[Federal Register Volume 89, Number 79 (Tuesday, April 23, 2024)]

[Rules and Regulations]

[Pages 30268-30272]

From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

[FR Doc No: 2024-08602]

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DEPARTMENT OF STATE

22 CFR Part 62

[Public Notice: 12342]

RIN 1400-AC36

Exchange Visitor Program--General Provisions

AGENCY: U.S. Department of State.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: On March 28, 2023, the U.S. Department of State (Department of

State) published in the Federal Register an interim final rule with

request for comment (2023 Interim Final Rule) for the Exchange Visitor

Program regulations that apply to sponsors the Department of State

designates to conduct international educational and cultural exchange

programs. In this final rule, the Department of State responds to

public comments submitted in response to the 2023 Interim Final Rule

and makes minor revisions to the regulations.

DATES: This rule is effective on May 23, 2024.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rebecca Pasini, Deputy Assistant

Secretary of the Office of Private Sector Exchange at SA-5, 2200 C

Street NW, Washington, DC 20522 or via email at JExchanges@state.gov or

phone at (202) 632-9327.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The 2023 Interim Final Rule, effective April

27, 2023 (88 FR 18249), allows sponsors to sign Forms DS-2019 using

digital signatures and to transmit Forms DS-2019 electronically to a

specified list of recipients. In this final rule, the Department of

State addresses the comments that parties submitted in response to the

2023 Interim Final Rule and makes minor revisions to the regulatory

language. Most of the 64 commenting parties addressed two topics:

sponsor preference for electronic signatures rather than digital

signatures, and the need for sponsors to electronically transmit Forms

DS-2019 directly to third parties acting on their behalf. After

consideration, the Department of State has retained the requirement for

digital signatures for signing Forms DS-2019, and it makes no changes

to the list of entities to which sponsors may transmit Forms DS-2019

electronically. However, this rule will modify the regulations at 22

CFR 62.12(c)(3) to allow third parties to retrieve Forms DS-2019

directly from sponsors' password-protected computer network systems

and/or databases. This modification allows third parties to retrieve

copies of digital Forms DS-2019 directly from sponsors that wish to

give them such access.

The Department of State also continues to permit sponsors to wet

sign and physically mail Forms DS-2019 to exchange visitors and/or

third parties. Sponsors that find the functionality of digital

signatures too burdensome or costly or wish to continue to send Forms

DS-2019 in bulk to third parties are not required to adopt the new

procedures.

In addition to commenting on the proposed regulations, many parties

submitted questions and/or requests for clarification. To the extent

such inquiries relate to this rulemaking, the Department of State will

address them herein. Otherwise, the Department of State recommends that

interested parties refer to J1visa.state.gov for more detailed guidance

and/or direct specific queries to the jexchanges@state.gov or to one of

the category-specific email accounts.

Digital Versus Electronic Signatures

22 CFR 62.12(b)(2)(iii)

Seventeen of the parties submitting comments on the 2023 Interim

Final Rule addressed the Department of State's decision to allow

Responsible Officers and Alternate Responsible Officers (collectively,

Officers) to sign Forms DS-2019 with ``digital'' signature software as

opposed to the broader category of ``electronic'' signature software,

of which digital is a subset. These parties offered the following

reasons in support of their requests that the Department of State allow

electronic signatures: (1) the definition of ``digital software'' in

the 2023 Interim Final Rule is too vague for sponsors to know whether

their software selections meet regulatory requirements; (2) the

cryptographical requirements of digital software increase costs and

burdens; (3) the vetting of Officers and their limited access to the

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) already provide

a high level of security; (4) wet-signed, printed, scanned, and

converted-to-portable document format (pdf) Forms DS-2019 are no more

or less secure than those signed with electronic signature software and

electronically transmitted; (5) it is cumbersome and costly for

sponsors with J and F programs to have two operating procedures; (6)

the Department of State already accepts electronic signatures on the

U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS's) Forms I-20 (Certificate

of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status); and (7) the variety of

printed Forms DS-2019 (given different signature, printing, and paper

options) may confuse U.S. Government authorities who grant J visas,

determine admissibility and entry into the United States, or otherwise

review Forms DS-2019. The Department of State considered many of these

factors when it originally decided to require the higher level of

security that digital signatures offer, and it continues to believe

that the benefits of such security overcome the concerns of commenting

parties. It addresses each issue individually as follows:

