Volume 2, Number 4

September 30, 2005

Greetings from the ISSO scholar team!

The Communiqué is an on-going series of messages to departments who sponsor international scholars at Boston University. With the Communiqué, we offer information that helps in the processing of scholar immigration-related documents and petitions. We hope you find the Communiqué a useful tool in working with the ISSO and in successfully hiring and sponsoring scholars from around the world. Past Communiqués are archived on our web site. Click here to go to the archive page.

ISSO Welcomes New International Scholar Advisor

The International Students & Scholars Office is very pleased to welcome Jill M. Ostrowski to our advising team. Jill joined us in early August taking the reins from Naomi Moca who decided to become a full-time mom. Jill comes to Boston University with a number of years of experience in international education. She has worked with international scholars and students at UMass-Amherst, Pine Manor College, ELS Language Centers and, most recently, ASSE International in Laguna Beach, California. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. Jill will focus on providing services related to our J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.

New Five-Year Limit for J-1 Research Scholars and Professors

The U.S. Department of State recently published a new rule that extends the maximum period of program participation in the “professor” and “research scholar” categories of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program from three (3) years to five (5) years. This is good news for host departments and for our J-1 scholars in these categories. It means that BU departments may continue their research or teaching relationships with these visiting scholars (paid and unpaid) for much longer than ever before.

It is important to note that this rule does not apply to J-1 Exchange Visitors who have received a waiver of the two-year home residence requirement.

The rule also adds an official recognition of the inter-relatedness of teaching and research. Under the new rule, J-1 research scholars may teach and J-1 professors may conduct research with fewer restrictions than in the past. There is no longer a need to switch categories should the primary focus of the J-1 scholar’s program activity change from research to teaching or vice versa.

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program office anticipates making the necessary computer programming updates to the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) in Spring 2006. However, the Department of State has set up interim procedures allowing program sponsors like Boston University to take advantage of the new rule immediately by submitting extension requests by application to their office in Washington, D.C.

Therefore, if you have J-1 scholars in one of these categories and wish to extend their program activity in your department beyond three years, please submit an extension request to the ISSO at least two months prior to the expiration date of the scholar’s current Form DS-2019. Likewise, requests for new J-1 Exchange Visitors in the professor or research scholar categories can now be for any period up to five years and, as always, must match the length of the scholar’s BU appointment and backed by an appointment letter. Be aware, however, that until SEVIS is updated to handle appointments that are longer than three years, we will issue an initial document for three years, then produce an extension sometime after the scholar enters the U.S.

It should also be noted that this new rule implies a fixed five-year eligibility window during which a scholar can participate in one or more J-1 programs, continuously or intermittently. This may change the way we process short-term visitors in J-1 status, but we are waiting for further clarification from the Department of State on this aspect of the new rule before implementing new policy.

If you or any of the scholars in your department wish to discuss the new rule, we would be glad to take the time to talk about it.

Feel Free to Contact Us

As always, if there are any questions or concerns, please feel free to call us at (617) 353-3565. You can also e-mail us at the addresses below.

Your ISSO Scholar Services Team

Jeanne E. Kelley

James Leck
Associate Director

Jill M. Ostrowski
International Scholar Advisor