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Department of State: Exchange Visitor Program

Federal Register, September 22, 2009, Page 48177-48190

Agency

United States Department of State

Action

Proposed rule with request for comment

Summary

The Department of State is proposing to amend the General Provisions (Subpart A) of the existing Exchange Visitor Program regulations. This section of the regulations establishes the procedures for designated Program sponsors and addresses overall Program administration. It provides the overall context in which to interpret all other provisions of the Exchange Visitor Program regulations. The General Provisions have not been revised in whole in over 15 years, despite modifications of many of the categoryspecific regulations and changes in technology.

The proposed regulations encompass technical changes to the General Provisions and address public diplomacy and foreign policy concerns, including the Department's ability to monitor Program sponsors and to ensure the safety and  well-being of foreign nationals who come to the United States as Program participants. The amendment of this section incorporates changes made to the regulations since the last update in 1993. It ties all regulatory requirements together and consolidates the requirements set forth in the SEVIS reporting requirements regulations into the General Provisions. Certain definitions have been added, made clearer or deleted. This rule also proposes new requirements regarding applications for designation and redesignation, a change in the required amount of health insurance coverage, the identification of an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and Dun & Bradstreet numbers by sponsors and third party entities, the collection of employment authorization information and validation of the SEVIS record on an exchange visitor's accompanying spouse and dependents, criminal background checks on all Responsible Officers and Alternate Responsible Officers, and the implementation of management audits across all categories under the Private Sector Programs Division of the Office of Designation. The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) currently in place is being redesigned. The redesign, SEVIS II, has no immediate impact on this roposed rule. Prior to the implementation of SEVIS II the Department of Homeland Security will introduce any new requirements or procedures to the public through a proposed rule with a comment period.

Dates

The Department will accept comments from the public up to November 23, 2009

Addresses

You may submit comments, identified by any of the following methods: • Persons with access to the Internet may view this notice and provide comments by going to the regulations.gov Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/index.cfm • Mail (paper, disk, or CD–ROM submissions): U.S. Department of State, Office of Designation, SA–5, Floor 5, 2200 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20522–0505. • E-mail: jexchanges@state.gov. You must include the title and RIN in the subject line of your message.

Further Information

Stanley S. Colvin, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchanges, U.S. Department of State, SA–5, Floor 5, 2200 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20522–0505; (202) 632–9288; or e-mail at jexchanges@state.gov.

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