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. 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. Outside of … 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. 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. Our overseas missions will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but we are unable to provide a specific date at this time. There was only update from US Dept of State, but nothing US consulates in India. On July 16, 2020, DOS announced national interest waivers of the Schengen Area, UK, and Ireland COVID-19 proclamations for F and M students and the possibility of waivers for some J exchange visitors. 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. 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. 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. The company are continuing to process applications for students who plan to depart this summer. 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. Important Notice for K visa applicants affected by COVID-19. In order to contain the spread of the virus, dozens of jurisdictions implement new measures or change existing ones each day. If an NIE is approved, they may travel on either a valid visa or ESTA authorization, as appropriate. If the exchange visitor does travel outside of the United States during their current exchange visitor program and after their J-1 visa has expired, they must apply for a new J-1 visa in their home country in order to re-enter the United States to continue their program. Don't miss out, availability of our visa application forms may be limited so get your name down now! 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. 10052 suspended entry into the United States for certain exchange visitors through December 31, 2020. (A) This question perfectly hits what needs to be accurate in SEVIS. 10:49. Sponsors must submit annual reports by the regulatory mandated due dates. Emergency visa services will still be available on a case-by-case basis. SoN letters must bear the seal of the concerned governments and be signed by a duly designated official of the governments. Second, they should consult the Office of Private Sector Exchange’s website at. Please visit, Please refer to ECA communication dated March 16, 2020 regarding exchange visitor SEVIS records in Initial or Active status. 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. 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. Sponsors are encouraged to provide data and/or narratives on the number of exchange visitors that had to shorten their programs or those who had difficulties with repatriation. K Visa Processing Update Please refer to ECA announcement (March 13, 2020) regarding the pause on ECA-funded programs for 60 days from the date of the announcement on March 12. Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) operates a visitor hotline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 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." 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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." US Visa Travel Advisory for Coronavirus. When we have more definitive information we will share it with you. Yes, the Department expects to look favorably upon requests submitted by sponsors pursuant to 22 C.F.R. 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. 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. (A) Routine visa services will resume as soon as possible, but a specific date cannot be provided at this time. Exchange visitors’ circumstances may change during their time off-program. Sponsors must adhere to all other aspects of the vetting and monitoring requirements. 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. 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. Travelers may be subject to entry restrictions or quarantined if they choose to travel to the United States. US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency yesterday over the coronavirus outbreak in America and attempted to silence growing criticism by introducing new steps to make testing more available. We recommend that you keep SEVIS program dates updated and document their files with the unique circumstances. The Department is not waiving this requirement. (A) We recognize this is a stressful, ever changing situation and we understand your concern. 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. Sponsors must maintain monthly contact with exchange visitors to confirm their health, safety, and welfare, and that their programs continue to meet the objectives. 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. 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.”. UPDATE: New Corona UK visa extensions (to 31 July 2020) - Duration: 10:49. Please use this opportunity to remind your exchange visitors of the requirement for them to report to you within ten calendar days any changes in their telephone numbers, email addresses, actual and current U.S. addresses, if any of that information does change. Nov 12, 2020 Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services. 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. While the Department generally requires SoN letters to be provided by the relevant Ministries of Health, this may not be possible at this time. Expansion of Interview Waiver Eligibility. Please refer to ECA communication dated April 29, 2020 (Communication to Sponsors:  Vetting Summer Placements) on the “For Sponsors” section of the website. So there we all are - stuck at home with our children, husbands, boyfriends, flat-mates, cell-mates and parents in a coronavirus-induced lockdown. (A) Au pairs or interns with program start dates in the next few months who met the age requirements at the time of selection and have already received their visas have met the regulatory requirements. 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. ECA is aware some foreign governments are using such sites to provide assistance, including registering citizens who are seeking flights home. § 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." Outside of Office Hours, contact: 691-920-2369. Even a home tour can be conducted using such virtual technology. "As such, although the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP), including the Summer Work Travel category, is not specifically subject to the ECA-funded programme suspension, ECA strongly recommends that all EVP program sponsors follow ECA COVID-19 guidance, including postponing program start dates for 60 days after March 12, 2020. If your institution has moved to an online environment, please send to a completed Incident Report Form, if you have not already done so. So we are closely reviewing this question. For additional guidance, refer to ECA communication dated February 7, 2020, specifically the section on exchange visitors currently inside the United States. Also, as previously noted please do check our website at. See below tweet from US consulate Mumbai from today 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. Premium. 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. Exchange visitors still technically have a 30-day grace period following the program end date. Your sponsor organization is still the best point of contact to address this issue and we encourage you to follow their guidance. 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. The Department is aware that some trainees and interns who had just started their programs returned home prematurely due to circumstances beyond their control. That statement urged EVP sponsors to follow the guidance issued for ECA-funded programs. (A) Yes, you can keep the SEVIS record in “active” status while the exchange visitor is back at home. 