Latest News on J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs & COVID-19


7 minutes

Updated: January 13, 2021

Latest News on J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs

The Proclamation issued by President Trump on December 31, 2020, extending the expiration of Proclamation 10052 (PP10052) from December 31, 2020 to March 31, 2021, does not alter the preliminary injunction order issued by District Court Judge Jeffrey White on October 1, 2020.

As a result, enrollment in InterExchange programs is open, and we continue welcoming Exchange Visitors to the United States.

InterExchange will be providing all participants with documentation that can be used at the time of their visa interview to demonstrate that they are not subject to PP 10052’s entry restrictions.

However, please keep in mind that the world has not yet recovered from COVID-19. Many consular sections at U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world are not yet able to operate at full capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic and unique in-country conditions. Please keep in contact with the U.S. Embassy to monitor updates to their visa appointments and policies. Please also monitor flight restrictions and flight availability. COVID-19 related travel restrictions are also being updated and we encourage you to monitor pre-flight requirements for testing and quarantining in departure, arrival and connection destinations.

InterExchange is in touch with Consular Affairs to assess current visa services protocols. We will keep you up to date as we learn more information. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us by program.

Current Participants in the U.S.

InterExchange participants who are currently in the U.S. are not affected by the proclamation and can continue their program. However, current participants in the U.S. who travel out of the country may become subject to the various travel restrictions currently in place.

Participants With a Valid J-1 Visa Outside the U.S.

  • InterExchange will be in touch with all participants to provide additional information and assistance on 2020 programs.
  • Please be aware that the decision to admit a traveler to the United States rests with the Department of Homeland Security / U.S. Customs and Border Protection and we are unable to advise visa holders on whether they will be granted admission.

INTEREXCHANGE OFFICE STATUS & CONTACT DETAILS

Our New York City Staff are working remotely in line with recommendations from the Governor’s and Mayor’s office. However, we are available for all normal business operations and you can reach us for help and assistance.

U.S. CITIZENS ON PROGRAMS ABROAD

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

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 the 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. Check for flight status updates regularly as your flight date approaches.

U.S. CONSULATES OVERSEAS

In July 2020, U.S. Embassies and Consulates began a phased resumption of routine visa services.

The resumption of routine visa services, prioritized after services to U.S. citizens, will occur on a post-by-post basis, consistent with the Department of State’s guidance for safely returning their workforce to Department facilities. U.S. Embassies and Consulates have continued to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services since March and will continue to do so as they are able. As post-specific conditions improve, missions will begin providing additional services, culminating eventually in a complete resumption of routine visa services.

We are unable to provide a specific date for when each mission will resume specific visa services, or when each mission will return to processing at pre-pandemic workload levels. See each U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s website for information regarding operating status and which services it is currently offering.

U.S. TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

International air travel is operating under restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These restrictions may pose significant challenges for participants when arranging their travel to and from the U.S.

In addition, flights arranged for participants are often indirect and result in layovers and transits through major airport hubs worldwide. These hubs may be subject to travel restrictions as well. Per the International Air Transport Association, passengers who have transited in the past 14 days through countries with U.S. travel restrictions in place, will not be allowed to enter the U.S.

Be aware that many U.S. states have their own travel and quarantine restrictions. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for the most up-to-date information.

Effective January 26, 2021: To reduce introduction and spread of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Order effective January 26, 2021. It requires all air passengers arriving to the U.S. from a foreign country to get tested for COVID-19 infection no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. For more information on this testing requirement, see the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions.

As of May 24, 2020: The U.S. government suspended entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, all aliens who were physically present within the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.

As of March 11, 2020: The U.S. government suspended entry into the United States of aliens who were physically present in any of the 26 countries that make up the Schengen Area. The restrictions apply to the United Kingdom and Ireland.

As of January 31, 2020: The U.S. government suspended entry into the United States of 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.

CDC QUARANTINE INFORMATION

The CDC recommends all travelers, including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, who have been in the Schengen Area, or any CDC Level 3 country (worldwide), in the last 14 days to self-quarantine for 14 days. Travelers should visit www.coronavirus.gov for more information for both domestic and international travel advice. The Department of Homeland Security will route travel through particular airports and passengers will undergo enhanced airport screening.

Important Information and Resources

  • Our program participants are covered by accident and sickness 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 accident and sickness insurance information within InterExchange online resources. If you are a U.S. citizen participating in an outbound program, please consult your plan information.
  • Follow CDC guidance if traveling within the U.S.
  • 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.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
    • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • 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 your hands are visibly dirty.
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
The International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange