Soft Track helps Exchange Visa Sponsors and their Participants fulfill US State Department regulatory requirements for the J-1 Visa program. The State Department has a rule that requires sponsors to provide regular updates regarding the visa holder’s status, including information such as arrival date in the US, job status, periodic check-ins and more. Program participants are required to respond and provide follow-up information to their sponsor’s inquiries.
Sponsors are required to document and report on each visa holder’s cultural experiences in the US, a difficult aspect to record in a feasible and effective manner.
With nearly 300,000 J-1 visa holders each year, the rule’s requirements can overwhelm sponsors, putting them at high risk of violating US law and jeopardizing their business.
Since the interim final rule’s implementation in 2012, much input has been shared among the State Department, industry organizations and visa sponsors to ensure a final rule well represents all interests and preserves the fundamental spirit of cultural exchange. While these conversations continue, however, visa sponsors must comply with the current rule, which requires amongst other things:
• Program participants contact sponsors within ten days following their arrivals in the US.
• Sponsors contact active program participants on a monthly basis to monitor both their welfare and geographical physical location.
• Sponsor outreach to program participants must be answered for the contacts to be considered monthly monitoring.
• Sponsors must ensure all program participants have opportunities to interact regularly with US citizens and experience US culture.
• Sponsors must inform program participants they risk program termination if they: (1) fail timely to report their arrival and/or changes of residence; (2) start work with an unapproved employer; and/or (3) fail to respond in a timely manner to sponsors’ monthly monitoring outreach contacts.
Soft Track enables sponsors to comply easily and efficiently with these requirements, ensuring program operations continue and grow in a compliant manner.