On June 22, 2020, President Trump announced the expansion of his April 22nd Proclamation 10014—suspending J-1 visas through the end of 2020. The Department is working with sponsors to individually address situations that involve minors (on the Secondary School Student program) who remain in the United States either involuntarily or by choice. 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They have not given any guidance on the recent lawsuit court order regarding opening of H1B, L1, J1 visa stampings. Travelers may be subject to entry restrictions or quarantined if they choose to travel to the United States. Tom Bradford 1,603 views. Sponsors and exchange visitors must be aware of each jurisdiction’s shelter-in-place (or similar) orders; working in violation of such orders is not acceptable. If your designation is up for renewal in the next couple months, please apply in SEVIS online before expiration. The Department (or Embassies) will resume routine visa services as soon as possible, but we are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Japan Visitor Hotline. (A) Yes, you can keep the SEVIS record in “active” status while the exchange visitor is back at home. Second, they should consult the Office of Private Sector Exchange’s website at. To be eligible for a potential interview waiver, the F, M, or J visa applicant's application must have been filed within 12 months of the expiration of his or her prior visa in the same category. Other conditions, criteria and requirements under the regulations remain in effect. If you adjusted the dates, to include shortening the program, we are recommending as a best practice that you issue a new DS-2019. Again, sponsors are strongly encouraged to document their decisions throughout this situation. The Department of State is currently working with the sponsor community to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all exchange visitors to the greatest extent possible, which may involve repatriating exchange visitors if it is safe and feasible to do so. Exchange visitors should be mindful of the validity dates of their J-1 visas; they may need to renew their visas before they return to the United States.”. Sponsors must advise exchange visitors that electronic versions of Form-DS-2019 cannot be used for formal processing. Thus, the regulations allow for the payment of tuition if the school, the sponsor, and those responsible for the student agree, but the payment of tuition is by no means a requirement of the Exchange Visitor Program. The Department of State has also temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide. Today’s technologies offer flexibility for use during the current health crisis that requires social distancing and, in many jurisdictions, compliance with stay-at-home or other health-related orders. As previously mentioned, if you make responsible decisions that keep the exchange visitors’ health, safety and welfare, as well as U.S. national security and foreign policy implications, at the forefront of your decision-making, then you can expect the Department’s support. Yes, if the program dates on the Form DS-2019 are still valid. The Department recognized that its decision to extend all programs based on program end date criteria would result in the reactivation of the records of certain exchange visitors who are no longer pursuing program objectives. Sponsors and their exchange visitors are also encouraged to review the following USCIS website detailing special situations for extensions and change of visa status, including those individuals subject to INA 212(e): Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement. We will work with you on collection of supporting materials. (A) First, review the regulations at 22 CFR 62.12 and the SEVIS RO/ARO Manuals for specific details on when to print a new Form DS-2019. I do suggest you record or document this event in the exchange visitor's file. Due to changing travel restrictions, exchange visitors should keep apprised of the latest travel restrictions before making a decision to travel. Check for flight status updates regularly as your flight date approaches. Update Dec 7, 2020 – US embassy in India says that interview appointments in Feb and Mar 2021 will be canceled as they have not yet opened for regular visa processing due to the COVID-19 situation. Your visa fee will remain valid and may be used for a visa appointment in the country where you paid within 1 year of payment. Visit travel.state.gov for up-to-date embassy information and travel restrictions. Having fallen earlier in the week, stocks in carriers including Ryanair, Lufthansa, and Aer Lingus owner IAG posted strong gains early on. No visa fee refunds are available at this time for those applicants who have not been able to schedule or cannot attend a visa interview due to a COVID-19-related closure. (A) Updates to OPA containing summaries of these incidents are helpful as we gather information on the impact to the programs. As the State Department has issued a Global Level 4 Travel Advisory, the suspension applies to ALL countries. For example, college/university student programs must generally take place "at a degree-granting post-secondary accredited academic institution" (2 CFR 62.23(a)); Teachers must teach "in an accredited primary or secondary school" (22 CFR 62.24(d)(5)); and Professors "must conduct their exchange activity at the site(s) of activity" although occasional lectures or consultations are allowable at other locations (22 CFR 62.20(f)). A reasonable, temporary modification for exigent circumstances beyond a sponsor's control would not undermine a program’s consistency with the regulations. Also, for host families that have not previously and successfully hosted for a sponsor, the Department recommends an additional level of approval (e.g., by a regional coordinator or headquarters staff) of the placement and the sufficiency of the technological substitution for in-person activities. Supermarkets are working round the clock and restricting purchases as they compete with panic-buying shoppers to keep their shelves full. Parents have been urged to avoid having children's play dates over the next two weeks as they could be silent spreaders of the new coronavirus. The Department understands that the COVID-19 situation has caused a major disruption in program participation. We are reviewing this on a daily basis. This policy reflects sponsor obligations to promote the health, safety and welfare of Exchange Visitor Program participants while at the same time meeting program objectives. In certain circumstances, a fee payment can be transferred to another SEVIS ID. The sites of activity will remain the same (since they will continue to be enrolled at the same institutions), but sponsors should note in remarks that the exchange visitors have returned to their home countries due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Public Law 94-484, as reflected at 22 CFR 62.27(b)(6), requires that alien physician applicants provide SoN letters from the governments of the countries of their most recent legal permanent residence. The health, safety, and welfare of exchange participants, and of the Americans with whom they interact, remains the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) highest priority," they told Independent.ie. The Department understands that the COVID-19 situation has caused a major disruption in program participation. In addition, § 62.25(f)(3) provides that "[u]nder no circumstance may a sponsor charge a student private school tuition if such arrangements are not finalized in writing prior to the issuance of Form DS-2019." ECA is aware some foreign governments are using such sites to provide assistance, including registering citizens who are seeking flights home. While these regulations do allow ECA to provide some flexibility in permitting a limited amount of distance learning, ECA reminds sponsors that the Exchange Visitor Program generally requires programs to foster the exchange of ideas between exchange visitors and their American counterparts. Sponsors must adhere to all other aspects of the vetting and monitoring requirements. (A) The most important thing to remember is the purpose of the DS-2019. "We do recognise that this information may change, and are continuing to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs, ECA and US Sponsors to keep everyone abreast of the latest information as we receive it.". We recommend that you keep SEVIS program dates updated and document their files with the unique circumstances. Please refer to ECA communication dated February 7, 2020, for guidance, specifically the section on exchange visitors currently inside the United States. For example, all family members residing in a home must be present for a virtual interview. Sponsors should document all such unique circumstances. As that guidance states, current exchange visitors may continue on programs that, as designed, fully complied with the regulations – including with regard to the number of hours to be worked – as long as the deviation is not excessive for the circumstances. A growing number of embassies are posting special communications on their websites and social media for their exchange visitors (students and others) in order to make contact with them. For example: Condition 8202 for Student visa holders requires the main applicant to be enrolled in a full time course and meet the requirements for enrolment, (i.e. An exchange visitor currently on an exchange program whose visa has expired and who does not plan to travel outside of the U.S. does not need to renew his or her visa. Please contact the Office of Private Sector Exchange Designation to discuss this option. attendance requirements) to meet their visa conditions. A nonimmigrant visa application fee receipt is valid to make an appointment one year from the date of payment. If your email address changes, update your Visa Appointment Service account. The J1 Visa programme has been suspended for 60 days. A US State Department Official said the exchange visitor program and the summer work travel category is not subject to the ECA-funded programme suspension, but recommends programme sponsors follow ECA's recommendation to postpone. Sponsors should be mindful of the program end date and can extend the program end date in SEVIS if the exchange visitor returns to complete the program. (A) Yes, we have had a lot of questions about COVID diagnoses and quarantines. Your sponsor organization is still the best point of contact to address this issue and we encourage you to follow their guidance. Expansion of Interview Waiver Eligibility. If the exchange visitor is no longer pursuing program objectives, the sponsor should use the shorten program function in This ends the exchange visitor's program and the SEVIS status will be "inactive." K Visa Processing Update Visa applicants can visit the website of the US embassy or consulate where they are applying for a visa for more specific information.". Sponsors who seek waiver of the five-participant minimum should cite the Covid-19 pandemic in requests for waiver and submit them to the Office of Private Sector Exchange Designation at. Lees wat de maatregelen tegen corona (COVID-19) betekenen voor uw reis naar of verblijf in Nederland. The regulations at 22 CFR § 62.8(a) give the Department the sole discretion to waive this requirement. For additional guidance, refer to ECA communication dated February 7, 2020, specifically the section on exchange visitors currently inside the United States. To try to respond to this we in ECA have stood up a Repatriation Working Group to try to assist sponsors with this difficult situation. Four healthcare workers are among the latest group of 20 people to be diagnosed with coronavirus. Such approval should be maintained in exchange visitors’ files. A temporary modification along these lines of a current exchange participant's program due to exigent circumstances beyond a sponsor’s or host entity’s control does not undermine the program’s original consistency with the regulations. However, the Department continues to permit sponsors to email copies of fully executed Forms DS-2019 to exchange visitors to reflect updated information in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (e.g., extended program end date, change of address). Dec 17, 2020 Immigrant Visa Processing Update. Previously approved applicants may delay their start date to participate in a program where the program as intended/designed complied with the regulations, provided that the delay is not excessive for the circumstances and that it occurred due to factors (like the current COVID-19 situation) outside of the sponsors’, hosts’, and exchange visitors’ control. Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) sponsors are reminded to continue to follow guidance that ECA/EC has posted at. Outside of … (A) Please know that we are fully aware of how this situation is causing financial distress on many sponsors. The SoN letter is a requirement that cannot be waived. Oct 1, 2020 National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from … As we work through this process we will keep you informed and work with you to try to resolve matters as they arise. This fee is nonrefundable and non-transferrable. Although the Exchange Visitor Program is not specifically subject to the ECA-funded program suspension, ECA strongly recommends that all Exchange Visitor Program private sector program sponsors follow ECA COVID-19 guidance, including postponing ALL program start dates for 60 days after March 12, 2020. If exchange visitors remain in homes long enough to require second home visits, having exchange visitors conduct virtual tours of their homes could fulfill the second home visit requirement. A visa fee is valid to make an appointment one year from the date of payment. Premium. USIT, which oversees the J1 process in Ireland, expects to know more early next week after it speaks to US authorities. Sponsors should document all such unique circumstances, and must continue to monitor exchange programs to ensure they meet program objectives to the fullest extent possible during this situation. Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) participants should contact their sponsor if they have any questions about the effects of COVID-19 on their EVP program. FAQ 2.10) My passport or other documents were requested following a visa interview before March 20, 2020. Court Order regarding Presidential Proclamation 10052. Yes. The recent Presidential Proclamation suspending or limiting entry for several non-immigrant visa types has impacted the cultural exchange program community, effectively preventing many 2020 CHI program participants from being able to apply for a J1 visa to join a program in the U.S. for the remainder of this year.. Generally, we are not in a position to waive the regulations or other laws that govern the Exchange Visitor Program, and further many of the requirements at issue are imposed separately by other agencies. (A) ECA understands that this is a difficult situation. Students planning to travel Stateside this summer are currently unaffected by the 60-day temporary pause which has been placed on J-1 visa programmes in response to coronavirus concerns. Please note, however, that sponsors must keep their designations current throughout any such a pause in program. If there’s been no change in the two addresses - they are still reporting to the same host placement, and the home address has not changed - then no changes need to be made in SEVIS. "The situation regarding COVID 19 continues to evolve rapidly. Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) regulations at 22 § CFR 62.8(a) require sponsors (other than federal government agencies) to have at least five active exchange visitors during the annual reporting cycle (e.g., academic, calendar, or fiscal year) stated in their individual letters of designation or redesignation. In the case of graduating students, sponsors may temporarily allow them to begin their Academic Training remotely to prevent unnecessary exposure to COVID-19 as long as the host organization is open and able to provide the training remotely. J-1 Exchange Visitor programs include au pairs, summer work travel, interns, high school and university student exchanges, physician exchanges and … Where commercial flights are unavailable or travel to a country is suspended, ECA refers sponsors and exchange visitors to the websites and social media sites of the embassy in the United States of the exchange visitor's home country. If you have an emergency, please consult the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you are applying for a visa for more information. Those who contact the Home Office for these visa extensions will be expected to return to their home countries as soon as possible once flight and border restrictions are lifted. State Department Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19), Exchange Visitor Program Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19), Get Updates on Exchange Programs and the Presidential Proclamation, Visa Exceptions to Presidential Proclamations Affecting J-1 Visas, https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-aliens-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-following-coronavirus-outbreak/, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/proclamation-suspending-entry-of-immigrants-and-nonimmigrants-who-present-risk-to-the-US-labor-market-during-the-economic-recovery-following-the-COVID-19-outbreak.html, 07.02.2020 Communication to Sponsors Presidential Proclamation, 06.27.2020 Communications to Sponsor 60 Day Extensions to Return to Countries with Closed Borders (PDF), 06.22.2020 Communication to Student Intern Sponsors Extensions for Time Off-Program, 05.29.2020 Communication to Sponsors 60 Day Extensions for Return to Countries with Closed Borders, 05.21.2020 Communication to Intern and Trainee Sponsors Extensions for Time Off-Program, 05.21.2020 Communication to Au Pair Sponsors Six Month Extensions for Second Year Au Pairs, 05.07.2020 Communication to Teacher Sponsors: One-year teacher extensions beyond the maximum duration, 4.06.2020 Communication to Secondary School Student Sponsors Q&As, 4.29.2020 Communication to Sponsors: Vetting Summer Placements, 4.02.2020 Two-Month Extension of Certain Program End Dates, 3.31.2020 Communication to Sponsors Travel Difficulty Embassy Outreach, 3.19.2020 Communication to Sponsors: Website