The Department understands that the COVID-19 situation has caused a major disruption in program participation. For additional guidance, refer to ECA communication dated February 7, 2020, specifically the section on exchange visitors currently inside the United States. Yes. "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. 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. 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. Your sponsor is still the best point of contact to address this issue and we encourage you to follow their guidance. Some foreign governments are using these sites to provide information about assistance, including registering citizens who are seeking flights home. U.S. CONSULATES OVERSEAS The U.S. Department of State (see Future Programs, Updated 5/15/2020) , in response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, has temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. We continue to strongly recommend that private sector sponsors similarly follow the guidance for the indefinite pause. Thursday, 24 December 2020 | 1.4°C Dublin, Menu That statement urged EVP sponsors to follow the guidance issued for ECA-funded programs. (A) This question perfectly hits what needs to be accurate in SEVIS. Despite the challenges the suspension poses, CHI is proactive in supporting … Exchange visitors who return to renew their visas will generally not be permitted to return to the United States from one of these countries. As noted during the conference call with sponsors on March 27th, sponsors are advised to print Forms DS-2019, fully execute them with original signatures in blue ink, and transmit them in accordance with regulatory requirements if exchange visitors need Forms DS-2019 for formal processing. Coronavirus We received several similar questions from sponsors wondering if interns will still be eligible to participate if, for example, an intern will now be beyond one year of graduation when they are able to start their program. Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) operates a visitor hotline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Travelers may be subject to entry restrictions or quarantined if they choose to travel to the United States. Check for flight status updates regularly as your flight date approaches. 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. (A) We are aware that this is a growing issue. You may keep the SEVIS record active if the exchange visitor plans to return to the United States after the travel restrictions and quarantine period are lifted, to complete his/her exchange program. For example, the Department will allow both electronically signed SoN letters from Ministries of Health and SoN letters issued by foreign embassies in the United States, where the relevant countries have elected to authorize their embassies to provide these statements. Update on Public Charge. 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. 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. (A) Sponsors should consult with the host placements to seek alternative ways to maintain program objectives, while preventing unnecessary exposure to the disease and its spread. If an NIE is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate. Due to the recent outbreak we will be closely monitoring Coronavirus (COVID-19). She's from Peru, and here on a J-1 visa, which meant after a couple months of work, she would have a month to travel. 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." The longer this situation remains, the greater the risk to these programs, but we are not yet at a point where a decision would be made by the Department. The health, safety, and well-being of our international students, staff & faculty, and broader UW community are our priority. Where commercial flights are unavailable or travel to a country is suspended, ECA refers all 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. Some agents are able to do this. Presidential Proclamation 10052 - Frequently Asked Questions on J Visa Processing. 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. Please note the situation is changing daily and the information below may be out of date by the time you're reading it. Call for tourist information or assistance in the case of accidents and emergencies including COVID-19. Please refer to ECA communication dated March 16, 2020 for exchange visitor SEVIS records in Initial or Active status. Exchange visitors anticipating formal processing requirements should request their sponsors send them original Forms DS-2019. If your email address changes, update your Visa Appointment Service account. 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) This is a very common question and one we are looking at very closely. 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. Neil Lennon would expect Celtic to be declared Ladbrokes Premiership champions if the season is brought to a premature end due to the coronavirus crisis. Sponsors are strongly encouraged to document all such unique situations. Trinity College Dublin is encouraging students living in college accommodation to return home and offering them a partial refund. J-1 Exchange Visitor programs include au pairs, summer work travel, interns, high school and university student exchanges, physician exchanges and … 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)). 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. Comments by Sanwar Ali: The Trump US visa ban of June 22 has been partially lifted by a district judge, which should allow US visa processing to re-commence for many migrants. 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." If the exchange visitors were prepared to end their programs early and their travel arrangements are in place with no anticipated delays or restrictions, they should leave as originally planned. 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. Updates on Visa Processing. We will work with you on collection of supporting materials. In this situation, there is no need to wait another 60 days for the exchange visitors to go home. SoN letters must bear the seal of the concerned governments and be signed by a duly designated official of the governments. Annual report narratives should explain program highlights as well as difficulties, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In keeping with ECA's message on March 11, 2020 (https://j1visa.