1. What is Exchange Visitors Program (EVP)?
The Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) is an international exchange program administered by the United States of America to implement the Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, as amended, Public Law 87-256, 22 USC 2451, et. Seq. (1988)
2. What is the purpose of EVP?
The EVP was established to strengthen the educational, scientific, and technological capabilities of the country through inter-country exchange of knowledge and expertise. It also provides non-US citizens with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the US and return home to share their acquired skills and knowledge. It is not an immigration program and in many cases requires participants to comply with a two-year home-country residency requirement after completing the program.
3. What is the EVP Committee?
The EVP Committee is composed of 11 member agencies and departments of the Philippine government. It coordinates the Philippine participation in the program and ensures that the participation redounds to Philippine development. The members are the Office of the President (OP), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO).
The CFO serves as the Secretariat of the Exchange Visitor Program Committee of the Philippines.
4. What is a Need for Training Certificate?
A Need for Training Certificate (NTC) is a certificate issued by the Philippine government to Filipinos who seek to undergo training in areas of specialization determined by appropriate agencies of the Philippines as needed by the country.
5. Who are required to attend the CFO pre-departure orientation for EVP participants?
All J1 visa holders are required to register with the CFO prior to departure. Part of the registration requirements is attendance in a Pre-departure Orientation Seminar. J2 visa holders or the spouse and minor (below 21 years of age) and unmarried children of EVP participants accompanying or following to join the participants in the US are NOT required to register with CFO.
6. What are the obligations of an exchange visitor?
An exchange visitor must secure an insurance that will cover the participant in case of sickness or accident during the period of training. An accompanying dependent is also required to be covered by insurance. He/she must engage only in the activity specified / listed on his / her DS 2019. Furthermore, exchange visitors are directed not to engage in unauthorized employment while under the program. An exchange visitor participant is also expected to return home and share his/her experiences with his/her fellow citizens.
6. a. What is a DS2019?
Formerly Form IAP-66, the DS 2019 or the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J1) Status, is a controlled document of the Department of State accomplished by the sponsoring institution of a particular exchange program and duly signed by the EVP participant and the Responsible Officer/Alternate Responsible Officer of the sponsoring institution. It contains all relevant information regarding an individual's participation in a particular exchange program and is one of the requirements in the application for a J1 visa.
7. What are the obligations of the sponsor?
The sponsor is required to ensure that the activity in which the visitor is engaged is consistent with the category and activity listed on his / her DS 2019.
8. What are the cases in which I have to secure a new DS2019?
A new DS2019 is needed if the participant will have a transfer of program/change of category and if the participant is allowed or required to have an extension of stay in his/her program in the US. Application for a new DS2019 should be made 2 months prior to the transfer of program/expiration of period of stay.
9. How long is an exchange visitor permitted to stay in the US after his/her program has ended?
The initial admission of an exchange visitor, spouse and children may not exceed the period specified on form DS2019, plus a period of 30 days for travel purposes.
10. What is the two-year home-country physical presence requirement?
Pursuant to Section 212(a) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act, EVP participants are required to reside in the country of their nationality or last legal permanent residence for an aggregate period of at least two years after completion of their respective programs before becoming eligible to apply for an immigrant visa or for non-immigrant visa.
The two-year home-country physical presence requirement also applies to the J2 dependent spouse or children of the EVP participant.
11. Who are the EVP participants that are subject to the two-year home-country physical presence requirement?
A. Those whose training were financed in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by an agency of the US government or by the Philippine Government;
B. Those whose training fields are included in the skills list of the Philippines; and
C. Those who came in the US in order to acquire graduate medical education or training.
12. Can an EVP participant continue to stay in the US beyond his/her training period?
An EVP participant can continue to stay in the USA if he/she is granted a change of status. The change of status always considers the two-year home-country residence requirement and will require its formal waiver, for which a No Objection Statement must be obtained from the government of the home-country of the participant.