Definition of digital signature. Seven commenting parties expressed

confusion over the Department of State's definition of ``digital

signature.'' Sponsors can utilize any digital signature software that

is an application of technology for cryptographically derived

signatures that is supported by a process such as a public key

infrastructure and that ensures meaningful authentication of the

identity of the signer and integrity of the document. Two examples are

DocuSign[supreg] and Adobe Acrobat[supreg] Sign, and there are numerous

other examples of digital signature technologies with which the public

may be familiar. In response to questions from commenting parties, the

Department of State identifies some examples of signatures that are not

considered digital for purposes of regulatory compliance: copied and

pasted signatures, signatures drawn via computer mouse, and typed

signatures. The Department of State continues to believe that sponsors

may consult either internal or external information technology experts

who can

[[Page 30269]]

readily confirm whether a particular software package offers the degree

of security necessary to differentiate digital signatures from other

types of electronic signatures, thereby meeting the new regulatory

requirements.

Increased costs and burdens. Nine commenting parties opined that

the implementation of digital signature software would be costly and

burdensome. The cost and complexity of implementing digital signature

capability varies within the sponsor community, based on many factors.

Some sponsors may find that it is not cost effective to implement

digital signature capability, and they may opt instead to continue with

business as usual (using wet signatures). Other sponsors may have

already implemented such capacity, allowing them to benefit from

reduced costs and burdens. By retaining the current methodologies while

introducing new options, the Department of State allows those sponsors

that do not wish to incur different costs or new burdens to maintain

their current operating procedures.

SEVIS access vetting provides sufficient security. One commenting

party stated that digital signatures were unnecessary since sufficient

security was provided by vetting Officers and requiring passwords to

access SEVIS. However, the process of signing and transmitting Forms

DS-2019 occurs outside of SEVIS, making credentialed access to SEVIS an

insufficient protection for these two functions.

Comparability of Electronic Signatures and Wet-Signed and Scanned

Signatures. Four commenting parties opined that wet-signed, printed,

scanned, and converted-to-pdf Forms DS-2019 offer similar security as

electronically signed and transmitted Forms DS-2019s. The Department of

State respectfully disagrees. If a fraud investigation involved a Form

DS-2019, the form would likely be returned to the sponsor to determine

whether a signature was legitimate. At the very least, wet-signed

documents--whether transmitted electronically or via mail--bear

signatures that are exclusive to a limited group of authorized and

vetted signatories. Although wet-signed signatures may be copied,

Officers can attest to the authenticity of their signatures and/or

whether they recall processing and signing forms that others may

suspect are fraudulent.

Visual review of forms signed with most electronic software,

however, would not offer any clues as to their legitimacy since most

electronic signatures lack both the personalization of wet signatures

and the encrypted traceability of digital signatures. For example,

electronic signatures may be typed names, typed names in italics, or a

signature made with a computer mouse, representations that are

difficult to verify as to their source. Further, the volume of forms

some Officers process would reduce the likelihood that they could

recognize a form as one that they, a coworker, or former employee

signed electronically.

Different treatment of Forms DS-2019 and Forms I-20 increases

burden and cost. Nine commenting parties expressed concern that having

to process Forms DS-2019 differently than Forms I-20 would increase

their burden and cost. Sponsors that processed both Forms DS-2019 and

Forms I-20 prior to publication of the 2023 Interim Final Rule already

followed two separate processes. Since sponsors may continue to print

and wet-sign Forms DS-2019, implementation of digital signature

software does not disrupt the status quo. That is, sponsors can

continue to conduct two processes, and they are not required to adopt a

potentially more costly alternative. Moreover, those sponsors that wish

to continue wet-signing Forms DS-2019 may now avail themselves of the

cost- and time-saving electronic transmission of such forms.

Department of State already accepts electronically signed Forms I-

  1. Eight commenting parties stated that there was no reason for the

Department of State to use a different signing process than DHS

requires for Forms I-20. The Department of State and DHS have always

independently assessed the risks associated with their respective

international exchange programs, and whether electronic signatures

offer sufficient security for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program

(SEVP) has no bearing on the security requirements for Forms DS-2019.

The Department of State has promulgated specific regulations for the

Exchange Visitor Program based on its assessment of the risks

associated with the Program that may not apply to all SEVP activities.

