Exchange Visitor Lifecycle



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Welcome to the SEVIS Training for sponsor officials. This training is designed to facilitate your understanding of SEVIS in regards to the administration, maintenance and management of the J-1 program information at your organization and your exchange visitor and spouse/dependent records. In this presentation we will discuss: The Exchange Visitor status lifecycle and timeline, the status change flow, and other potential status change scenarios.

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Disclaimer: This presentation provides guidance for using SEVIS. It does not replace the Exchange Visitor Program regulations found in 22 CFR Part 62. To obtain administrative guidance on the Exchange Visitor Program, the Exchange Visitor Program regulations, or program or exchange visitor issues and concerns, contact the Department of State’s Office of Designation, Private Sector Exchange.

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Let’s take a look at the lifecycle of an exchange visitor.

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Most exchange visitors follow the same lifecycle. When the RO or ARO obtains all required information about the prospective exchange visitor, he or she creates the Form DS-2019. The Form is then sent to the exchange visitor. The exchange visitor pays the SEVIS fee and then uses the Form to apply for a visa in his or her home country. After acquiring a visa, the exchange visitor enters the United States and begins participation in their program. Exchange visitors must report their physical address, email and phone number to the sponsor official. The sponsor official validates the exchange visitor record. The RO or ARO updates the exchange visitor’s information in SEVIS throughout their program. When the program ends, the exchange visitor departs the U.S. and returns to their home country.

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Now we will look at a timeline that demonstrates how various events affect the status of an exchange visitor’s record in SEVIS. External events, SEVIS events, and system, sponsor and exchange visitor actions will all be shown on the diagram. We will consider several possible scenarios a record can undergo and trace them on the diagram. In the first scenario, the exchange visitor’s program would follow the lifecycle outlined on the previous slide. When the record is being created, its status is Draft. Upon submission, the status changes to Initial. When the exchange visitor pays the I-901 fee, receives a J-1 visa or applies for Change of Status to J-1, enters the United States or is approved for a Change of Status to J-1 and reports to the program, the sponsor official validates the record, and its status changes to Active. It will remain Active throughout the duration of the program and the system will automatically change the exchange visitor’s record to Inactive status the day after the program end date. If the exchange visitor’s program will end more than 30 days before the Program End Date, the RO or ARO must shorten the program’s duration.

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Now, let’s consider possible deviations. If the Draft status record does not get submitted, the system automatically deletes the record 45 days after the record was last updated. The RO or ARO can also manually delete the record. If the exchange visitor’s record is not validated within 30 days of the Program Begin Date and there is no port of entry on the record, the system will automatically change the status to Invalid. If the RO or ARO knows that the exchange visitor will not be participating in the program, they can cancel the record, which also changes the status of the record to Invalid. When there is Port of Entry data on the record, indicating that the exchange visitor entered the United States, and the record is not validated by the RO or ARO within 30 days of the Program Begin Date, the system will automatically change the status to No Show. This can also be done manually by the RO or ARO. When the nonimmigrant’s class of admission changes from J, the system automatically changes the status of the record to Inactive on the Benefit Start Date. The Benefit Start Date is determined by USCIS at the time a change of status application is approved. When the exchange visitor transfers to another program sponsor, the record’s status becomes Transferred on the Effective Date of Transfer at the transfer-out program and the record becomes visible at the transfer-in program. The transfer-in program is now responsible for maintaining the record; the transfer-out sponsor has no further obligation in maintaining the exchange visitor’s record. If the exchange visitor violates the program rules, the sponsor official can terminate the record. Changing the status to Terminated can have negative consequences for the nonimmigrant. Updating the status of the exchange visitor may also update the status of any accompanying spouse or dependents.

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In summary, the status of an exchange visitor’s record normally changes from Draft (the record has not been submitted and does not have a SEVIS ID) to Initial (where the record has been submitted and assigned a SEVIS ID). At this point the allotment of Forms DS-2019 is decremented by 1. The status changes to Active when the record is validated. This will be the status of the record for the remainder of the participant’s program. The status changes to Inactive when the exchange visitor’s program ends either because the Program End Date was reached or the exchange visitor changed to another class of admission.

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Other statuses the record might have are:
  • Invalid – the status of a record will change from Initial to Invalid if the record has not been validated within 30 days of the Program Begin Date and does not have Port of Entry information, or has an approved change of status to J-1. At this point the allotment of Forms DS-2019 is incremented by 1.
  • No Show – the status of a record will change from Initial to No Show if the record has not validated based on the following scenarios:
    • If the record contains port of entry and the program duration is greater than 30 days, the status will change to No Show 30 days after the program begin date.
    • If the record contains port of entry and the program duration is less than 30 days, the status will change to No Show on the program end date.
    • If the record contains change of status approval and the program duration is greater than 30 days, the status will change to No Show 30 days after the benefit start date or program begin date, whichever is earlier.
    • If the record contains change of status approval and the program duration is less than 30 days, the status will change to No Show on the program end date.
    • If the record was transferred, the status will change to No Show 30 days after the Effective Date of Transfer.
    • Terminated – an exchange visitor’s record will change to Terminated when the exchange visitor’s program was terminated by a sponsor official due to a negative reason.
    • And finally – Transferred, the status of the record will change to Transferred at both the transfer-in and transfer-out sponsor on the Effective Date of Transfer. The status will remain Transferred at the transfer-out program indefinitely. The status will change to Active at the transfer-in sponsor when the record is validated.

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    Thank you for watching. For additional videos about administering your exchange visitor program, please visit our website.