State Dept. Seeks OMB Approval, Comments on Exchange Visitor Program Annual Reports
The Department of State (DOS) has sent for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval a notice and request for comments (PDF) on annual reports required from designated exchange visitor program sponsors to assist DOS in overseeing and administering the J-1 visa program. The reports provide statistical data on the number of exchange participants an organization has sponsored per category of exchange, a summary of the activities in which exchange visitors were engaged, and an evaluation of the program’s effectiveness. Program sponsors include government agencies, academic institutions, and private sector not-for-profit and for-profit entities. The estimated number of respondents annually is 1,460.
Annual reports are completed through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), printed and signed by a sponsor official, and sent to DOS by mail or fax. DOS said it is working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expand SEVIS functions and enable the collection of electronic signatures. Annual reports will be submitted to DOS electronically “as soon as the mechanism for doing so is approved and in place,” the agency said. DHS announced a delay in implementing SEVIS II in April 2010. Phase one, the creation of customer accounts and the migration of school and sponsor records, was planned to start in March 2010, and phase two, full operating capability, was planned to deploy in October. DHS said a final decision on the schedule has not been reached, but confirmed that SEVIS II will not be deployed this year.