In their comments, many sponsors sought the capability to transmit

Forms DS-2019 electronically to third parties acting on their behalf,

citing the important role third parties play in their exchange

programs. Although the Department of State continues to prohibit this

activity, it has modified the regulations at 22 CFR 62.12(c)(3) to

allow sponsors to permit third parties to retrieve copies of digital

Forms DS-2019 directly from sponsors' password-protected computer

networks and databases, at the sponsors' discretion. It is the

Department of State's understanding that the SEVP model does not

similarly engage foreign third parties, thereby significantly reducing

the need to ensure protection and authenticity of their forms.

Another difference between SEVP activities (for F or M visa

classifications) and the Exchange Visitor Program involves the

locations at which students and exchange visitors are placed. For

example, except for F-1 students placed off-campus, e.g., to obtain

practical work experience, participants entering the United States on

F-visas are placed exclusively at SEVP-certified academic institutions.

However, sponsors in the Private Sector categories of the Exchange

Visitor Program (with approximately 200,000 exchange visitors starting

new programs each year) for the most part do not similarly place their

exchange visitors at their own locations. Non-academic sponsors place

exchange visitors at tens of thousands of different private businesses

or other organizations that the Department of State does not vet. The

sheer number, variety, and location of such placements present greater

opportunities for fraud than do placements at a finite number of

certified academic institutions. These different levels of risk justify

different levels of security.

Different signatures and looks of Forms DS-2019 may confuse

authorities. Four commenting parties expressed concern that the variety

of physical forms and signature types could confuse U.S. Customs and

Border agents, Social Security Administration officials, or even

consular officers at U.S. embassies or consulates. Prior to publishing

the 2023 Interim Final Rule, the Department of State alerted those

entities that routinely process or review Forms DS-2019 of the upcoming

regulatory changes. Moreover, in recent consultation with the

Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, the Office of Private

Sector Exchange confirmed that confusion has been minimal. Going

forward, the Department of State is prepared to address any instances

of confusion (e.g., turnarounds at ports of entry) should they

materialize.

The Department of State has promulgated specific regulations for

the Exchange Visitor Program based on its assessment of the risks

associated with the Program that may not apply to SEVP activities. For

example, after the implementation of SEVIS in 2002, the Department of

State required Officers to wet-sign Forms DS-2019 in blue ink to

differentiate original documents from forgers. The Department of State,

therefore, confirms its decision to permit the more secure digital

software,

[[Page 30270]]

but not generic electronic signature software.

Transmission of Forms DS-2019

The second most frequently raised concern with the 2023 Interim

Final Rule is the limitation on the third parties to which sponsors may

electronically transmit Forms DS-2019. Ten parties objected to the

exclusion of third parties (as defined in 22 CFR 62.2) of sponsors from

the enumerated list of authorized recipients of electronically

transmitted forms. Parties generally indicated that the visa interview

process is facilitated by providing Forms DS-2019 directly to foreign

third parties who perform the critical functions of checking forms for

accuracy, helping schedule group interviews, and forwarding batches of

Forms DS-2019 to consular sections at posts.

First, the Department of State clarifies that only individuals who

are employees of a sponsor are considered ``staff'' for purposes of 22

CFR 62.12(c)(1). Staff at institutions that are designated sponsors are

not third parties, and third parties are not considered sponsor staff.

Two parties also questioned whether they could copy third parties when

they transmit Forms DS-2019 electronically to members of the Department

of State's list of acceptable recipients. Since parties receive

electronic transmissions regardless of whether they are listed in the

``to'' line or the ``cc'' line of an email message, sponsors may not

copy any entities that are not enumerated in 22 CFR 62.12(c)(1).

Five commenting parties asked whether sponsors could provide third

parties with password-protected access to their computer network

systems and/or databases to allow them to log on to access electronic

Forms DS-2019. The Department of State believes that such credentialed

access provides a degree of security not available through emailing

electronic Forms DS-2019. There are millions of email accounts world-

wide as opposed to the small number of third parties to which sponsors

would opt to grant network access. The risk of someone gaining

inappropriate access to Forms DS-2019 is significantly minimized by

restricting access in this way. Accordingly, the Department of State

has modified the regulations at 22 CFR 62.12(c)(3) to permit this

functionality. As a point of clarification, it notes that for purposes

of these regulations, electronic transmission is limited to sponsor-

initiated sending of files to individuals or entities, including

exchange visitors. Prior to making Forms DS-2019 available for third

parties to retrieve, sponsors must either wet sign and convert forms to

electronic files or sign the forms with digital signatures since 22 CFR

62.12(b)(2)(i) continues to allow only Officers present in the United

States or a U.S. territory to sign Forms DS-2019. The Department of

State further reminds sponsors that even in a digital environment,

there is only one ``original'' Form DS-2019. If sponsors allow third

parties to retrieve Forms DS-2019 from sponsor network systems and/or

databases, they must not also mail or electronically transmit the same

forms to individuals or entities listed in Sec. 62.12(c)(1). The

Department of State has added regulatory language at 22 CFR 62.12(c)(4)

to prohibit sponsors from issuing multiple copies of original Forms DS-

2019.

