The Catholic University of America

Responsibilities of Director of International Student and Scholar Services

Federal laws

Employment Based Non-Immigrant Classifications

(as amended by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986)

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (as amended) (employment)

Inviting and Paying International Scholars and Visiting Faculty

Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (students)

Verification of Employment Eligibility

F-1 Responsibilities

Training of Designated School Officials
When enrolling students in the F-1 visa category, the institution must employ and train at least one Designated School Official (DSO).The Director of ISSS is responsible for training any additional DSOs.
DSO tasks
  • Create and maintain informational materials for F-1 students.
  • Maintain records on each individual for whom a Form I-20 was issued. (done in SEVIS)
  • Send pre-arrival information to foreign students that have been accepted by the university.
  • Meet with each foreign student upon his or her arrival to make sure immigration documents have been properly processed and to check on the student's health insurance.
  • Approve drop below a full course of study the SEVIS system before the student drops the class or classes.
  • Receive and review proof of financial responsibility.
  • Determine if the student has the necessary English language skills.
  • Issue Form I-20s, the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F1) Student Status
  • Advise students of their responsibility to obtain a social security number if they are working
  • Advise students of health insurance requirements and verify that insurance coverage is adequate
  • Advise students of their tax filing obligations.
  • If a student loses important INS documents, help the student obtain new copies.

  • Sponsor workshops on employment regulations governing F-1's.

  • Answer questions that might arise with respect to the student's dependents

  • Process program extensions

  • Process school transfers.

  • Review and process reinstatement petitions on behalf of students who failed to maintain status.

  • Notify CIS of any change in educational level at the same school.

  • Track changes in program of study by all F-1 students.

  • Assist in filing with CIS for authorization for off-campus employment in cases of severe economic hardship.

  • Keep current on the regulations related to student employment

  • Help students obtain permission (Form I-538) to work off campus for a recognized international organization

  • Authorize and make recommendations for curricular practical training.

  • Make recommendations for optional practical training.

  • Counsel students on the ramifications of their choices

For more information see the OGC-CUA web page Responsibilities of an Institution Enrolling Students in the F-1 Visa Category.

Records to be kept on all F-1 students while such students are attending the school or until the school notifies the CIS that the student is no longer pursuing a full course of study:1

  • name
  • date and place of birth
  • country of citizenship
  • physical address in the U.S. (no P.O. box)
  • academic status (full- or part-time)
  • date of commencement of studies
  • degree program and field of study
  • whether student certified for practical training, and beginning and end dates of same
  • termination date and reason, if known
  • admission documents
  • the number of credits completed each semester, including current semester (may be maintained by the Registrar)
  • photocopy of the student's I-20 identification
  • the non-immigration classification of the alien and the date the visa was issued or classification changed or extended or the date on which a change to such classification was approved by the Attorney General
  • any disciplinary action taken by the institution against the alien as a result of his or her conviction for a crime or, in the case of a participant in a designated exchange visitor program, any change in the alien's participation as a result of the alien's being convicted of a crime.2
1 8 C.F.R. § 214.3(g)(1)
2 See § 641 of IIRIRA § 641.
J-1 Responsibilities

(note must Director of ISSS must file for redesignation of program which is due April 2010: Notice likely to come from Dept. of State in November or December through SEVIS)

  • Sponsor at least five exchange visitors per year (continuing visitors are included in this figure).

  • Select participants. Sponsors must have a system in place to screen and select prospective exchange visitors to ensure eligibility and to make sure the program is suitable to the visitor's background, needs, and experience.

  • Verify that participants have sufficient proficiency in English to participate in the program. This can be done by requiring the student to take a standardized English proficiency test in their home country and having the results sent to the institution the student seeks to attend. A foreign student may have an excellent ability to speak and understand the language, but poor writing skills, or excellent writing skills but lack the speaking skills. One skill may compensate for lack of the other. Full English language proficiency is not necessary if classes will be taught in the native language, or the institution offers the student English language training in conjunction with the academic course. See 22 C.F.R. § 41.61(b)(iii).