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/3.11.2020_Exchange-Visitor-Program-Sponsor-Guidance.pdf), ECA continues to ask sponsors and exchange visitors to consult with host organizations to find alternative ways to maintain program objectives, including online classes or other arrangements, while preventing unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State has temporarily suspended routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. 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). If the document is needed for either visa issuance or port of entry, the exchange visitor must have the original form - with your original signature in blue ink - on hand to apply for the visa or entry to the United States. Sponsors must also closely monitor the health, safety and welfare of each exchange visitor to determine if remaining on the exchange program is truly feasible. Yes, sponsors must extend the insurance coverage and fund it as they did during the exchange visitors’ initial programs. 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. UPDATED ON 6/29/20 We share your concerns for everyone’s health, safety, and welfare as situation regarding COVID-19 rapidly evolves. President Donald Trump summed it up pretty well in one of his more lucid moments sat alongside Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office on Thursday. Archive of posts categorized Coronavirus Updates in ECFMG News. ECA is aware some foreign governments are using such sites to provide assistance, including registering citizens who are seeking flights home. The US J-1 Exchange visitor visa is a relatively quick and easy way to bring in medical workers quickly into the US. However, sponsors should encourage exchange visitors to follow CDC guidance and consider health, safety, and welfare implications for travel at this time. Please review the guidance emailed to sponsors by the OPA teams for incident reporting criteria regarding COVID-19-related cases for specific categories. Outside of … 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. While the SSS regulations neither prohibit nor require the charging of tuition by host schools, either public or private, 22 C.F.R. (A) This is not within the State Department’s control, so of course we would defer to DHS for any definitive statements. However, should sponsors choose to continue programs in spite of the on-going pause of ECA-funded programs, the Department urges sponsors and program participants to fully consider the risks of international travel at this time and to be sensitive to the current level of unemployment in the United States. 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. Therefore, the wait time for a student or exchange visitor is generally much shorter than the wait time for a B1/B2 applicant. If your institution has moved to an online environment, please send to AGalert@state.gov a completed Incident Report Form, if you have not already done so. The guidance there applies to all categories that require a minimum of 32 hours, such as interns, trainees, and teachers. 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. Visit travel.state.gov for up-to-date embassy information and travel restrictions. The Department is updating FAQs this week to provide an updated link for any exchange visitor whose program has reached maximum duration and wishes to apply for change of status through the Department of Homeland Security. Any potential new exchange visitors (i.e., individuals currently in “initial” status in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)) may start their exchanges only if their programs and host academic institutions will be able to comply with regulatory requirements. 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This exception, that applies only to this unprecedented situation, will reduce the sponsors' burden of reprinting and transmitting original forms. § 62.25(f)(1)(ii) does require sponsors to secure "prior written acceptance for the enrollment of any exchange student in a United States public or private secondary school" which must include "written arrangements concerning the payment of tuition or waiver thereof if applicable." US Visa Travel Advisory for Coronavirus. Premium. International Student Services is deeply concerned about the current coronavirus outbreak and sincerely hope that you, your families, and your friends have not been directly impacted. As noted previously, you should review the program end date. When resumption of such programs is safe and practicable, the Department will consider sponsor requests for extensions beyond the maximum duration and will provide sponsors with additional guidance. More information on NIEs can be found at the following websites: The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to facilitate in-person exchanges. Sponsors should submit as much of a complete package as they can in support of an extension request, and ECA will work with them from there. Expansion of Interview Waiver Eligibility. Administration of the 2-year home residency requirement falls under the purview of the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. We recommend that you keep SEVIS program dates updated and document their files with the unique circumstances. Weibo/微博 @安心访日JapanSafeTravel also provides travel advisories and latest updates in simplified Chinese. For further guidance, please reach out to ECFMG at: EVSP-support@ECFMG.org. 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. Specifically, “Sponsors may also keep an exchange visitor’s SEVIS record active until the exchange visitor is able to return to the United States to continue with his or her original program objectives. Effective June 24, 2020, P.P. Temporarily, and to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of exchange visitors as program regulations require, the Department will allow virtual, real-time communications among host families, exchange visitors, and local coordinators during this crisis, when in-person contact is not safe. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this question that is apparent to us at this time. FAQ 2.10) My passport or other documents were requested following a visa interview before March 20, 2020. Because of the quickly developing situation, I've included advice and a template you can send to the relevant embassies to get more information. 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.”. Please visit, Please refer to ECA communication dated March 16, 2020 regarding exchange visitor SEVIS records in Initial or Active status. (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. No. For the privately funded programs we are asking sponsors of these programs to follow published ECA guidance for the ECA-funded programs and to make decisions based upon what best serves the health, safety, and welfare of exchange visitors, the interests of natural parents or legal guardians, and those of the Americans with whom they interact. The Department also asks that sponsors continue to follow all state and local departments of education guidance on this matter. 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. P.P. Consular officers may grant interview waivers for those renewing a visa in the same visa classification. Please follow the links below for the latest guidance for Exchange Visitor Program sponsors and participants. Please refer to ECA communication dated February 7, 2020, for guidance, specifically the section on exchange visitors currently inside the United States. With respect to exchange visitors who are currently in “active” status in SEVIS and are continuing programs that were underway in a manner compliant with regulations when the pandemic reached the United States, ECA understands that program sponsors have adjusted program activities to meet their obligations to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of their exchange participants. The health, safety, and welfare of exchange visitors continues to be the Department’s primary concern. 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. Also, as previously noted please do check our website at. Yes, the Department expects to look favorably upon requests submitted by sponsors pursuant to 22 C.F.R. As always, sponsors should end the programs of exchange visitors who are no longer pursuing program activities or updating sponsors with their whereabouts. October Updates on Covid-19: You can visit Bali - Indonesia, with investor visa, family visa, or B211A. For the privately funded programs we are asking sponsors of these programs to follow published ECA guidance for the ECA-funded programs (which as aforementioned has generally not required high school students to return home) and to make decisions based upon what best protects the health, safety, and welfare of exchange visitors and the Americans with whom they interact. 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. (A) The Department of State has no plans to substitute video interviews for the in-person visa interview. No need for a deposit until we give you full details. The Department is aware that some trainees and interns who had just started their programs returned home prematurely due to circumstances beyond their control. There was only update from US Dept of State, but nothing US consulates in India. Current exchange visitors may continue on programs that, as intended/designed, fully complied with the regulations – including with regard to the number of hours to be worked – provided that the deviation 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. Go to: On March 20, 2020, U.S. embassies and consulates suspended all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services. Sponsors must maintain monthly contact with exchange visitors to confirm their health, safety, and welfare, and that their programs continue to meet the objectives. This is distinct from the enrollment of foreign students on F-1 visas, in which case the payment of tuition is required. Supermarkets are working round the clock and restricting purchases as they compete with panic-buying shoppers to keep their shelves full. (A) Yes, you can keep the SEVIS record in “active” status while the exchange visitor is back at home. 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. A reasonable, temporary modification for exigent circumstances beyond a sponsor's control would not undermine a program’s consistency with the regulations. 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. Many sectors rely on H1B visa, L1 visa, and J1 visa holders for employment positions, hence the latest ruling will be of great benefit for visa holders and companies, especially when coping with the pandemic. (A) We recognize this is a stressful, ever changing situation and we understand your concern. And, as discussed further below, sponsors must obtain criminal background check reports on all residents 18 years or older. (A) We refer you to ECA website guidance to sponsors dated March 16, 2020. Sections. 10052 suspended entry into the United States for certain exchange visitors through December 31, 2020. Premium. So we are closely reviewing this question. The regulations at 22 CFR § 62.8(a) give the Department the sole discretion to waive this requirement. 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. The J-1 Visa offers cultural and educational exchange opportunities in the United States through a variety of programs overseen by the U.S. State Department. A visa fee is valid to make an appointment one year from the date of payment. The SoN letter is a requirement that cannot be waived. Oct 9, 2020 Court Order regarding Presidential Proclamation 10052. It was originally published on January 28, 2020, but last updated on February 10, 2020) Australia Closes Borders for Chinese Arrivals The Australian Border Force has announced that as of February 1, the government has ordered the ABF to enhance border measures in order to reduce the risk The Department understands that the COVID-19 situation has caused a major disruption in program participation. In response to the last question on refunds, you can pursue SEVIS fee refunds with SEVP. 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. If the visas are not cancelled, the visa holder may become in breach of their visa conditions if required to stay for an extended period of time, outside of Australia. Please direct all general COVID-19 questions […] As we work through this process we will keep you informed and work with you to try to resolve matters as they arise.

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