For those sponsors that lack the capacity to give third parties

password-protected access to their computer network systems and/or

databases or do not wish to provide such access, the Department of

State reminds them that they may continue to wet-sign Forms DS-2019 and

send paper forms to third parties pursuant to 22 CFR 62.12(c)(2).

Other parties expressed concern that Exchange Visitor Program

applicants may not have access to email and/or printing facilities. For

applicants without email access, sponsors may continue to mail paper

forms to applicants and/or to third parties. For applicants without

printers at home, the Department of State notes that schools,

libraries, and businesses often have printing capabilities that third

parties may access for a minimal fee. Nothing in the regulations

prohibits exchange visitors from, e.g., emailing Forms DS-2019 to other

places, such as offices or friends' homes, for printing. The Department

of State believes that these alternatives are sufficient so as not to

disrupt the role that third parties play in assisting sponsors and

exchange visitors with the visa interview process.

Miscellaneous Comments

Five parties asked for clarification on how the 2023 Interim Final

Rule changes the process of providing travel signatures on Forms DS-

  1. The new regulations provide flexibility for signing and

transmitting Forms DS-2019 to approve travel. First, sponsors may

either reprint Forms DS-2019, sign the travel signature space with any

color of ink, and send them to exchange visitors using a delivery

service; or convert Forms DS-2019 to electronic files and transmit them

electronically. Alternatively, Officers may sign the travel signature

space of Forms DS-2019 using a digital signature and either transmit

them electronically or print them and send them via delivery service.

Sponsors that approve travel should advise exchange visitors to carry

both Forms DS-2019 when they leave the United States, i.e., the

original paper forms and the subsequently issued forms with the travel

authorization signature. Parties also questioned whether they should

sign reprinted Forms DS-2019 or have exchange visitors send their

original Forms DS-2019 or electronic versions of the forms back to

their sponsors for processing. The Department of State clarifies that

all these options are available to sponsors.

Several parties asked how the new regulations impact use of the

``reprint'' function in SEVIS, noting that sponsors cannot prohibit

exchange visitors from reprinting the Forms DS-2019 their sponsors

provide. Although the Department of State agrees that sponsors cannot

effectively monitor whether exchange visitors reprint or copy Forms DS-

2019, the Department of State urges sponsors to advise exchange

visitors whose Forms DS-2019 are lost, stolen, or damaged to contact

their sponsors and ask for new forms. Sponsors must not electronically

transmit or print previously issued Forms DS-2019, but rather, they

must use the reprint function in SEVIS and send the new forms

(electronically or via mail) to the exchange visitor and/or their

accompanying spouse or dependents, if any. On a related matter, two

sponsors sought clarification on what sponsors should do if former

exchange visitors request copies of their Forms DS-2019 after their

programs are over. Since the reprint function is available only for

SEVIS records in ``initial'' and ``active'' status, sponsors should

inform current exchange visitors of this limitation and encourage them

to safeguard their original paperwork.

In the supplemental section of the 2023 Interim Final Rule, the

Department of State indicated that it would eliminate the phrase ``or a

change in actual and current U.S. address'' from 22 CFR

62.12(a)(3)(vii) because this example was not a valid reason to issue

Forms DS-2019. In response to one party's comment that the Department

of State did not make this change in the regulatory text, the

Department of State now corrects this oversight by deleting the phrase

in this final rule.

The 2023 Interim Final Rule eliminated the requirement that

Officers who wish to continue to wet-sign paper Forms DS-2019 use only

blue ink. In response to one commenting party's request for

clarification, the Department of State confirms that it has eliminated

the requirement that Officers sign Forms DS-2019 in any specific color

of ink.

[[Page 30271]]

The introduction of electronic Forms DS-2019 and the potential for

the varying physical appearance of printed forms raised questions about

exchange visitor signature requirements and signature requirements on

other official Department of State forms. Four parties questioned

whether the 2023 Interim Final Rule had any impact on signature

requirements for, e.g., Forms DS-7002 (Training/Internship Placement

Plan). The Department of State clarifies that the Exchange Visitor

Program regulations have never required other forms to be signed in a

particular color of ink and then distributed via mail delivery service.

