Wry Exchange

30 Days to Go
06-01-09, 12:12 am
Filed under: Exchange Program | Tags: , , ,

 One month to go until my program has a new leader.   I hope we make it.  That’s not hyperbole, either.   Every time I think we hit rock bottom, we go deeper. 

The latest disaster is losing our program’s State Department certification.   I was too upset to write about it, or blog about anything.  It’s taken care of now, but it was a nerve-wracking few weeks.  

Our current President didn’t send in the re-certification paperwork.  It’s the government; how many reminders do they send out?  She’s been trying to kill this program, and almost succeeded this time.  The State Department employee in charge sent out one final reminder that we lost our certification a month earlier to several people, not just our President.  That’s the only way we found out-by accident.

Can you imagine being so vindictive?  We wouldn’t be able to host the 30 incoming exchange students.  The State Department wouldn’t issue DS-2019’s to those kids if they weren’t coming with a ‘real’ program.

The CSIET paperwork wasn’t completed in time, so the kids can’t play sports again this year.  We haven’t had an audit since she took over, either.   She’s not going out gracefully.  She’s not doing anything, not coming to meetings, but not sharing any information.  30 days to go…


I’m ba-ack & DS2019
07-27-08, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Exchange Students, Home, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags: , ,

 I didn’t go anywhere, I just haven’t had anything to say.  That’s never stopped me in the past, so I’ll discipline myself to write 5 posts a week.  I spent too much time building up my blog to let it slide.  Bad, lazy Wry.   Before I left to chaperone in June, I averaged over 160 daily views.  I’ve lost a lot in this last month, and it ends tonight.  If you’re reading this, THANK YOU for still peeking in on me.

I have seven students coming from Bolivia and Chile that I’ll be responsible for this year.  They should be here in two weeks, but won’t.  All of their paperwork is late.  Only one 2019 has been mailed. (Actually FedEx’d, over $50.00)  The kids need their 2019’s entered into the system to even set an appointment at the US Consulate in La Paz or Santiago.  They must appear in person in the capital city for an interview.  The interview is typically a formality for well-qualified students, but longtime readers will remember the nightmare I had last year with the ‘soft refusal.’   Suffice to say, if a student is denied a Visa, start contacting both of your Senators, and as many House Reps as possible.  (Check out posts marked ‘Eli’ or ‘Visa denial.’)   Besides my students, we have an additional 20 students from around the world this year, including five Brasilians.  That means twelve Latinos.  It’ll be a fun year.   The last of this year’s students left today.

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SEVIS Fee Proposed Increase-Just say no!
04-28-08, 5:47 pm
Filed under: Exchange Program, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags:

  The US Department of Homeland Security wants to raise SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fees.  If you have time and inclination, please send them an email commenting against the proposed fee.  The fee currently is $100 USD.  On Oct 1, 2008 it will be increased to $180 USD.  This fee has to be paid before a student can obtain an interview for a visa.  That’s a very large increase, and difficult for many students to pay.  The fee increase is explained in PDF files on the homepage if you scroll down a bit.  The proposed rule is 94 pages long so I didn’t copy and paste it.

There are three parts to the non-immigrant student visa fee: the application fee, the issuance fee and the Sevis fee.  Visa issuance fees vary by country because of reciprocity.  This rule concerns the SEVIS fee.

Comments must be submitted on or before June 20, 2008.
You may submit comments, which must be identified by DHS docket number ICEB-2008-0004, using one of the following methods:
Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov  Follow the instructions for submitting comments.  You  may submit comments online through this website.
 Mail: Office of Policy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 425 I St., NW., Room 7257, Washington,DC 20536.
 Hand Delivery/Courier: The address for sending comments by hand delivery or courier is the same as that for submitting comments by mail.
Contact telephone number is (202) 514-8693.
Facsimile: Comments may be submitted by facsimile at (866) 466-5370.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Louis Farrell, Director, Student and Exchange Visitor Program; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,  Department of Homeland Security; Chester Arthur Building, 425 I St., NW., Suite 6034, Washington, DC 20536; telephone number (202) 305-2346. This is not a toll-free number. Program information can be found at http://www.ice.gov/sevis/.

3 Weeks Until the New Students Arrive & SEVIS
07-24-07, 7:51 pm
Filed under: Exchange Program, Inbounds Inbounds | Tags: ,

The new exchange students should be arriving in three weeks.  It’s wishful thinking to assume they’ll all be here on time.  I spent 4 hours driving paperwork around today, and will have another 3 hours tomorrow.  The students’ applications have been around for five months, but people wait until the very end to complete their papers.  It’s like this every year.   The high schools and sponsors have to complete forms, and then our program’s coordinator has to input everything into SEVIS for the US government.  I don’t think people realize the students can’t get an appointment for a Visa interview without their SEVIS identification number.  All students must appear in person at a US consulate for a Visa interview.  Thankfully, they receive their Visas the same day or within a few days. SEVIS is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.  Exchange student programs used to be under the State Department, but now Homeland Security takes responsibility.  The students are entered into the system, and SEVIS must be notified within ten days if a student moves.  The students pay for the cost of the program, $100.00 per student. 

From the SEVIS homepage-SEVIS is a web-based system for maintaining information on international students and exchange visitors in the United States.  SEVIS is administered by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), a division of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).   The mission of SEVIS is to balance homeland security with facilitating foreign student and exchange visitor participation in America’s outstanding academic and cultural exchange programs. http://www.ice.gov/sevis/