart the United States at the conclusion of his or her program.  That this intention is subject to change is not a sufficient reason to refuse a visa.  Although exchange visitors may apply to change or adjust status in the United States in the future, this is not a basis to refuse a visa application if the exchange visitor's present intent is to depart at the conclusion of his or her program. 

9 FAM 402.5-6(G)  (U) Knowledge of English

(CT:VISA-423;   07-28-2017)

(U) A prospective exchange visitor must have sufficient proficiency in the English language to undertake the anticipated program successfully.  Successful participation in exchange programs requires that participants interact with Americans both at the participants' sites of activity as well as in the broader context of daily life, in order to achieve the cultural goals of these programs.   Some exchange visitor programs provide for an interpreter and this may be noted on the Form DS-2019.  Participants may not avoid the English language requirement by claiming that their site of activity offers a work environment in their native language.  If the applicant lacks the English skills described above, but the Form DS-2019 is not annotated to reflect the use of an interpreter, and you are unable to determine at Post whether the program permits use of an interpreter, contact the CA/VO/F F/M/J portfolio holder.

9 FAM 402.5-6(H)  (U) Employment

9 FAM 402.5-6(H)(1)  (U) Employment -General

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) An exchange visitor may receive compensation for employment when such activities are part of the exchange visitor’s program. 

b. (U) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for authorizing the employment of the spouse and any minor unmarried children (J-2 visa holders) of the exchange visitor (J-1 visa holder).  The dependent must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, requesting permission to work from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security.

9 FAM 402.5-6(H)(2)  (U) College/University Student Employment

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) There are two types of employment authorizations available for students with J status:

(1)  (U) Student employment (see 22 CFR 62.23(g) for more information on student employment); or

(2)  (U) Academic training (see 22 CFR 62.23(f) for more information on academic training).

b. (U) In both situations, the responsible officer must approve the exchange visitor’s participation in the activity. 

c.  (U) Exchange visitors who are participating as College/University Students (degree and non-degree) are permitted to work and are limited to twenty (20) hours per week, except during school breaks and annual vacation, unless authorized for economic necessity.  Some examples of student employment are:

(1)  (U) Scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship:  If the employment is required because of a scholarship, fellowship, or an assistantship, such activity usually occurs on campus with the school as the employer.  In certain circumstances, however, the work can be done elsewhere for a different employer.  For example, an exchange visitor may work in a government or private research laboratory if the exchange visitor’s major professor has a joint appointment at one of those locations and the employment is supervised and counts towards the exchange visitor’s degree;

(2)  (U) On campus:  The Exchange Visitor Program regulations allow for jobs on-campus that are related and/or unrelated to study, which stipulates that the work can be done “on the premises” of the school; and

(3)  (U) Off campus:  Exchange visitors may be authorized off campus employment by the program’s responsible officer (RO) when “necessary due to serious, urgent and unforeseen economic circumstances” that have arisen since the exchange visitor’s sponsorship on the J visa.

9 FAM 402.5-6(H)(3)  (U) Summer Employment for College/University Students Transferring from One J Visa Program Sponsor to Another

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) If a student in J status intends to transfer sponsors during the summer months but wants to remain at the current program to work during the summer, the current sponsor must delay the transfer procedure until after the period of employment.  In order to permit the student to stay in the current program the period of employment must be included in the exchange visitor’s program noted on the Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status.

9 FAM 402.5-6(I)  (U) Visa Application Procedures and Conditions

9 FAM 402.5-6(I)(1)  (U) Applicant Qualifications

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, is the basic document required to support an application for an exchange visitor visa and for maintaining valid exchange visitor program participant status.  The electronic SEVIS record in the CCD will indicate the applicant's current SEVIS status.  The applicant's SEVIS record must be in either INITIAL or ACTIVE status.

b. (U) On occasion, you will see applicants who claim they have followed the established procedure, but post cannot locate their SEVIS records in the CCD.  When this occurs, contact the F, M, J portfolio holder in CA/VO/F/ET for assistance.  It is important that CA/VO/F/ET and CA/VO/I be made aware of any failure of the records to replicate so that efforts to correct the problem are appropriately coordinated with DHS/ICE/SEVP. 

c.  (U) You must ensure that the applicant’s information is correct in the electronic SEVIS record (see 9 FAM 402.5-6(J)) and that the SEVIS fee has been paid.  You can also verify SEVIS fee payment at FMJfee.sevis@dhs.gov.

d. (U) If you are uncertain as to whether the applicant’s qualifications or planned activities fit within the Exchange Visitor Program, or have concerns that the sponsor is not in compliance with sponsor regulations, you should refuse the visa application under INA section 221g and notify the F, M, J portfolio holder in CA/VO/F/ET who will coordinate with ECA to provide guidance.

