What to do to become a J1 exchange program sponsor
The United States Department of State welcomes fresh associations to be part of the exchange program sponsors to administer a program. At the onset you need to understand how to become an exchange program sponsor and administer a program. It’s important to have a comprehensive insight into all the regulations and system.
What is J1 Visa?
J-1 Visa is a non immigrant visa issued by the US government to exchange visitors. Electronic records on J-1 visitors have to be maintained in SEVIS by the program sponsors. Any change in name or address has to be intimated within 10 days.
Eligibility of J1 Visa Sponsor
Everyone cannot become a J-1 Visa sponsor. Aspiring program sponsors must meet the following eligibility criteria.
• The sponsor must have a process in place to screen and shortlist potential exchange participants.
• The exchange visitors must be provided with deliverables containing pre-arrival information.
• It is mandatory that sponsors hold an orientation program for exchange visitors.
• It is the responsibility of the SEVIS sponsors to safeguard form DS-2019.
• Sponsors must devise a system which has the capability to effectively monitor the exchange participants.
• Insurance coverage as per the requirements of the J1 Visa regulations must be provided to the exchange participants.
What is Form DS-2019?
It is the main document used in the administration of the exchange visitor program. It’s known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status. It contains the names of the exchange visitor and their designated sponsor. It has details of the exchange visitor’s program including the cost, category of exchange and the commencement and finishing date of the program.
How to Administer a Program
Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind if you want to become a sponsor of the visitor exchange program.
- Exchange Visitor Regulations: Firstly, you must comply with the Exchange Visitor Regulations as in 22 CFR Part 62. In addition you must comply with the general administrative requirements of subpart “A” and all the relevant program category requirements in subpart “B” according to the designated categories.
- General Administrative Requirements Accreditation and Licensure:You must comply with the local, state, federal as well as the professional requirements applicable to the program category and to their designated activity. Accreditation and requisite licenses must be always current as in 22 CFR 62.9 (c)).
- Staffing and Support Services:It is mandatory that you appoint support services and staff with the requisite training and qualification to administer a program in compliance with the Exchange Visitor Program Regulations of 22 CFR 62.9 (f)
- Appointment of Responsible and Alternate Responsible Officers: You must appoint a RO – Responsible Officer and ARO – Alternative Responsible Officer. They must be legal permanent residents or citizens of the US. Also they must be officers or employees of the sponsoring organization. Only the RO and ARO can sign the form DS-8019 and are accountable for all the forms issued to the sponsor by the department.
- Screening and Selection of Program Participants: The sponsors should have a criteria as well as a process in place for selecting participants for their programs. All sponsors need to determine adequate English proficiency of the participants and whether their program is suitable for prospective participants irrespective of category.
- Insurance: All program participants and their dependents must have comprehensive medical insurance coverage. It is the responsibility of the sponsor of the exchange program to verify if the participants and his dependents meet the regulatory criteria specified in 22 CFR62.14. If the participant is interested in obtaining an extension of medical insurance coverage in case he plans to extend his J-1 visa he should contact the officer who is in charge of his sponsorship program. If the participant or his dependents fail to maintain active insurance coverage, it may lead to the termination from the exchange program.