Exchange Visitor Program

Exchanges will play “a unique and critical role” in the normalization of U.S.-Cuban relations, Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan said in her opening remarks for a symposium at George Washington University on Wednesday.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for the termination of the J-1 visa program in an immigration policy proposal recently published on his campaign website, Bloomberg Politics reports.

In response to political unrest in Yemen and concerns for their safety, a group of Yemeni exchange students have received a waiver to complete an additional year of studies in the U.S., according to a listing in the Federal Register last week. The students were participants in the Department of State’s Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program during the 2014-2015 academic year.

A recent White House report reaffirmed the “rich cultural experience” provided by the Exchange Visitor Program and commended the State Department for its “comprehensive approach” to the program. The report was created in response to a Presidential Memorandum issued by President Obama to examine ways of improving the U.S. legal immigration system.

More than two dozen Yemeni exchange students will be allowed to stay in the United States through December, reports The Washington Post. The students were participants in the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, sponsored by the State Department, when civil war broke out in their home country of Yemen, preventing their return.

Each year, thousands of international students and professionals visits the United States on J-1 exchange visitor visas. During their stay in the U.S., these international visitors greatly enrich the American homes, schools, businesses, and communities in which they live, study, and work.

J Day is a nationwide celebration of the power of these international exchange programs and a great opportunity to raise awareness of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP).

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A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program, released this afternoon, commends the Department of State on its strengthened oversight of SWT, while acknowledging the public diplomacy value of this exchange program that brings up-and-coming leaders to the U.S. for summer cultural experiences.

(Update 10/8/14: An additional significant change not included in our original analysis has been added below [see bullet #7, and further comment on that bullet in the section titled “Significant changes to sponsor representations and disclosures: section 62.9(d)(3)”].)

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Revisions to Subpart A, the general provisions of the regulations governing the Department of State Exchange Visitor Program, were released in today’s Federal Register. The rule is interim final and goes into effect January 5, 2015 (except revised insurance amounts, which become applicable on May 15, 2015). The Department is accepting comments on the rule for 60 days, until December 5, 2014.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Private Sector Exchange Robin Lerner and staff of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) are traveling across the U.S. this July and August to visit international exchange participants, particularly of the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program, at their placement sites.

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