The requirements set forth in the final rule apply only to Forms DS-

  1. One commenting party asked whether exchange visitors were

required to sign Forms DS-2019 in ink and another noted that the

regulations were silent on whether exchange visitors could transmit

Forms DS-2019 electronically. The Department of State notes that this

final rule regulates actions of designated sponsors, not exchange

visitors.

The addition of electronic Forms DS-2019 has raised other similar

issues. Four parties sought clarification with respect to whether the

requirement at 22 CFR 62.10(g) that sponsors retain copies of records

related to their exchange visitor programs for three years referred to

paper or electronic files. Regulations governing the retention of

records do not specify the format in which sponsors are required to

retain records, leaving it up to sponsors to determine whether they

wish to retain paper, electronic, or both paper and electronic records.

Electronic records should reflect any changes during the program and be

consistent with the information in SEVIS, e.g., exchange visitors'

program dates or visa status.

Regulatory Analysis and Notices

Administrative Procedure Act

This final rule responds to public comments received on the 2023

Interim Final Rule and makes minor revisions to the provisions on the

control of DS-2019 forms in 22 CFR 62.12. For the reasons set forth in

the 2023 Interim Final Rule, the Department of State does not believe 5

U.S.C. 553(b) or (c) apply to this rulemaking.

Congressional Review Act

This regulation is not a major rule as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804.

This rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100

million or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or significant

adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity,

innovation, or on the ability of U.S.-based companies to compete with

U.S.-based companies in domestic and export markets.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

This regulation will not result in the expenditure by State, local

or Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of

$100 million in any year, and it will not significantly or uniquely

affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary

under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2

U.S.C. 1501 et seq.).

Executive Order 13175--Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal

Governments

The Department of State has determined that this regulation will

not have Tribal implications; will not impose substantial direct

compliance costs on Indian Tribal governments; and will not preempt

Tribal law. Accordingly, the requirements of Executive Order 13175 do

not apply to this rulemaking.

Regulatory Flexibility Act: Small Business Impacts

Since this rule is exempt from section 553 (Rulemaking) and section

554 (Adjudications) of the Administrative Procedure Act, this rule is

not subject to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.

(1980)).

Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 14094

The Department of State has reviewed this rule to ensure its

consistency with the regulatory philosophy and principles set forth in

Executive Order 12866, as amended by Executive Order 14094, and

Executive Order 13563, and affirms that this regulation is consistent

with the guidance therein. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

has designated this rule as not significant under E.O. 12866.

Executive Order 12988

The Department of State has reviewed this rulemaking considering

sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 to eliminate

ambiguity, minimize litigation, establish clear legal standards, and

reduce burdens.

Executive Orders 12372 and 13132--Federalism

The Department of State finds that this regulation does not have

sufficient federalism implications to require consultations or warrant

the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This rulemaking relates to OMB Control No. 1405-0119, Certificate

of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (J-Nonimmigrant). The

Department of State does not anticipate a reportable change in burden

for this information collection as a result of this rulemaking.

List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 62

Cultural exchange programs, Reporting and recordkeeping

requirements.

For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Department of State

amends 22 CFR part 62 as follows:

PART 62--EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM

0

  1. The authority citation to part 62 continues to read as follows:

Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(J), 1182, 1184, 1258; 22 U.S.C.

1431 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 2451 et seq.; 22 U.S.C. 2651a; 22 U.S.C.

6531-6553; Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1977, 42 FR 62461, 3 CFR

1977 Comp. p. 200; E.O. 12048, 43 FR 13361, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p.

168; 8 U.S.C. 1372; section 416 of Pub. L. 107-56, 115 Stat. 354 (8

U.S.C. 1372 note); and 8 U.S.C. 1761-1762.

0

  1. Revise Sec. 62.12 to read as follows:

Sec. 62.12 Control of Forms DS-2019.