  • Provide cross-cultural experiences for the participants. The extent and types of cross-cultural activities are to be determined by the needs and interests of the particular category of exchange visitor. This may include encouraging visitors to voluntarily participate in activities that are for the purpose of sharing the language, culture, or history of their home country with Americans. For example, arrangements could be made to have a visitor from Japan speak to students at an elementary school who are studying about Japanese culture and customs.

  • Provide only accurate information to the public when advertising the exchange visitor program or responding to public inquiries.

  • Provide accurate and complete information, to the extent lawfully permitted, to the Department of State regarding the exchange visitor program and exchange visitors. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits the release of student record information, with certain exceptions. FERPA may be overridden by immigration law in certain instances. Information about the intersection of these laws in any given instance can be obtained from the Office of General Counsel. See NAFSA Practice Advisory 2001-D: Release of International Student Information to Government Official.

  • Provide accurate information to prospective visitors, which clearly explains the costs, activities, conditions, and restrictions of the program. The program description should be reviewed annually by the Office of General Counsel.

  • Provide adequate trained staff and sufficient support services to run the program.

  • Ensure adequate qualifications, appropriate training, and compliance. All employees, officers, agents, and third parties involved in the exchange visitor program must be adequately qualified, appropriately trained, and comply with the Exchange Visitor Regulations. See 22 C.F.R. § 62.9.

  • Identify a Responsible Officer (RO) and Alternate Responsible Officers (AROs). The RO and ARO must be employees or officers of the sponsor, unless the Department of State allows otherwise, and must be U.S. citizens or persons lawfully admitted for permanent residence.

  • Notify the Department of State of any change in the Responsible Officer or other change in circumstances (e.g., change in program phone number), loss or theft of Forms DS-2019, litigation related to the program, or other serious problems or controversies.

  • Terminate participation1 when the visitor:

  • fails to pursue the activities for which he or she was admitted to the U.S.;

  • is unable to continue in the program, unless otherwise exempted by the regulations;

  • violates the program regulations or sponsor's rules in such a manner that termination is warranted; or

  • willfully fails to maintain insurance.

  • Issue DS 2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (through SEVIS)

Before issuing a Form DS-2019 the RO must verify the following:

For students:

  • that the student is eligible, qualified and has been accepted for the program;

  • has the requisite English skills;

  • has been provided with information about regulated J health insurance requirements; and

  • has adequate financial resources to complete the program and support dependents.1

For short-term scholars:

A sponsor at an approved exchange visitor program may issue a DS-2019 for a short-term scholar, provided that the participant qualifies as a professor, research scholar, or person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the U.S. on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at the institution. The time period is limited to a maximum of four months. The sponsor is exempt from the orientation and cross-cultural activities requirement for visitors in this category.

For professors and research scholars:

An individual may be selected for participation in the program as a professor or research scholar subject to the following conditions:

  • The participant shall not be a candidate for a tenure track position.

  • The participant has not been present as a J nonimmigrant for all or part of the 12-month period immediately preceding the date of the program commencement set forth on the Form DS-2019 unless the participant is transferring to the sponsor's program as provided in 22 C.F.R. § 62.42, or the participant's presence in the U.S. was less than six months or the participant's presence was pursuant to a short-term scholar exchange activity as authorized by 22 C.F.R. § 62.21.

  • The Form DS-2019 shall be issued only after the professor or scholar has been accepted by the institution.

  • The Form DS-2019 shall be issued for a period of time not to exceed three years, unless the visitor is authorized by the Department of State for more time.

