Mr. Bob White of the firm’s Immigration Group recently attended the NAFSA Region V Conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan. During the conference, Mr. White moderated a panel discussing issues affecting international students and faculty caused by the U.S. dysfunctional immigration system. The following are some of the highlights from other panels during the conference:

  1. If a foreign national provides a document in a language other than English at a Social Security Administration (SSA) office, the SSA is required to send the document for translation through one of its translating services, even if the foreign national provides a certified translation. The SSA even can not accept a translation which has been completed by a consulate or embassy. 
  2. If a J-1 nonimmigrant is maintaining an active SEVIS record but is outside the United States, the foreign national is required to maintain his/her insurance as mandated by the J-1 program. However, the insurance may be issued by a company in his/her country as long as it meets with the requirements of the J-1 program. 
  3. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) indicated that the SEVIS fee will be increasing shortly. The current fee is $100. SEVP did not indicate what the new fee would be.
  4. SEVP indicated that it will be deploying the next generation of SEVIS in May 2009. Some of the new features of the next generation of SEVIS may include incorporating students’ biometric information into the SEVIS system. The next generation may also require that Designated Student Officials (DSO) and Responsible Officers (RO) complete security background checks before being granted access to SEVIS.
  5. SEVP indicated that it plans to begin the recertification process for schools and exchange visitor programs in October 2008. It will be shortly proposing to Congress the procedure which will be used to recertify programs. SEVP stated that it believes that it will be giving 180 days notice before beginning the recertification process. SEVP indicated that this should provide schools and programs with adequate time to prepare for the recertification process.