Regulation Update: Pre-Arrival Information Requirement for Sponsors

2 Mar

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The general regulations that govern all J1 programs were updated in January with new information that must be provided to all J1 participants before they arrive to the U.S.  These items are outlined in the regulations under Program Administration: 62.10(b).  The purpose of the new language helps ensure that participants have full disclosure on any and all fees paid to any entity for participation in the program, that clear expectations are set from the beginning of the enrollment process, and that participants have the insights they need to live and work or train successfully while in the United States.  The list is as follows:

(b) Pre-arrival information. At the pre-arrival stage, sponsors must provide exchange visitors clear information and materials on, but not limited to, the following topics: Program activities, cultural goals and components of the program, employment information and terms and conditions of employment (including employer name and address, position duration, job duties, number of work hours, wages, other compensation and benefits, deductions from wages, including those taken for housing and transportation), insurance costs, and other conditions and restrictions of their exchange visitor. In addition, sponsors must provide clear information and materials on:

(1) The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program;

(2) The home-country physical presence requirement;

(3) Travel to and entry into the United States (e.g., procedures to be followed by exchange visitors and accompanying spouses and dependents in paying SEVIS fees and obtaining visas for entry to the United States, including the information and documentation needed for the interview; travel arrangements to the United States, and what to expect at the port of entry, including the necessity of having and presenting travel documents at the port of entry);

(4) Housing, including specific information on what housing is provided by the program or otherwise available and the expected cost to the exchange visitor;

(5) An itemized list of all fees to be paid by a potential exchange visitor (i.e., fees paid to the sponsor or a third party);

(6) Description and amount of other costs that the exchange visitor will likely incur (e.g., insurance, living expenses, transportation expenses) while in the United States;

(7) Health care and insurance description, costs, and requirements for exchange visitors and their accompanying spouse and dependents, as applicable;

(8) Arrival notification requirements (e.g., procedures that exchange visitors, spouses and dependents are to follow upon entry into the United States in reporting their arrival to the sponsor and reporting to the location of their program); and

(9) Other information that will assist exchange visitors to prepare for their stay in the United States (e.g., how and when to apply for a social security number, if applicable; how to apply for a driver’s license; how to open a bank account; employee rights and laws, including workman’s compensation; and how to remain in lawful non-immigrant status.

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