9 FAM 402.5-6(I)(2)  (U) Program Number

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) A J-1 visa must be annotated to show the name and program number of the exchange program in which the visa applicant is participating, the start and end dates of the program, and the SEVIS number of the individual.

9 FAM 402.5-6(I)(3)  (U) Cases Involving Unrealizable Reporting Dates

(CT:VISA-132;   05-16-2016)

(U) If the program start date specified in the applicant's Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, is already past or there is reason to believe the applicant will be unable to meet that date, you may assume the applicant may encounter difficulty at the port of entry (POE).  You should determine whether the sponsor has amended the electronic SEVIS record to change the program start date, and make a case note to that effect to alert CBP.  If this has not been done, you should direct the visa applicant to alert the designated U.S. program sponsor to the situation.  The sponsor may choose to amend the electronic record or may choose other solutions.   You should not intervene directly with designated U.S. sponsors on behalf of visa applicants.

9 FAM 402.5-6(I)(4)  (U) Entry of Exchange Visitor Program Participants Prior to Program Start Date

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) Posts may issue an exchange visitor visa to an applicant at any time as long as the Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, and SEVIS record are in INITIAL or ACTIVE status.  However, the exchange visitor may not enter the United States earlier than 30 days before the initial program start date.  Applicants continuing on an Exchange Visitor Program are not subject to this restriction.

b. (U) An exchange visitor who desires an earlier entry must qualify for, and obtain, a B-2 visitor visa.  However, if the applicant enters on a B visa, he or she must first obtain a change of visa classification (Change of Status) from the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) from B status to J status in order to participate in the exchange program.  The applicant must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, with the requisite filing and SEVIS fee for this purpose.  The applicant must also submit the annotated Form DS-2019 and any other required information to the USCIS office at which the application is made.  The applicant is not allowed to begin the exchange visitor program until USCIS has completed the change of status.  The process to change status may be lengthy and may impact the ability of the applicant to undertake the program as established.

9 FAM 402.5-6(I)(5)  (U) Multiple or Consecutive Exchange Programs

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) An exchange visitor may participate in multiple or consecutive exchange programs unless otherwise limited or prohibited by the Exchange Visitor Regulations (see 22 CFR 41.63).  Under no circumstances, however, issue an individual two separate J-1 visas for two different programs that will run back-to-back or simultaneously (e.g., Au Pair then Trainee; or Summer Work Travel then College University Student).

9 FAM 402.5-6(I)(6)  (U) 30-Day Post-Completion Period

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) Exchange visitors are no longer issued a paper Form I-94, Arrival and Departure Record, marked “D/S” (Duration of Status) upon entry into the United States.  CBP now gathers travelers' arrival/departure information automatically from their electronic travel records.  However, CBP will still issue a paper Form I-94 at land border ports of entry.  (Visa holders may download a copy of their electronic I-94 at www.cbp.gov/I94.)

b. (U) The initial admission of the exchange visitor will not exceed the period specified on the Form DS-2019 (the beginning and end dates), plus a period of 30 days “for the purpose of travel” (see 8 CFR 214.2(j)).  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established this 30-day period.  DHS has concluded that the 30-day post-completion period was intended to be a period following the successful completion of the exchange visitor’s program and is to be used for domestic travel and/or to prepare for and depart from the United States, and for no other purpose.  Foreign nationals are under the jurisdiction of DHS during this period.  A program extension and/or transfer cannot be done if an exchange visitor’s record in SEVIS is not in active status during this period.

c.  (U) Any validation study of return rates for J travelers must take this authorized grace period into account.

9 FAM 402.5-6(I)(7)  (U) Annotation and Visa Validity

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) A J-1 or J-2 visa must be annotated to show the program number, program    dates, and sponsor name of the alien’s exchange program, as well as the SEVIS number of the individual.  The J visa must also state whether the alien is subject to INA 212(e).  Keep in mind that you are making a preliminary determination of the applicability of INA section 212(e).  An exchange visitor must not use any single J visa for a program other than that specified on the annotation, even if that J visa has not yet expired. 

b. (U) J-1 visas must be issued for the program dates listed on the Form DS-2019, unless where excepted in 9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(10) or 9 FAM 402.5-6(I)(7) paragraph c, or unless visa reciprocity only allows for a shorter validity period.  J-2 derivatives are subject to the same visa validity as the J-1 principal applicant, unless visa reciprocity only allows for a shorter validity period.

c.  Unavailable

d. (U) For those exceptions noted in 9 FAM 402.5-6(E)(10), post is authorized to issue with a visa validity extending for three years.  The visa should be set to expire two years after the listed program end date found in Box 3 on the Form DS-2019.

9 FAM 402.5-6(I)(8)  (U) Renewing J Visas for Returning Exchange Visitors

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

(U) You generally should renew J visas to returning exchange visitors who have remained in valid program status and have not had any significant changes in either their program or their personal circumstances.  When an exchange visitor engaged in a program takes a short trip abroad and requires a visa to return to the United States, you are encouraged to issue visas, if the exchange visitor is otherwise qualified, to allow the individual to complete his or her program provided that the status of the electronic record in SEVIS is ACTIVE.

9 FAM 402.5-6(J)  (U) The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

9 FAM 402.5-6(J)(1)  (U) Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) - General

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) For an overview of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System see 9 FAM 402.5-4.

b. (U) The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is an internet-based database which tracks students and exchange visitors in F, M, and J visa status while in the United States.  Using SEVIS, designated Exchange Visitor Program sponsors enter information into SEVIS, which is then printed on the Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status.

c.  (U) The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) authorizes designated U.S. sponsor officials referred to as Responsible Officers (RO) access to SEVIS so that they may create and update official records on exchange visitors and their dependents.  SEVIS enables exchange program sponsors to transmit electronic information and event notifications, via the Internet, to the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) throughout an exchange visitor’s stay in the United States.  The information in SEVIS is updated, as needed, and supersedes information on the printed Form DS-2019.  The SEVIS record is the definitive record of exchange visitor eligibility and you must check it for each applicant.

d. (U) Exchange Visitor Program sponsors designated by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) must use SEVIS.  Only a Form DS-2019 that has been issued through SEVIS, and contains a unique SEVIS identification number and bar code, may be accepted in support of an exchange visitor visa application.  The Form DS-2019 must be signed in blue ink by a sponsor’s designated official (responsible officer or alternate responsible officer).  However, the definitive record for consular officers is the electronic SEVIS record in the CCD.  CBP also accesses the electronic record at the port of entry.

9 FAM 402.5-6(J)(2)  (U) Responsible and/or Alternate Responsible Officers

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) Exchange Visitor Program sponsors designate individuals to perform the duties attendant to designation.  The responsible officer (RO) is the primary person appointed as being responsible and thoroughly familiar with the Exchange Visitor Program regulations, policies, and SEVIS requirements.  Alternate responsible officer(s) (AROs) are individuals appointed to assist the RO in administering the program.

b. (U) The RO and AROs are required to ensure that the exchange visitor obtains sufficient advice and assistance to facilitate the successful completion of their exchange program.  ROs and AROs are also responsible for the security of SEVIS.  Only RO and AROs are authorized access to SEVIS to issue Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, or to change records in SEVIS.

9 FAM 402.5-6(K)  (U) J Visa Fees

9 FAM 402.5-6(K)(1)  (U) SEVIS I-901, Fee Remittance for Certain J Nonimmigrants, Fee

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) The SEVIS I-901 fee is a one-time fee for persons applying for a J visa program.  The fee covers the costs of administering the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and related enforcement efforts.

b. (U) Most exchange visitors will pay the full fee; however, the fee is reduced for some, including those in Summer Work Travel, Camp Counselor, and Au Pair categories.  See SEVIS fees for additional information.

c.  (U) Exchange visitors and their spouses and/or dependents sponsored by a government program (G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-7) are not required to pay a SEVIS fee. 

d. (U) You should clearly post on post's website the means by which an exchange visitor participating in one of these government-sponsored programs can reach the consular section to make a visa interview appointment without paying the SEVIS fee or the nonrefundable MRV fee (9 FAM 402.5-6(K)(3)). 

9 FAM 402.5-6(K)(2)  (U) SEVIS I-901, Fee Remittance for Certain F, J and M Nonimmigrants, Fee Payment

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) Applicants must pay the SEVIS fee prior to visa application.  Applicants may schedule interview appointments before paying the fee.  Consular sections must verify through SEVIS that the SEVIS fee has been paid but are not responsible for collecting it.  Payment may be made by any SEVIS I-901 fee payment method provided for by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

b. (U) Consular sections must verify SEVIS I-901 fee payment verification through the CCD SEVIS report.  You can also verify SEVIS I-901 fee payment at www.fmjfee.com, if the fee payment information has not yet replicated to the CCD. 

c.  (U) Only principal J-1 aliens have to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.  Even though J-2 derivative applicants have a unique SEVIS ID number, they do not pay a fee.

d. (U) You should direct visa applicants with questions about paying the SEVIS I-901 fee to the ICE website at http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901. 