(a) Issuance of Forms DS-2019. Sponsors must:

(1) Grant access to SEVIS only to Responsible Officers and

Alternate Responsible Officers and ensure that they have access to and

use SEVIS to update required information;

(2) Ensure that Responsible Officers and Alternate Responsible

Officers input into SEVIS accurate, current, and updated information in

accordance with these regulations; and

(3) Issue Forms DS-2019 only for the following purposes if

permitted by the regulations and, as necessary, authorized by the

Department of State:

(i) To facilitate the initial entry of exchange visitors and

accompanying spouses and dependents, if any, into the United States;

(ii) To extend the duration of participation of exchange visitors;

(iii) To facilitate program transfers;

(iv) To replace lost, stolen, or damaged Forms DS-2019;

(v) To facilitate the re-entry into the United States of exchange

visitors and accompanying spouses and dependents, if any, who travel

outside the United States during exchange visitors' programs;

(vi) To facilitate changes of category;

(vii) To update information when significant changes take place in

regard to exchange visitors' programs (e.g.,

[[Page 30272]]

substantial changes in funding or changes in primary sites of

activity);

(viii) To facilitate the correction of minor or technical

infractions; and

(ix) To facilitate a reinstatement or reinstatement update SEVIS

status.

(b) Verification. (1) Prior to issuing Forms DS-2019, sponsors must

verify that prospective exchange visitors:

(i) Are eligible for, qualified for, and accepted into the programs

in which they will participate;

(ii) Possess adequate financial resources to participate in and

complete their exchange visitor programs; and

(iii) Possess adequate financial resources to support accompanying

spouses and dependents, if any.

(2) Sponsors must ensure that:

(i) Only Responsible Officers or Alternate Responsible Officers who

are physically present in the United States or in a U.S. territory may

sign Forms DS-2019 or print original Forms DS-2019;

(ii) Only Responsible Officers or Alternate Responsible Officers

whose names are printed on Forms DS-2019 are permitted to sign the

forms; and

(iii) Responsible Officers or Alternate Responsible Officers sign

paper Forms DS-2019 in ink or sign Forms DS-2019 using digital

signature software.

(c) Transmission of Forms DS-2019. (1) Sponsors may transmit Forms

DS-2019 either electronically (e.g., via email) or by mailing them

(e.g., via postal or delivery service) to only the following

individuals or entities: exchange visitors; accompanying spouses and

dependents, if any; legal guardians of minor exchange visitors; sponsor

staff; Fulbright Commissions and their staff; and Federal, State, or

local government agencies or departments.

(2) Sponsors may mail signed paper Forms DS-2019 via postal or

delivery service to third parties acting on their behalf for

distribution to prospective exchange visitors.

(3) Sponsors may provide third parties acting on their behalf with

password-protected access to the sponsors' computer network systems

and/or databases to retrieve Forms DS-2019.

(4) Sponsors that allow third parties to retrieve Forms DS-2019

from their computer networks and/or databases may not electronically

transmit or physically mail the same Forms DS-2019 to individuals or

entities identified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

(d) Allotment requests. (1) Annual Form DS-2019 allotment. Sponsors

must submit an electronic request via SEVIS to the Department of State

for an annual allotment of Forms DS-2019 based on the annual reporting

cycle (e.g., academic, calendar, or fiscal year) stated in their letter

of designation or redesignation. The Department of State has sole

discretion to determine the number of Forms DS-2019 it will issue to

sponsors.

(2) Expansion of program. Requests for program expansion must

include information such as, but not limited to, the justification for

and source of program growth, staff increases, confirmation of

adequately trained employees, noted programmatic successes, current

financial information, additional overseas affiliates, additional

third-party entities, explanations of how the sponsor will accommodate

the anticipated program growth, and any other information the

Department of State may request. The Department of State will take into

consideration the current size of a sponsor's programs and the

projected expansion of their programs in the next 12 months and may

consult with the Responsible Officer and/or Alternate Responsible

Officers prior to determining the number of Forms DS-2019 it will

issue.

(e) Safeguards and controls.

(1) Responsible Officers and Alternate Responsible Officers must

always secure their SEVIS User Names and passwords (i.e., not share

User Names and passwords with any other person or not permit access to

and use of SEVIS by any person).

(2) Sponsors may transmit Forms DS-2019 only to the parties listed

in paragraph (c) of this section. However, sponsors must transmit Forms

DS-2019 to the Department of State or the Department of Homeland

Security upon request.

(3) Sponsors must use the reprint function in SEVIS when exchange

visitors' Forms DS-2019 are lost, stolen, or damaged, regardless of

whether they are transmitting forms electronically or mailing them.

(4) Sponsors must destroy any damaged and/or unusable Forms DS-2019

(e.g., forms with errors or forms damaged by a printer).

Rebecca Pasini,

Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Private Sector Exchange, Bureau

of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

[FR Doc. 2024-08602 Filed 4-22-24; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4710-05-P