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. The ECA plan to review the decision every 30 thereafter. As always, sponsors should end the programs of exchange visitors who are no longer pursuing program activities or updating sponsors with their whereabouts. We continue to strongly recommend that private sector sponsors similarly follow the guidance for the indefinite pause. Exchange visitors participating in an EVP category that is not subject to P.P. As per §62.7(a), sponsors must file for redesignation no more than six months and no fewer than three months before the designation expiration date set forth in the sponsor’s most recent letter of designation or redesignation. As a matter of general operating procedure, most visa sections worldwide schedule visa interviews for students and exchange visitors separately from regular B1/B2 visa applicants (visitors for business and tourism). 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. Consular officers may grant interview waivers for those renewing a visa in the same visa classification. That said, I looked at the I-901 Fee Frequently Asked Questions at the SEVP I-901 Fee website, and per the website, The SEVIS fee is paid for an individual's opportunity to participate on an exchange program and remains valid for one year after payment. 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Given the uncertainty of available flights and ongoing travel restrictions, Private Sector Exchange strongly recommends exchange visitors proactively reach out to their respective embassies if they are unable to book return flights home. In keeping with ECA's message on March 11, 2020 (, 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. Sponsors may continue to temporarily allow active students to continue their Academic Training remotely to prevent unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. We are reviewing this on a daily basis. This exception, that applies only to this unprecedented situation, will reduce the sponsors' burden of reprinting and transmitting original forms. 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, 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)). Japan Visitor Hotline. Any decisions you are making that are related to COVID-19 should be included as a remark to the record. Presidential Proclamation 10052 - Frequently Asked Questions on J Visa Processing. This is an option for au pairs who are in the USA, and would like to stay with their current host family. Sponsors are responsible for exchange visitors who are in Active status, and they are required to monitor programs and accurately update SEVIS daily, as necessary. Oct 9, 2020 Court Order regarding Presidential Proclamation 10052. J-1 students who are seeking to apply for a visa and believe they may qualify for an NIE should contact their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate before they attempt to travel to and enter the United States. 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. Again, sponsors are strongly encouraged to document their decisions throughout this situation. If you adjusted the dates, to include shortening the program, we are recommending as a best practice that you issue a new DS-2019. Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC) Providing individual physicians with an on-line tool for building a career portfolio of their primary-source verified medical credentials, and for demonstrating the authenticity of those credentials to the entities that register/license, educate, and employ them. Some agents are able to do this. (A) At the appropriate time, the Visa Office will provide guidance to our visa sections worldwide on the resumption of routine visa services. The Department extended exchange visitor programs due to the volume of exchange visitors experiencing trouble making travel arrangements. 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 The Department also asks that sponsors continue to follow all state and local departments of education guidance on this matter. 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. The President has issued several proclamations suspending entry of non-U.S. citizens and legal residents into the United States who have been physically present China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, or Ireland within 14 days of their entry or attempted entry into the United States. Annual report narratives should explain program highlights as well as difficulties, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The regulations at 22 CFR § 62.8(a) give the Department the sole discretion to waive this requirement. As noted during the conference call with sponsors on March 27th, sponsors are advised to reprint Forms DS-2019, fully execute them with original signatures in blue ink, and transmit them in accordance with routine requirements if exchange visitors need Forms DS-2019 for formal processing (i.e., visa application issuance or application for entry to the United States). 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. 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. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (A) The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve rapidly and its potential impact remains impossible to predict. 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. 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. Nov 25, 2020 K Visa Processing Update. Sponsors must balance the needs of exchange visitors to have money to cover basic needs with the need for social distancing. 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. As previously noted, if the exchange visitor needs the original form with signature in order to participate on the Program - perhaps due to a separate requirement for original documents for a visa interview or the DHS requirement for entry to the United States - then the sponsor needs to transmit documents to exchange visitors that meet that regulatory requirement. 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. If your designation is up for renewal in the next couple months, please apply in SEVIS online before expiration. (A) ECA understands that this is a difficult situation. Archive of posts categorized Coronavirus Updates in ECFMG News. This flexibility requires sponsors to fully document all technical deviations from the regulations, including digitally saving video files. Please be aware that there are a number of different exchange programs available for high school students, and not all are overseen by the State Department. A nonimmigrant visa application fee receipt is valid to make an appointment one year from the date of payment. On July 14, 2020, DOS announced the beginning of a phased resumption of visa services on a post-by-post basis. The health, safety, and well-being of our international students, staff & faculty, and broader UW community are our priority. 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. However, sponsors should encourage exchange visitors to follow CDC guidance and consider health, safety, and welfare implications for travel at this time. Schools, universities and public facilities have shut. Routine visa services will resume as soon as possible, but a specific date at this time cannot be provided. Diversity Visa (DV-2020) Update. 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. 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. In fact, the majority of public school districts view the enrollment of exchange students in the Secondary School Student (SSS) category as a voluntary cultural exchange and charge no tuition.