9 FAM 402.5-6(K)(3)  (U) Fee Waivers for Certain Exchange Visitors

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

a. (U) U.S. Government-funded exchange visitors and their spouses and/or dependents coming to the United States are eligible for machine readable visa (MRV) fee waivers if they are participating in a Department of State, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), or a federally funded educational and cultural exchange program.  Exchange programs eligible for the MRV exemption have a program number that begins with the prefix G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7 program serial number on the Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status.  All other applicants with U.S. Government funding must pay the MRV processing fee.  You must ensure that post's website provides clear guidance to these visa applicants on how to obtain a visa interview appointment without paying the MRV fee, because the fee, once paid, is not refundable. 

b. (U) Applicants participating in any U.S. Government-sponsored J program, and their spouses and/or dependents are exempt from any applicable visa reciprocity fee.

9 FAM 402.5-6(L)  (U) INA 212(e)

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) INA 212(e) prohibits certain exchange visitors from applying for an immigrant visa or for adjustment of status to that of a legal permanent resident or from changing status or receiving a visa as a temporary worker (H1B), nonimmigrant fiancé (K) or intracompany transferee (L) until the applicant has established that he or she has resided and been physically present in the country of nationality or last permanent residence for an aggregate of at least two years following departure from the United States.

9 FAM 402.5-6(L)(1)  (U) Aliens Subject to INA 212(e)

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

a. (U) An alien admitted as an exchange visitor under INA 101(a)(15)(J) or who acquires such status after admission if:

(1)  (U) The program in which the alien is participating was financed in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by a U.S. Government Agency;

(2)  (U) The program in which the alien is participating was financed in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by the government of the country of the alien's nationality or last legal permanent residence;

(3)  (U) The alien at the time of acquiring such status was a national or resident of a country designated as requiring the services of persons engaged in the field of specialized knowledge or skill as shown in the 2009 Exchange Visitor Skills List, 1984 Exchange Visitor Skills List, or 1972 Exchange Visitor Skills List; or

(4)  (U) The alien entered the United States to receive graduate medical education or training.

b. (U) Aliens participating in the Au Pair and Summer Work Travel exchange visitor program categories are not subject to INA 212(e).

9 FAM 402.5-6(L)(2)  (U) Waiver of INA 212(e) Requirement

(CT:VISA-354;   04-26-2017)

(U) An alien may seek a waiver of the two-year, home-country physical presence requirement provided:

(1)  (U) The alien establishes exceptional hardship or probable persecution on account of race, religion or political opinion; (see also 9 FAM 302.13-2(D)(3));

(2)  (U) The alien establishes active and substantial involvement in a program sponsored by or of interest to a U.S. Government Agency; (see 9 FAM 302.13-2(D)(4));

(3)  (U) The alien has received a statement of "no objection" from his or her country of nationality or residence; (see 9 FAM 302.13-2(D)(1)); or

(4)  (U) The alien is a graduate of a medical school for whom a request for a waiver has been granted to a State Department of public Health (see 9 FAM 302.13-2(D)(5)).

      You should refer former exchange visitors who wish to learn more about applying for a waiver of INA 212(e) to Waiver of the Exchange Visitor Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement.

9 FAM 402.5-6(L)(3)  (U) Department’s Policy on Extension of Program Participation While a Waiver of the 2-Year Home-Residency Requirement Is Pending

(CT:VISA-391;   06-26-2017)

(U) When a responsible officer (RO) or alternative responsible officer (ARO) is notified by the Department that a favorable recommendation for a waiver of the 2-year home residency requirement has been sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the exchange visitor is no longer considered eligible for an extension of program beyond the end date shown on the current Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, even though he or she may not have completed the maximum duration of participation permitted for the category.  However, if a waiver request is submitted and denied and the exchange visitor is still within the maximum duration of participation established by the regulations, an extension may be issued by the sponsor up to the maximum duration of time permitted for that category.

9 FAM 402.5-6(M)  (U) Exchange Visitor Skills Lists

9 FAM 402.5-6(M)(1)  (U) Exchange Visitor Skill List, 2009

(CT:VISA-132;   05-16-2016)

(U) Please see:  The Skills List broken down by each country and a printable copy of the 2009 Exchange Visitor Skills List.

9 FAM 402.5-6(M)(2)  (U) Exchange Visitor Skill List, 1997

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Please see:  1997 Exchange Visitor Skills List.

9 FAM 402.5-6(M)(3)  (U) Exchange Visitor Skill List, 1984

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Please see:  1984 Exchange Visitor Skills List.

9 FAM 402.5-6(M)(4)  (U) Exchange Visitor Skills List, 1972

(CT:VISA-1;   11-18-2015)

(U) Please see:  1972 Exchange Visitor Skills List.