Updates, 3.17.2020 Communication to Academic Sponsors: Online Programs Guidance, 3.16.2020 Communication to Sponsors: COVID-19 inquiries, 3.16.2020 Communication to Sponsors: SEVIS guidance during COVID-19, 3.13.2020 Communication to Sponsors: EVP Update on Travel, 3.11.2020 Communication to Sponsors: Exchange Visitor Program Sponsor Guidance, 3.6.2020 (2:27PM) Communication to Sponsors: Update on COVID-19—Additional Information, 3.6.2020 (9:49AM) Communication to Sponsors: Update on COVID-19, 2.7.2020 Communication to Sponsors: Coronavirus Update, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news.html, National Interest Exceptions for Certain Travelers from the Schengen Area, United Kingdom, and Ireland, Exceptions to Presidential Proclamations (10014 & 10052) Suspending the Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants Presenting a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/COVID-19-Country-Specific-Information.html, Common Questions for Host Families/Employers, Regulations and Compliance Administration, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Department acknowledges that the best way to meet sponsor obligations to protect the health, safety, and welfare of minor exchange visitors is, in some cases, to move them into new host family homes. (A) This is a very common question and one we are looking at very closely. September Updates on Covid-19: Bali's plan to open its tourism for If the SEVIS record is still active, you can amend the program end date and issue a new DS-2019. So we are closely reviewing this question. (A) This is not within the State Department’s control, so of course we would defer to DHS for any definitive statements. Nov 25, 2020 K Visa Processing Update. At this time, we do not have the capacity to answer all inquiries individually. In addition, our visa sections worldwide routinely expedite visa interviews for students and exchange visitors upon request if there is a compelling need to expedite visa processing. J1 2021 Programme We are open now for registrations for our 2021 J1 Work and Travel and Camp America programmes. It is also early to tell what the long-term impacts of the travel restrictions and quarantine period will have on the Program. Saudi Arabia Coronavirus update with statistics and graphs: total and new cases, deaths per day, mortality and recovery rates, current active cases, recoveries, trends and timeline. Because of the quickly developing situation, I've included advice and a template you can send to the relevant embassies to get more information. Emergency visa services will still be available on a case-by-case basis. Trump extends ban on J1 and other work visas until 2021 Updated / Tuesday, 23 Jun 2020 07:03 US President Donald Trump speaking at his campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday Therefore, the wait time for a student or exchange visitor is generally much shorter than the wait time for a B1/B2 applicant. For guidance on matters related to visa services, Presidential Proclamations (including those related to travel restrictions), and eligibility for NIEs, please refer to the website of the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) at. U.S. Citizens with emergencies, please call 691-320-2187 ext.2134 or 691-920-2369. Diversity Visa (DV-2020) Update. Sponsors and their exchange visitors are encouraged to review the following USCIS website detailing special situations for extensions and change of visa status, including those individuals subject to INA 212(e): Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement. Archive of posts categorized Coronavirus Updates in ECFMG News. Sponsors have the ability to end their exchange visitors’ programs early and begin the process of sending the exchange visitors home, whenever it is safe and feasible to do so. Visas that are currently valid will remain valid. Sponsors continue to be required to conduct character reference checks and criminal background checks, as specified in the regulations. (A) We refer you to ECA website guidance to sponsors dated March 16, 2020. Such letters must include written assurance, satisfactory to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that there is a need in those countries for persons with the skills the alien physicians seek to acquire. SoN letters must bear the seal of the concerned governments and be signed by a duly designated official of the governments. Staff are being asked to work from home and supermarket shelves across the country are being frantically emptied in preparation for the worst. 10:49. Of course, sponsors must continue to monitor exchange programs to ensure they meet program objectives to the fullest extent possible during this situation. The Department understands that conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic may make it difficult for some sponsors to meet this minimum program size requirement. Please note the situation is changing daily and the information below may be out of date by the time you're reading it. UPDATED ON 6/29/20 We share your concerns for everyone’s health, safety, and welfare as situation regarding COVID-19 rapidly evolves. Call for tourist information or assistance in the case of accidents and emergencies including COVID-19. "ECA strongly recommends that all sponsors of J-1 Visa exchange visitor programs take the steps that ECA is taking to address COVID-19-related concerns for ECA-funded exchange programs. You can extend the end date in SEVIS if the exchange visitor returns to complete the program. (A) We recognize this is a stressful, ever changing situation and we understand your concern. In the case of a College or University Student participating in Academic Training, for example, the regulations require that the student be primarily in the United States to study rather than to participate in Academic Training, that the Academic Training be directly related to his or her major field of study, that the student be in good academic standing with the post-secondary accredited academic institution; and the student receive written approval in advance from the responsible officer for the duration and type of academic training (22 CFR 62.23(f)).