An application for a waiver at the US Department of State may be approved on the following bases: Interest of a US government agency; fear of persecution; exceptional hardship; interests of the US Department of Health; or No Objection Statement.
13. What is the No Objection Statement?
The No Objection Statement is a formal indication from the Philippine government that it poses no objection to the continued stay of the EVP participant in the USA, or to the waiver of the two-year home-country residency requirement.
14. What are the requirements in applying for an NOS?
To apply for an NOS from the Philippine government, an EVP participant must submit the following to the EVP Committee Secretariat:
- Waiver Review File No. issued by the Waiver Review Division of the US Department of State;
- NOS application form (downloadable at www.cfo.gov.ph and also available at the Philippine Embassy or Consulate in the US and at the CFO);
- Certificate of Eligibility for exchange visitor participant (DS2019/IAP Form 66);
- Certificate of Completion or Certificate of Participation in an EVP Program;
- Original copy of clearance from former employer in the Philippines clearing the applicant from any financial accountability and contractual obligation;
- Proof of spouse's citizenship and certified true copy of marriage contract in case of applicants requesting for NOS by virtue of their marriage to a US citizen or a legal permanent resident of the US;
- Certified true copy of the birth certificate, in the case of applicants requesting for an NOS by virtue of having a minor child who is a US citizen residing in the United States; and
- Certificate from head/leader of religious denomination allowing the applicant's continued stay In the US.
If the reasons for applying do not fall within the criteria set for granting NOS, the applicant shall submit the following additional requirements:
- Curriculum vitae;
- Conditional letter of offer from the training institution in the US, and certification that the participant is of good standing; and
- Proof of income of the family being supported in the Philippines (Income Tax Return or Certificate of No Income from the Bureau of Internal Revenue or Certificate of Indigency from the barangay, whichever is applicable)
Please note that all documents issued by institutions in the US must be duly authenticated by the Philippine embassy or consulate which has jurisdiction over the NOS applicant's place of residence.
15. What is the address of the EVP Committee Secretariat?
The Commission on Filipinos Overseas is located at Citigold Center Bldg. 1345 President Quirino Avenue, corner President Osmeña Highway, Manila, 1007 Philippines.
16. What does the CFO do upon receipt of an application for an NOS?
Applications for an NOS received by the CFO are acknowledged and evaluated for completeness of requirements. The CFO informs the applicant of any documentary deficiency, otherwise, the application is forwarded to the EVP Committee for consideration. The CFO informs the NOS applicant of the Committee's decision on the application as soon as it becomes available.
17. What is the Exchange Visitor Program Skills List?
The EVP Skills List is a directory of skills which indicates the skills that are in short supply and therefore very much needed in countries participating in the EVP. Educational opportunities contained in the skills list are automatically covered by the two-year home-country physical presence requirement. Skills lists differ from one participating country to another.
18. Can an EVP participant whose field of specialization is included in the Skills List of the Philippines be issued an NOS?
EVP participants covered by the Skills List may be issued an NOS on a case-to-case basis and subject to the completion of an alternative skills transfer and training program for beneficiaries in the Philippines.
19. What is an Alternative Arrangement?
An Alternative Arrangement is a skills transfer/training and skills enhancement project proposed by an EVP participant and approved by the EVP Committee in lieu of the two-year home-country physical requirement. It is implemented to ensure that the objective of the program is not compromised by the decision of the participant to continue to stay in the USA. The alternative arrangement only applies to applicants whose reasons in applying for an NOS do not fall within the criteria set for the automatic granting of NOS. It requires the applicant to individually and personally undertake a project involving two components: 1. developing and implementing a transfer of technology project; and 2. sponsorship of a enhancement training for an identified beneficiary in his/her particular field of expertise.
20. What is the procedure for the issuance of an NOS?
- The NOS applicant submits his/her application documents to the EVP Secretariat.
- The EVP Secretariat reviews the application documents. If found complete, the application is referred to the EVP Committee members for consideration.
