Confucius Institutes, sponsored by the Chinese government, serve to promote Chinese language, literature, and culture throughout the world. Confucius Institutes commonly partner with institutions of higher education.

In an updated Policy Directive issued on May 25, 2012, the Department of State (DOS) amended prior guidance issued on May 17 regarding exchange agreements between Confucius Institutes and U.S. colleges and universities that are facilitated through a college or university J-1 exchange visitor program. Important changes include clarifications that:

  • “When conducting university or college-based activities with Confucius Institutes, a college or university sponsor’s accreditation is sufficient to comply with the regulations set forth at 22 CFR 62.20(c),” and that “Those courses offered through Confucius Institutes may be taught at either the Confucius Institute or the partnering college or university.”
  • Although DOS continues to maintain that exchange visitors teaching in K-12 schools must be documented in the “Teacher” exchange visitor category, Chinese language teachers currently “sponsored by university or college sponsors who are teaching at primary or secondary schools are not required to depart the United States at the end of this academic year, unless that was their intended date of departure.” Instead, DOS “will work with sponsors to ensure that Exchange Visitors are sponsored in the proper category with the appropriately-designated sponsor. The Department of State realizes this process will take time, and has taken steps… to minimize any disruption to individuals and institutions.” College/university sponsors whose J-1 exchange visitors are teaching in public and private K-12 schools under a post-secondary institution category such as “Professors” or “Research Scholars” should contact the Department of State’s Office of Designation at 202-632-9310 or by email at [email protected] by June 8, 2012 to provide certain information and for specific instructions on next steps.

Read the amended policy directive for additional details.