  • Train and supervise Alternate Responsible Officers (AROs).
  • Read and understand the Exchange Visitor Program regulations and the Codebook and Instructions for Responsible Officers. (Due to the change in regulatory oversight and code renumbering, the Department of State will probably reissue this publication.)
  • Read and understand the Adviser's Manual of Federal Regulations Affecting Foreign Students and Scholars published by the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA). This is not required by regulation, but it is recommended as an invaluable tool that provides answers to many of the questions that arise in this context and are not answered by the regulations alone. This manual attempts to bridge that gap.
  • Network with other foreign student officers through the NAFSA listserv and training sessions. This is not required by regulation, but it is recommended as an invaluable resource that addresses the complexity and constant flux of the law, supported by the experience-based knowledge of professionals in the field. It is particularly useful to the RO operating without similar in-house support systems.
  • Provide written pre-arrival information to participants. This must include information on the purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program, the two-year home-country physical presence requirement, travel and entry into the U.S., housing, fees payable to the sponsor, living expenses while in the U.S., cost of health care and insurance and whether it can be obtained through the university, conditions for waiver of CUA health insurance, and any other information that will help prepare visitors for their stay in the U.S.
  • Prepare and provide orientation with written materials for all participants and for their families as well. This should include information on life and customs in the U.S., local community resources (hospitals, libraries, and schools), health care, emergency assistance and insurance coverage, a description of the specific CUA academic program in which the visitor is participating, rules the exchange visitors are required to follow under the program, the address of the sponsor and the name and phone number of the RO, and the address and phone number of the Exchange Visitor Program Services at the Department of State. Also provide a copy of the Exchange Visitor Program brochure. The institution must explain the two-year home country physical presence requirement and requirements for maintaining status (see The University of Maryland explanation of the two year home country physical presence requirement).
  • Explain the full-time enrollment requirement and what it translates into at various stages of the program.
  • Provide consular officer with electronic notification that the visa applicant has been accepted into the exchange visitor program.
  • Make a record of any J visitor who is applying for a visa between Sept. 11, 2002 and the date SEVIS is fully implemented. This includes dependents applying for J-2 visas. The exchange program is responsible for maintaining the confirmation number.
  • Provide ongoing advice and assistance to exchange visitors. This includes preparing documentation (Forms DS-2019) for family members, providing information on maintaining status, extending stay, transferring program, traveling abroad, employment, and departing for home. While the RO is not responsible for preparing tax returns for nonimmigrant visitors, information on their obligations under U.S. tax law should be made available, along with copies of the tax forms. Workshops in conjunction with other departments (i.e., Office of Career Services, or the Payroll Office) may be useful in some of these instances.
  • Monitor exchange visitors' participation in program. While it is not the responsibility of the sponsor to ensure that the exchange visitor timely departs the U.S., the regulations do require that the sponsor monitor its participating exchange visitors. Among other things, the sponsor must ensure that the activity in which the visitor is engaged is consistent with the category of activity listed on the DS-2019 and accurately reflects the program dates on the Form DS-2019. This includes advising the visitor of the limitations on his or her activities and authorized stay in the U.S. Changes to address and phone number are entered into SEVIS.
  • The sponsor must also monitor the progress and welfare of the exchange visitor to the extent appropriate (students may require more monitoring than scholars). The sponsor must also ensure that the exchange visitor keeps the sponsor apprised of address and phone number changes so its records remain current. While it is not explicitly stated in the regulations, the monitoring process implies that there should some regular review of academic status, and that the sponsor will maintain some form of contact with the visitor, at least once per year, either by e-mail or in person. For more on this topic, see the paragraph, "Monitor full course of study requirements," below.
  • Comment to the BCIS upon request of the BCIS on an application for waiver of the two-year home country physical presence requirement.
  • Conduct all official correspondence with the U.S. Department of State. Respond to requests from Department of State for information, books, files, reports, documents and other records. The sponsor's program number must be on all official correspondence.
  • Retain records for a minimum of three years after completion of program by a participant.

