How to Administer a Program

In the administration of their programs, sponsors are to comply with the Exchange Visitor Program regulations found at [22 CFR Part 62]. In addition to the general administrative requirements of subpart A, which are applicable to ALL sponsors regardless of the program category or categories for which they are designated, sponsors must also comply with the relevant program category requirements, found in subpart B, according to the categories for which they are designated. Program regulations on adjustments to the J status are found in subpart C. subparts D and E cover sanctions and termination and revocation of programs, respectively.

General Administrative Requirements

Accreditation and Licensure

Sponsors are required to comply with all local, state, federal and professional requirements applicable to the program category and to the activity for which they are designated. Requisite licenses and accreditation are to be current at all times [22 CFR 62.9(c)].

Staffing and Support Services

Sponsors are to appoint adequate staff and support services with appropriate qualifications and training to administer the program in compliance with the Exchange Visitor Program regulations [22 CFR 62.9(f)].

Appointment of Responsible and Alternate Responsible Officers

The sponsor appoints one responsible officer (RO) and alternate responsible officers (ARO) to administer the exchange program under the supervision of the RO. The responsible officer and all alternate responsible officers must be employees or officers of the sponsoring organization, and must be citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States. The Department of State, may, however, in its discretion, authorize the appointment of an individual who is not an employee or officer of the sponsor to serve as an alternate responsible officer, when approved by the sponsor. Also, the Department of State may limit the number of alternate responsible officers appointed by the sponsor.

Only the RO and ARO may sign the Form DS-2019, and are responsible to safeguard all forms issued to the sponsor by the Department. The RO and ARO must be familiar with current Exchange Visitor Program regulations, and must be able to advise and assist program participants as needed, in order to facilitate the successful completion of their programs. Finally, sponsors maintain all program and participant records for a minimum of three years [22 CFR 62.9(g) and 22 CFR 62.11].

Screening and Selection of Program Participants

Sponsors devise a method and criteria for selecting participants for their programs. All sponsors, regardless of category, are required to determine 1) the suitability of their program for prospective participants; and 2) that participants have sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in their programs. In addition, specific regulations pertaining to program categories may define other criteria. Please consult the regulations for each category for details on the specific screening requirements [22 CFR 62.10(a)].

Insurance

Program participants and their dependents are required to have medical insurance coverage with the following minimum benefits [22 CFR 62.14].

  • Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

Sponsors are to require that their participants (and any dependents entering the United States as holders of a J-2 visa) have insurance in effect during the period of time they are in the sponsor's program. An insurance policy secured to meet the benefits requirements must be underwritten by an insurance corporation with an A.M. Best rating of "A-" or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of "A-I" or above, a Standard and Poor's Claims Paying Ability rating of "A-" or above, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above. Alternatively, the sponsor may ascertain that the participant's policy is backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor's home country. For other options, see [22 CFR 62.14].

Program regulations also discuss coverage through HMOs and self-insurance of the above requirements by federal, state or local government agencies, state colleges and universities, and public community colleges, if permitted by law. Refer to [22 CFR 62.14] for additional information.

Orientation

Regulations pertaining specifically to orientation (both pre-arrival and arrival) are found at [22 CFR 62.10].

In addition, some categories require additional pre-arrival and/or orientation information to be provided to participants. Please refer to the regulations for each category for information on particular orientation requirements.

Program regulations require sponsors to offer appropriate orientation for all exchange visitors and their immediate family. Orientation includes, but is not limited to, the following information:

  • Life and customs in the United States
  • Local community resources (e.g., public transportation, medical centers, schools, libraries, recreation centers and banks), to the extent possible
  • Available health care, emergency assistance, and insurance coverage
  • A description of the program in which the exchange visitor is participating
  • Rules that the exchange visitors are required to follow under the sponsor's program
  • Address of the sponsor and the name and telephone number of the responsible officer
  • Address and telephone number of the Office of Private Sector Exchange of the Department of State
  • A copy of the Exchange Visitor Program Welcome Brochure.

