J Subpart A Rule Resource Page
On September 22, 2009, the Department of State (DOS) published a proposed rule that would amend Subpart A of the J exchange visitor regulations, the part of the regulations that applies to all exchange visitor programs and program categories. Public comments must be received by November 23, 2009. These are proposed changes only. No changes will become effective until DOS publishes a final rule, after receiving public comment. This page will help keep you up to date on this topic.
NAFSA and AIEA Comment On J Subpart A Proposed Rule
On November 20, 2009, NAFSA and AIEA (Association of International Education Administrators) submitted a joint comment on the Department of State’s proposed rule to amend the J exchange visitor regulations at 22 CFR Part 62, Subpart A. NAFSA's comments consist of a main comment letter and a detailed addendum. NAFSA's J Subpart A Task Force reviewed proposed Subpart A, identified and prioritized concerns on the proposed changes, and communicated those concerns to NAFSA staff to support the preparation of this NAFSA comment letter. Comments from the public are due on November 23, 2009, and members are encouraged to prepare and submit comment letters as well, following their own institutional protocols for submitting such letters.
Summary of NAFSA and AIEA Comments
The NAFSA/AIEA comment letter focuses on:
- The need for focusing on the spirit of exchange and public and citizen diplomacy.
- The need for interagency coordination regarding SEVIS.
- The need for tailoring regulatory requirements to account for differences between exchange visitor program categories.
The more technical addendum focuses on:
- The need to take into account the new data paradigms of SEVIS II, including the “paperless” environment of the future, and the SEVIS II “customer account” that will make individual nonimmigrants responsible for reporting name and address changes.
- The need for SEVIS to leverage data that is already in other U.S. government data systems, to avoid duplicative data entry efforts and improve the quality of data in SEVIS.
- The need to grant exchange program sponsor the level of discretion appropriate to manage their programs.
- The need to rely on measures of program quality and review that already exist in a program sponsor’s industry, rather than creating parallel or additional structures that are expensive and do not add to program integrity or security.
- The need to incorporate public comment into future changes to minimum health insurance coverage levels, and to provide time to transition current plans into the new coverage levels.
- The need for regulatory and policy clarity.
Brief Summary of the Proposed Rule
Specific proposals include:
- Certain definitions have been added, clarified or deleted; for example, DOS proposes definitions of: foreign medical graduate; actual and current U.S. address; site of activity, and validation.
- New requirements for designation and redesignation.
- Incorporates SEVIS procedures, and defines actions sponsors must take to update SEVIS records, however, does not appear to address certain SEVIS II concepts such as the IIN/Customer account.
- An increase in the required amount of health insurance coverage (e.g., medical benefits of at least $200,000 compared to the current rule's $50,000).
- Requirement to use an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and Dun & Bradstreet numbers to identify sponsors and third parties.
- Collection of employment authorization information and validation of the SEVIS record on J-2 spouse and dependents.
- Requirement that the sponsor submit a certification its RO and AROs have undergone a criminal background performed by a "bona fide background screener."
- Would reduce the SEVIS event reporting window from 21 to 10 days
- English language proficiency would have to be “measured by an objective measurement of English language proficiency.”
- Implementation of management audits for all categories under the Private Sector Programs Division (Alien Physician; Au Pair and EduCare; Camp Counselor; Intern; Student, Secondary School; Summer Work/Travel; Teacher; Trainee and Flight Training).
Refer to NAFSA's Side-By-Side Comparison to see how the proposed rule published on September 22, 2009 would amend the current provisions of 22 C.F.R. Part 62, Subpart A. The resource displays where language stays the same as the current rule, and where language would be added, amended, or deleted.