  • Verify that funds are available for the exchange visitor to pay for adequate health insurance that meets the requirements of the regulations. This includes 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, and a deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness. See 22 C.F.R. § 62.14.

  • Verify that all non-students in the J category purchase the requisite health insurance.

  • Terminate from the program any exchange visitor who (willfully) fails to maintain health insurance.

  • File an annual report of the program. CUA's report is due July 31st of each year. See 22 C.F.R. § 62.15 and Appendix D. The annual report must contain statistical information on activity by category and data on Forms DS-2019. It should include a narrative on program activity, difficulties and their resolution, program transfers, anticipated growth and proposed new activity, cross-cultural activities, as well as the reciprocity part of the program. Certification that insurance requirements have been met must also be provided. NAFSA suggests adding a line to the sample form requesting program recertification for the program each year, so that it does not inadvertently lapse. See NAFSA publication, J Regulations for Beginners, for a sample report.

  • File Form DS-3037(Update of Information on Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor) whenever a new RO or ARO is appointed.

  • Keep current with fees and charges for filing forms.

  • Evaluate a student's proposed employment in the context of the program and the student's personal circumstances to determine whether it should be permitted and issue approval for same in writing. This may include discussing the proposed employment with the prospective employer, as well as with the student.

  • Authorize off campus work for students in cases of serious and urgent financial need.

  • Grant authorization for academic training (study-related employment). The RO must evaluate the proposed employment in terms of the program of study and the individual's circumstances. Note that part-time employment for academic training counts against the 18- or 36-month limit.

  • Grant authorization to professors and research scholars to engage in occasional lectures or short-term consultations. The exchange visitor must present the RO a letter from the offeror that sets forth the terms and conditions of the offer to lecture or consult, including the duration, number of hours, field or subject, amount of compensation, and description of such activity. The exchange visitor must also present a letter from his or her department head or supervisor recommending such activity and explaining how it would enhance the visitor's program. The RO is to review the letters, and make a written determination that the proposed employment will be directly related to the objectives of the visitor's program, be incidental to the exchange visitor's primary program activities, and not delay completion of the exchange visitor's program. See 22 C.F.R. § 62.20.

  • Grant written authorization to short-term scholars to lecture or consult at institutions not listed on the Form DS-2019 if the activity will not delay or extend the duration of the participant's program. Authorization shall be attached to the Form DS-2019 . See 22 C.F.R. § 62.21 and 64 Fed. Reg. 17,975 (Apr. 13, 1999).

  • Keep current on which exchange visitors are engaged in multiple activities (teaching, researching, lecturing and/or consulting) at the sponsoring institution. Since this is at the discretion of the RO, it implies that the RO is aware of said activity, and the dean or department chair should keep the RO informed on this matter. No formal approval is needed, and it is not considered a change in category.

  • Authorize extensions of stay. The RO may extend, for a period not to exceed six months beyond the three-year stay of a visiting professor or research scholar, provided that the RO has made a determination that the extension is necessary in order to permit the scholar or professor to complete a specific project or research activity.

  • Monitor full course of study requirements. Students are required to pursue a full course of study unless the student presents to the RO a written statement from a physician stating that a reduction in course load is necessary for health reasons, or the RO is presented with a statement from the academic dean or advisor recommending that the student reduce his or her academic load for an academic reason. The statute recognizes an exception to this requirement during the final academic term, when less than a full course is permitted, or when the visitor is engaged in authorized academic training. Software purchased by ISSS may be able to trigger notification to the RO of a reduction in an exchange visitor's course load.

  • Authorize academic training for students. A J category student may be authorized to participate in academic training programs for wages or other remuneration during his or her studies, or commencing not later than 30 days after completion of studies. This will be allowed if the student is primarily in the U.S. to study rather than engage in academic training, the training is directly related to the field of study, the student is in good academic standing, and the student receives written approval in advance from the RO for the duration and type of academic training. Also, for undergraduate and pre-doctoral training, the time cannot exceed 18 months, inclusive of any prior academic training in the U.S. or the period of full course of study in the U.S., whichever is less, except where necessary to satisfy academic degree requirements. Post-doctoral training may not exceed 36 months, in accord with the formula listed above. A new Form DS-2019 must be issued for each 18-month period.

The process is as follows: the exchange visitor must present to the RO a letter from their dean or academic advisor stating the goals and objectives of the training program; a description of same, including location, name and address of supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training; how the training relates to the student's major field of study; and why it is an integral or critical part of the student's program. The RO must make a written determination on whether the academic training currently being requested is warranted and meets the listed criteria. See 22 C.F.R. § 62.23.

  • Authorize student employment. The RO may approve specific employment in advance and in writing, for up to 12 months. Approval automatically ceases when the student's program is terminated. The student must be in good academic standing, and continue to engage in a full course of study, with employment totaling no more than 20 hours per week, except for official breaks and summer vacation. The work must be either pursuant to the terms of a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship, occur on the premises of the institution, or be off campus only when necessary because of serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic circumstances which have arisen since acquiring exchange visitor status.

  • Correct minor or technical infractions of the exchange visitor regulations for out of status visitors. If the exchange visitor commits a technical or minor infraction of the regulations, the RO is authorized to correct the exchange visitor's record with respect to the technical or minor infraction, if the exchange visitor is pursuing or intending to pursue the exchange visitor's original program objective. Examples of this are failure to extend the Form DS-2019 in a timely manner due to inadvertence or neglect; failure to conclude a program transfer prior to the end date on the current Form DS-2019 due to administrative delay or oversight, inadvertence or neglect; failure to receive prior approval and/or an amended Form DS-2019 before accepting an honorarium or other type of payment for engaging in an appropriate activity that is normally approved.

The RO corrects the record status quo ante by issuing a Form DS-2019 or by writing an authorization letter to reflect the continuity in the program or the permission to engage in the activity that a timely document would have reflected. The notification copy of the Form DS-2019 is submitted to the BCIS. This process may not be utilized when the visitor has willfully failed to maintain insurance coverage, engaged in unauthorized employment, was involuntarily suspended or terminated from the program during the period in question for which the record is being corrected. Other circumstances that will prevent utilization of this correction process are when invalid program status has gone on for more than 120 days after the end date on the Form DS-2019, when the exchange visitor by his or her actions failed to maintain his or her original program objective, or failed to maintain a full course of study without receiving approval to do so.

  • Apply to the Department of State for reinstatement on behalf of the student. This process must be used for substantive violations, which includes failure to maintain valid program status for more than 120 days after the end date, and failure to maintain a full course of study without prior consultation with the RO and academic advisor. The Department of State will not consider applications for reinstatement if the visitor knowingly failed to maintain health insurance, engaged in unauthorized employment, was suspended or terminated from the most recent exchange visitor program, failed to maintain valid program status for more than 270 calendar days, failed to pay the SEVIS fee, or received a waiver on the foreign residence requirement. Unlike F students, J exchange visitors must pay the SEVIS fee prior to any application for reinstatement to J program status. The SEVIS fee does not have to be paid prior to correcting the record, however. See 22 CFR 62.45(e)-(j) for reinstatement rules.

Applications under this provision where the time period is 120 days or less should include all copies of the exchange visitor's Form DS-2019 issued to date; a new completed Form DS-2019 showing in Block 3 the date of the period for which reinstatement is sought (i.e., the new program end date); a copy of the receipt showing the CIPRIS fee (once implemented) has been paid; and a written statement with documentary evidence in support thereof showing that the exchange visitor was at all times pursuing or intending to pursue the original activity for which the visitor was admitted, and showing that the failure to maintain status was beyond the control of the visitor, or from administrative delay, oversight, inadvertence or excusable neglect, or a statement and documentation that it would be an unusual hardship if reinstatement is not granted. If the time period for out of status was greater than 120 days, then the RO must demonstrate both that the violation was due to circumstances beyond the visitor's control, etc., and that failure to allow reinstatement will result in undue hardship.