- The EVP Committee evaluates the merits of the application. After evaluation, the EVP Committee may offer the alternative arrangement in lieu of the two-year home-residency requirement, which shall require the EVP participant to undertake a project with two components involving (1) developing and implementing a transfer of technology project and (2) sponsorship of an enhancement training for an identified beneficiary in his/her particular field of expertise.
- Within 30 days from receipt of notification from the EVP Committee, the applicant initially submits a project proposal (2 copies) to the EVP Secretariat. Said proposal is forwarded to the EVP Committee member with jurisdiction on the applicant's field of expertise for technical evaluation. The applicant may be requested to revise his/her project proposal based on the recommendation/s of the member-agency.
- After the proposal has been approved in a technical review by the concerned member-agency, the applicant submits the final version of his/her proposal in two (2) copies to the EVP Secretariat for onward transmittal to the concerned member agency of the EVP Committee.
- The approved project proposal is covered by a memorandum of agreement to be signed by the applicant, the partner institution, and the representative of the EVP Committee to ensure commitment of the parties involved to implement the project. Prior to implementation, the applicant notifies the EVP Secretariat about the details of project implementation (i.e., dates, time and venue) for monitoring purposes.
- After the EVP Committee's approval of the project proposal, the EVP participant transfers the amount of One Thousand Five Hundred US Dollars (US$1,500.00) to the EVP Committee through the CFO's trust account as sponsorship for the enhancement training of an identified beneficiary in his/her particular field of expertise.
- The EVP participant personally implements the project. A representative from the EVP Committee monitors the progress of implementation.
- NOS applicant submits 3 copies of his/her terminal report together with 2 copies of project module. Said documents are the basis of the EVP Committee for the approval of the applicant's request for an NOS.
21. Is it possible to submit the complete package at one time, rather than doing it in stages?
EVP participants requesting for NOS must first submit their application documents to enable the EVP Committee to decide whether or not they may be offered alternative arrangement. NOS applicants are advised to wait for the decision of the EVP Committee and follow instructions carefully.
22. Can NOS applicants remit the NOS application fee of US$125 and the Enhancement Training Sponsorship of US$1,500 at the same time?
An NOS applicant may only deposit the US$1,500 for the Enhancement Training Sponsorship Project (second part of the alternative arrangement) after his/her project proposal has been approved by the EVP Committee.
23. What documents serve as proof of support for family members in the Philippines?
Income Tax Return or Certificate of No Income from the Bureau of Internal Revenue or Certificate of Indigency from the barangay may serve as proof of income of the family being supported in the Philippines.
24. What alternative document can an applicant provide in place of a Certificate of Clearance if he/she did not have an immediate employer in the Philippines prior to his/her departure to US?
The applicant may provide the CFO an Affidavit of Facts indicating that he/she was never employed in the Philippines prior to his/her training in the US.
25. Who initiates the Memorandum of Agreement on the project proposal?
The EVP Committee will provide an applicant with a Memorandum of Agreement together with the guidelines as soon as the NOS applicant has been advised by the EVP Committee to implement his/her project.
26. Can the case number or the waiver review file number from the US Department of State be submitted together with the terminal report?
The Waiver Review File number should be submitted along with the application documents for No Objection Statement.
27. What is the timeline for notifying the applicant that the project proposal submitted is already approved and the NOS applicant can already implement?
The agencies are given 10-15 days to evaluate the project proposal of an EVP participant offered the alternative arrangement, including the transmittal of the project proposal from the EVP Secretariat to agencies. The applicant will be informed immediately by the Secretariat of the agency's evaluation results.
28. Who is responsible for transmitting EVP Committee decisions on NOS application to the US Department of State?
The EVP Committee's endorsement of the No Objection Statement will be officially transmitted to the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D. C. via courier service. The Philippine Embassy will officially forward the said document on behalf of the Philippine Government to the US Department of State