Report Serious Situations (J-1)

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Background on the J Exchange Visitor Program

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) initiated and administers the J Exchange Visitor Program. Columbia University, at both its Morningside and Medical Center campuses, is proud to host more than 2,700 J exchange visitor research scholars, professors, student interns visiting from home country institutions, and students enrolled in a Columbia degree program.

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Serious Situations

Both the Department of State and we at the university are concerned with the well-being and safety of our exchange visitors. We at the ISSO are here to assist the exchange visitor community with matters related to your J immigration status and the objectives that brought you to Columbia.

Although unlikely, if at any point an exchange visitor becomes involved in a serious situation, we encourage them to reach out to us for assistance.

Importantly, the same holds true for academic departments. We urge you to be alert to any severe or distressing incidents or situations that any of your students and scholars may experience and for which the ISSO should be made aware.

  • Serious Illness or Injury (e.g., brain injury, severe burn, major surgery, communicable disease, serious mental health incidents, any condition requiring hospitalization of 48 hours or more, etc.)
  • Missing Person
  • Death
  • Legal Issues (arrest, charges, law enforcement involvement, etc.)
  • Sexually-Related Incidents or Abuse (an incident or allegation involving sexual exploitation, harassment or abuse)
  • Negative interactions in the workplace, such as any type of discrimination
  • Other situations Impacting your visit or safety (e.g., natural disasters, civil unrest, outbreaks of violence)
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How to Report a Serious Situation

There are a few ways the exchange visitor or academic department may contact us:

We are always available to speak and assist in any way possible.

Special Note

In very serious situations, Columbia University, as a J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsor, may be obligated to report your situation to the Department of State. The DOS requires J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsors to report serious incidents involving J-1 students and scholars within 24 hours of an occurrence.

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Department of State Reporting Information

More information about the reporting process to the DOS:

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Contacting Other Offices