Pre-Arrival Information [22 CFR 62.10(b)]

Sponsors must provide the following pre-arrival information:

  • The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program
  • Home-country physical presence requirement
  • Travel and entry into the United States
  • Fees payable to the sponsor
  • Other costs that the exchange visitor will likely incur (e.g., living expenses) while in the United States
  • Health care and insurance
  • Other information which will assist exchange visitors to prepare for their stay in the United States

Monitoring of Participants

Sponsors are required to monitor their participants' welfare and progress to the extent appropriate for the category, and ensure that their activities are consistent with the category indicated on the Form DS-2019. Sponsors are also to require that all exchange visitors keep them apprised of their current addresses and phone numbers of their participants and to maintain this information [22 CFR 62.10(e)].

Sponsors are required to provide all participants with emergency contact information. Please refer to the regulations relevant to the category of interest for additional information.

Accountability to the Department of State

All sponsors are required to submit an annual report, notify the Department of State in writing of certain changes in their program, and of serious problems. In addition, they are to cooperate with any inquiry or investigation taken by the Department of State. Failure to do so may result in the termination. See program regulations found at [22 CFR 62.13] for details regarding a sponsor's accountability to the Department of State, and at [22 CFR Part 62], Subparts D and E for details on Sanctions and Termination.

Annual Report

Sponsors are required to submit an annual report on their program/s to the Department of State. The report is comprised of three components, a narrative, certification of compliance with insurance coverage, and a statistical summary of Form DS-2019 use. The Annual Report Form includes the insurance certification and the statistical summary. The narrative is submitted as a separate (but attached) document.

The narrative describes the course of the exchange program during the reporting period. It should summarize both the activities of program participants and the cross-cultural activities provided by the sponsor for its participants, describe the nature and extent of the reciprocity in the sponsor's program, and evaluate the effectiveness of the program. It may include highlights of particular successes and difficulties. Due dates for the annual reports vary according to the program type, and are stated in the Letter of Designation. Sponsors should also refer to the specific program regulations for any additional requirements [22 CFR 62.15].

In addition, three program categories - Camp Counselor, High School Student, and Summer Work/Travel -- allow the sponsor to submit a biannual placement report in lieu of including the U.S. address of the participant on the DS-2019 form. Please refer to the specific regulations for each of these categories for additional information on its placement report.

Changes in the Participants' J-1 Status

Circumstances which require notification to the Department of State are listed below [22 CFR 62.13].

  • Appointment or termination of the responsible officer and/or any alternate responsible officers
  • Any change of address, telephone number, or facsimile number. (Notification of the changes listed above may be submitted on the DS-3037)
  • Changes in the composition of the organization that affect its citizenship
  • Major change in ownership or control of the sponsor's organization
  • Change in financial circumstances that may render the sponsor unable to comply with its obligations
  • Loss of required license and/or accreditation
  • Any litigation relevant to the sponsor's program when the sponsor is a party
  • Loss or Theft of Forms DS-2019
  • Early termination or withdrawal of participants from the program 30 or more days prior to the end date on their Form DS-2019

Serious Problem or Controversy

Sponsors are required to notify the Department of State promptly by telephone (to be confirmed in writing) of any serious problem or controversy which could be expected to bring the Department of State or the sponsor's program into notoriety or disrepute [22 CFR 62.13(b)].

Program Category Requirements

In addition to maintaining compliance with general administrative requirements, sponsors must comply with the specific regulations of each program category for which they are designated to administer an exchange program. Regulatory program components most likely to have additional requirements for specific program categories include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Program Duration
  • Appropriate Program Activities
  • Excluded Activities
  • Participant Eligibility/Selection Criteria
  • Pre-Arrival Information, including information on any contractual obligations between the participant and the sponsor or an employer (specific to the program category); pay and benefits, if applicable; training plans, multiple placement/program locations; deadlines for submissions of requests for specific placements
  • Participant Monitoring, including in some categories, placement
  • Requirements for the submission of the Annual Report
  • Use of a Placement Report

This listing identifies the items most likely to vary among programs and pose additional requirements to those identified in [22 CFR 62.10]. Please refer to the regulations of specific program categories for details.