If the RO cannot determine whether the violation is technical, substantive, or non-reinstatable, then the RO should apply for reinstatement. Approval of the application will result in a new Form DS-2019 being returned to the exchange visitor with Box 6 stamped to show reinstatement granted. A denial will result in notification to the RO. See 64 Fed. Reg. 44,123 (Aug. 13, 1999) for an explanation of the new regulations governing reinstatement found at 22 C.F.R. § 62.45.

  • File requests for change in category with the Department of State. See 22 C.F.R. § 62.41.

  • Process program transfers. When the visitor is transferring out of a sponsor's program, that sponsor's RO must grant written release to the new sponsor. When a visitor is transferring into a sponsor's program, the RO at that program must verify the exchange visitor's visa status and program eligibility, execute the Form DS-2019 , and secure the written release of the current sponsor. Upon return of the completed Form DS-2019 , the RO at the new program shall give the exchange visitor his or her copy of the Form DS-2019, and send the notification copy to the Department of State. See 22 C.F.R. § 62.42.

  • File for extension of stay when needed. An RO may extend a visitor's participation in the program up to the limit of the permissible period of participation authorized for his or her specific program category. This can be done by simply issuing a duly executed Form DS-2019 to the visitor showing the extension, and providing the notification copy to the Department of State. When the RO is seeking an extension beyond that authorized for that category, the RO must document the reasons for the extension, and secure the written approval of the Department of State. The Department of State will entertain requests for groups of similarly situated visitors. See 22 C.F.R. § 62.43.

  • Notify the Department of State when an exchange visitor has withdrawn from or completed the program 30 or more days prior to the end date on the Form DS-2019.

  • Notify the Department of State when an exchange visitor has been terminated from the program.

E-Verify (Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952)

Current implementation date is Sept. 8, 2009 which means any contracts awarded after that date will be covered. CUA has date of contract plus 30 calendar days to enroll in E-Verify, and then Date of Enrollment plus 90 calendar days to begin process of verifying (through E-Verify) employment eligibility for all newly hired individuals within 3 business days of hire.
This rule is effective for government contracts awarded after Sept. 8,2009 with a performance period of longer than 120 days and a value above $100,000. An e-verification must be done on all employees directly performing work on the contract. Contractors have 30 days to enroll in E-Verify after the award of the contract, and must initiate verification within 90 days of enrollment. Existing employees assigned to the contract must be run through E-Verify within 90 days of enrollment or 30 days of assignment to the K, whichever is later. Federal Contractors already enrolled for 90 days or more have to start the verification process within 3 business days of hire.

Subcontracts for services (except COTS) with a value of more $3,000 are also included, and CUA will require the E-Verify clause in the contract.

The Director of ISSS will be responsible for assisting HR in resolving problems that come up with E-Verify, as ISSS has the files on J-1s and H-1Bs and is in the best position to follow up on these issues.

Export Administration Act (EAA) and the Arms Export Control Act (AECA)

These laws must be complied with when non-U.S. persons or foreign nationals are granted access to regulated products or technology by a company or institution of higher education in the United States. Under the "deemed export" rule, allowing non-U.S. persons or foreign nationals access to the product or technology may trigger the requirement to apply for a license prior to that access. The EAA and the EAR control the export of dual-use goods and technology (items and technical information that have both commercial and military purposes) and the AECA and ITAR control the export of products and technology with primarily military, intelligence or defense-oriented purposes.
The Director of ISS is responsible for requesting faculty seeking visa for a foreign national in a category affected by export control regulations (H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, or O-1A visa) to fill out the Form I-129 checklist when submitting the paperwork for a visa and for referring any questions about the application to the Associate Provost for Research or the Office of General Counsel.