USIA Policy on 30-Day Grace Period for J-1 Visitors

Extensions and transfers no longer processed by USIA during 30-day grace period, Extra, December 17, 1997

NAFSA conducted a liaison meeting December 15, 1997, with officials from the U.S. Information Agency's (USIA) General Counsel's Office to review issues concerning the exchange visitor program.

In the meeting the Agency affirmed its position that there is a difference between an exchange visitor's J "program" status and his/her immigration status. Henceforth, the 30-day grace period allowed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service for an exchange visitor to depart the United States will no longer be available as a period of time within which an extension or transfer request to USIA can be processed. NAFSA anticipates that the Agency will soon issue a written policy statement confirming this.

Agency officials have indicated their intent to apply this policy effective immediately. Responsible Officers are advised to immediately alter past practices of using the 30-day grace period for transfers and extensions. Extension requests during the 30-day grace period will require reinstatement to J program status. Please be advised that reinstatement requests involving transfers will be denied by USIA if there has been a failure to follow proper transfer procedures outlined in the regulations. From the Agency's perspective, this requires issuance of the IAP-66 from the school to which the exchange visitor is transferring and approval of the transfer from the previous program. The entire transfer process must take place before the end date on the prior IAP-66.