Academic Personnel

July 18, 2019

Updates to J-1 Exchange Visitor Incident Reports from the Department of State

Many UW academic units host J-1 exchange visitors performing research, teaching, or other academic exchange activities. As the J-1 program sponsor, the University of Washington is required to report any “serious incident or controversy” involving a J-1 exchange visitor to the U.S. Department of State within one business day of learning about the incident.

The Department of State defines a “serious incident or controversy” as “any situation that have or could endanger the health, safety, or welfare of an exchange visitor or otherwise could be expected to bring the Department of State, the Exchange Visitor Program, or the sponsor’s exchange visitor program into notoriety or disrepute.”

Historically this has included

  • The death, disappearance, or serious injury or illness of the exchange visitor
  • Incidents involving the criminal justice system
  • Sexually-related incidents or abuse
  • Negative press involving the sponsor’s exchange visitor program
  • Incidents where a foreign government has become involved
  • Other situations impacting exchange visitor safety.

The Department of State recently updated this list to include

  • Lost or stolen immigration documents
  • Theft of intellectual property
  • Violation of export controls (that is, export of sensitive technology or information)

If you learn of any incident involving a J-1 exchange visitor that fits into the categories above or otherwise might qualify as a “serious incident or controversy”, please e-mail International Scholars Operations at acadvisa@uw.edu right away. This will ensure we meet our reporting obligations.