Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Updates


8 minutes

Updated: May 21st, 2020

InterExchange is closely monitoring news and expert guidance related to the coronavirus (“COVID-19”). The well-being of our participants, staff, host families and organizations is our top priority and we are taking pre-emptive steps to help ensure everyone’s safety and to plan for the continuity of our operations.

As this situation is evolving daily, it is important that we all stay informed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and World Health Organization (“WHO”) have published guidance that is continuously revised as more COVID-19 information is learned.

Travel into the U.S. has been significantly curtailed for non-residents. Following the suspension of entry into the United States for travelers who had been to the People’s Republic of China in the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. This policy has been extended to Schengen Area countries, as well as the UK and Ireland. Foreign governments have also begun instituting similar travel restrictions. For the latest updates on travel restrictions please consult embassy websites for official guidance. The U.S. Department of State has compiled country-specific information.

As of March 13th, InterExchange will be adhering to guidance from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) notifying private sector Exchange Visitor Program sponsors to suspend the arrival of exchange visitors over the next 60 days. We also encourage participants who are at the end of their programs to return home at the earliest possibility rather than take advantage of the 30-day travel period.

At this time, we strongly encourage all participants to follow official guidelines by self-isolating and limiting travel as much as possible in order to minimize exposure to COVID-19, as well as avoid future travel complications that may be imposed. For any planned travel, visit the State Department’s country-specific COVID-19 page as well as seek available information regarding advisories, travel restrictions and closures from authorities at the intended destination.

For all InterExchange participants currently in the U.S. who are planning to return home in the near future we encourage you to locate and refer to your Consulates and Embassies for guidance.

For all U.S. citizens on programs abroad please refer to the U.S. Embassy nearest to you.

Until further notice, the InterExchange office is not welcoming visitors. The Culture Desk has been suspended, and participants who seek travel validation signatures on DS-2019 Forms should contact their program directly via email or a phone call to make arrangements.

  • Au Pair USA

    Au Pair USA is continuing to monitor the situation occurring around the world regarding COVID-19. Our New York City Staff are working remotely in line with recommendations from the Governor’s and Mayor’s office. We are available for all normal business operations and you can reach us by calling our main line +1-800-287-2477. For after-hour emergencies, please contact +1-917-373-0717.

    Please note that in response to U.S. Department of State guidance in relation to COVID-19, all au pair arrivals are suspended from March 11th to May 10th. We regret any inconvenience this creates and are available to assist with rescheduling your au pair’s arrival.

  • Camp Counselor

    For the health, safety, and wellness of all participants, effective immediately InterExchange will not allow participants to arrive in the U.S. before June 15, 2020. Embassies remain closed and we do not know when they will resume normal operations. We expect significant delays to participant arrivals. We will continue to monitor the situation. If you have any questions please contact us or call +1-800-597-1722.

  • Summer Work Travel

    For Participants Who Are In The U.S.

    It is important that you contact your Consulate Embassy to let them know that you are in the U.S. and whether or not you have a confirmed flight home.

    InterExchange is strongly recommending that all participants make arrangements to return home as soon as possible. If you have already returned home or if you have changed your flights to go home, you must let InterExchange know. You can email us at worktravel@interexchange.org or call us at +1-800-621-1202.

    For Participants Who Are Applying/Still In Their Home Country

    For the health, safety, and wellness of all participants, effective immediately InterExchange will not allow participants to arrive in the U.S. before June 15, 2020. Following the guidance from the U.S. Department of State our current program pause remains in effect.

    InterExchange has paused the online matching system, all new job placements, job approvals and DS-form issuance until further notice.

    For Host Employers

    We have paused all placements and job approvals until further notice. For hosts who have participants in the country, we request all participants return home as soon as possible.

    We continue to monitor the situation. If you have any questions please email worktravel@interexchange.org or call +1-800-621-1202.

    For Summer 2019 and Winter 2019 Participants

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that the federal income tax filing and payment deadline has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

    This relief only applies to federal income returns but not state tax payments. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the federal filing deadline. The IRS urges taxpayers to check with their state tax agencies for those details.

    All exchange visitors who have received wages in the United States during 2019 must submit their tax return to the Internal Revenue Service. Read more about how to file taxes.

  • Programs for U.S. citizens

    New U.S. citizen applicants: In light of the U.S. Department of State Level 4 “Do Not Travel” Alert, we are not currently organizing any new placements with start dates before June 1st, 2020. We welcome applications for later programs. We’re closely monitoring the situation and will update our information accordingly.

    U.S. citizens currently on a program please reach out to your travel medical insurance provider and make sure you understand if coverage is offered for COVID-19. If you are considering returning home early and have questions please contact us or your in-country agency. While in country, please ensure you adhere to all local directives and refer to the U.S. Department of State resource page.

    U.S. citizens scheduled to return from abroad please be prepared for the possibility of heightened screening and rerouted flights. Please refer to the Department of Homeland Security’s recent press release.

    U.S. citizens with programs scheduled to start before June 1st we encourage you to reconsider travel and to speak with us about postponing your start date. If you are researching flights or other future travel arrangements please be extra diligent in reading the refund and cancellation policies for the airline or travel vendor. You might also consider trip cancellation insurance

  • Trainees and Interns

    For the health, safety, and wellness of all participants, effective immediately InterExchange will not allow participants to arrive in the U.S. until at least June 15, 2020. After this date, we will permit arrivals on a case-by-case basis if stay-at-home orders have been lifted for your host organization/city in the U.S. InterExchange will contact participants and hosts individually as we get closer to this date to discuss your program in more detail.

    Read the Career Training COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

    For any questions or concerns regarding a current program, please contact our Participant Services Coordinator, Abigail Graszl, at +1-917-305-5486 or at agraszl@interexchange.org.

    For applicants and hosts with questions regarding pending applications, please email the team member reviewing your application or message us through the chat icon at the bottom right-hand corner of our website.

    For all other inquiries, we can be reached during business hours (M - F, 9:30 am - 5:30 pm EDT) at +1-888-621-1202, training@interexchange.org, or through the chat icon at the bottom right-hand corner of our website.

Important Information and Resources

  • Our program participants are covered by medical insurance during their program. We encourage them to contact a doctor, urgent care facility or hospital if they experience any flu-like symptoms (fever, coughing, chills, etc.).
  • Participants within the U.S. can find their medical insurance information within InterExchange online resources. If you are a U.S. citizen participating in an outbound program, please consult your plan information.
  • Participants planning to travel outside of the U.S. during or after the program should visit the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Advisories
  • More information about the Coronavirus can be found at the U.S Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

Tips to Prevent the Spread of Respiratory Diseases

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or need help.

InterExchange Staff

InterExchange is proud to have an experienced team that is dedicated to international cultural exchange. We come from a variety of backgrounds, but nearly every member of our New York City-based staff has extensive experience traveling, working, or living abroad.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation