The Department of State Final Rule, Participation in the Exchange Visitor Program as Professor and Researcher (70 Fed. Reg. 28815 (2005)), gives the J-1 research scholar/professor the ability to pursue an exchange activity or academic objective for a five-year period. If during this five-year period, the J-1 research scholar/professor is out of J-1 status for at least two years, a new five-year period begins (22 CFR § 62.20 (i) (1), (2)). The rule also confirms that the J-1 research scholar/professor can perform the academic objective at multiple sites (22 CFR § 62.20 (f)).

This new rule presents unique challenges to SEVIS record maintenance, especially when a J-1 Research Scholar/Professor departs the United States or changes status to another nonimmigrant visa status. NAFSA welcomes the opportunity to provide recommendations that address the practical implementation of the new J rule in SEVIS to satisfy the requirements of the regulation, while also addressing the realities of SEVIS maintenance for J programs.