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

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Updated September 23, 2021

The White House has announced that the United States will reopen in November to air travelers from 33 countries including China, Brazil and Europe who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, easing pandemic-related restrictions that were implemented in early 2020.

It is reported that international travelers will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling to the United States. Additionally, current requirements to provide a negative COVID-19 test before traveling are expected to continue for all travelers, regardless of vaccination status.

Additional updates about what vaccines will be accepted by the U.S. government and how these changes will impact BridgeUSA Program participants will be forthcoming.

Enrollment in InterExchange-sponsored BridgeUSA programs is open. 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 country-specific conditions. Travel restrictions are also being updated and we encourage you to monitor pre-flight requirements for testing and quarantining in departure, connection, and arrival destinations.

The situation is changing day-by-day and we encourage you to contact us by program, and to keep in contact with the U.S. Embassy in your home country to monitor updates to their visa services protocols and appointments.

Latest News on InterExchange Programs

Applications for the 2022 summer are now open, although several embassies continue to operate at a limited capacity. If you have any questions about participating in the Camp USA program for the 2022 summer, please email campusa@interexchange.org.

Read the Career Training COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

For any questions or concerns regarding a program already in progress in the U.S.

Please contact our Participant Services Coordinator, Abigail Graszl, at +1-917-305-5486 or via agraszl@interexchange.org.

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.

Current J-1 Exchange Visitors in the U.S.

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 2021 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.

Please contact workabroad@interexchange.org if you have any doubts regarding the entry requirements for your destination, and refer to the Department of State country-specific information.

Travel medical insurance is required for your program. Be sure you know the coverage inclusions pertaining to COVID-19, for example treatment or mandatory quarantine.

Take extra care to familiarize yourself with your airline’s cancellation policies. You may wish to purchase trip cancellation insurance.

U.S. citizens currently on a program abroad

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 traveling during your program and have questions please email workabroad@interexchange.org 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 mindful of re-entry requirements including testing (see testing requirements below). Be prepared for the possibility of heightened screening and check for flight status updates regularly as your flight date approaches.

Travel Information

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. Check each U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s website for information regarding operating status and which services it is currently offering.

International air travel is currently 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 that are indirect and result in layovers and transits through major airport hubs worldwide require additional diligence in reviewing any extra travel rules. 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.

As of May 4, 2021

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

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 January 25, 2021

The U.S. government suspended entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), the Republic of Ireland, and the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.

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.

Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is requiring that all travelers to the United States show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Below are the specific details related to this requirement:

  • The COVID-19 test must be performed during the three days preceding departure.

    • For example, if a traveler is scheduled to fly to the U.S. on June 30th, then they must have the COVID-19 test performed on either June 27th, 28th, or 29th.

    • They will need to bring the printed proof of the negative test result when they go to the airport on the 30th.

  • Travelers will have to provide a COVID-19 test result document to the airline when they check-in for their flight.

  • Travelers must also keep the test result document available throughout their travel and show it to any U.S. Government official who requests it.

  • The COVID-19 test must be a viral test, either an “antigen test” or “NAAT”.

  • The COVID-19 test will need to be the “rapid result” variety with the results likely determined in the testing facility rather than being sent to a laboratory.

Travelers who have had a positive COVID-19 viral test in the past 3 months, and have met the criteria to end isolation, may travel instead with documentation of the positive viral test results and a letter from a healthcare provider or a public health official that states they have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.”

Participants who already know their travel date should find a testing facility and schedule a test appointment as soon as possible. Participants are responsible for scheduling and paying for their COVID-19 test.

This requirement applies to all participants seeking to enter the U.S. regardless of whether they are entering for the first time or returning to continue their program after traveling internationally.

For more information about this recent order, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control website.

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.

For specific information on COVID-19 travel restrictions, guidance, and resources in your specific destination in the U.S., visit your State & Territorial Health Department website and use the CDC Travel Planner when planning your trip.

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.

Additional Information

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.

  • 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.

  • 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 unable to practice social distancing.
  • 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. CDC guidance should be followed even if you are vaccinated.
  • 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.

More information about the Coronavirus can be found at the U.S Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

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.

Learn about life abroad

Read about the adventures others have had and get excited for yours.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
The International Coalition for Global Education and Exchange
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation