Additional COVID-19 Information

Updated May 3, 2021

In keeping with the Department of State’s commitment to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States, Secretary Blinken decided today to apply the same set of National Interest Exceptions to India that he had previously applied to all other regional travel restrictions currently in effect as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These Exceptions are detailed on our website here and here.

Updated April 27, 2021

In keeping with the Department of State’s commitment to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States, Secretary Blinken decided yesterday to apply several National Interest Exceptions to all regional travel restrictions currently in effect as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students seeking to commence studies in the fall, certain academics, journalists, and individuals who provide critical infrastructure support in countries affected by a geographic COVID-19 restriction may now qualify for a National Interest Exception. This includes qualified applicants who have been present in Brazil, China, Iran, or South Africa.

The pandemic continues to limit the number of visas our embassies and consulates abroad are able to process. As always, visa applicants should check the website of the nearest Embassy or Consulate for the most up-to-date information about visa appointment availability.

As the global situation evolves, the Department continues to seek ways to process more visa applications, in line with science-based guidance from health authorities, and with the health and safety of staff and applicants as our priority.

For more information: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/national-interest-exceptions-for-certain-travelers-from-china-Iran-brazil-south-africa-schengen-area-united-kingdom-and-ireland.html.

Updated April 19, 2021

The Department of State strongly recommends U.S. citizens reconsider all travel abroad. When considering participation in exchange programs or any travel, please visit Travel.State.Gov to review the Travel Advisory of your destination country.Travel Advisories have been updated to rely more on CDC's existing epidemiological assessments for each country.

Updated April 1, 2021

Presidential Proclamation 10052, which temporarily suspended the entry of certain H-1B, H-2B, J (for certain categories within the Exchange Visitor Program), and L nonimmigrants, expired on March 31, 2021.

Visa applicants who have not yet been interviewed or scheduled for an interview will have their applications prioritized and processed in accordance with existing phased resumption of visa services guidance.  Visa applicants who were previously refused visas due to the restrictions of Presidential Proclamation 10052 may reapply by submitting a new application including a new fee. 

The resumption of routine visa services, prioritized after services to U.S. citizens, is occurring on a post-by-post basis, consistent with the Department’s guidance for safely returning our workforce to Department facilities.  U.S. Embassies and Consulates have continued to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services since March 2020 and will continue to do so as they are able.  As post-specific conditions improve, our missions will begin providing additional services, culminating eventually in a complete resumption of routine visa services.  Applicants should check the website of their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for updates on the services that post is currently offering.

Updated February 24, 2021

On February 24, President Biden rescinded Presidential Proclamation (P.P.) 10014 that suspended entry of immigrants who present a risk to the United States labor market during the economic recovery following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak. For further information, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/rescission-of-presidential-proclamation-10014.html.

P.P. 10052 remains in effect and is scheduled to expire on March 31, 2021. P.P. 10052 suspends the entry to the United States of certain nonimmigrant visa applicants who present a risk to the U.S. labor market during the economic recovery following the novel coronavirus outbreak. It applies to J-1 visa applicants participating in the intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel programs; and any spouses or children of covered applicants applying for J-2 visas. For further information, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/extension-of-presidential-proclamation-10052.html.

Updated January 26, 2021

On January 26, the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  will require all air passengers two years of age and over entering the United States (including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents) to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three (3) calendar days of departure​, or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days.

For further information, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-testing-required-us-entry.html.

Updated January 1, 2021

On December 31, 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending entry into the United States of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants who continue present a risk to the U.S. labor market following the coronavirus outbreak. This proclamation extends Presidential Proclamations (P.P.) 10014 and 10052 through March 31, 2021. See the full text of the proclamation: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-continue-present-risk-united-states-labor-market/.

For further information, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/extension-of-presidential-proclamations-10014-and-10052.html.

Updated October 9, 2020

On October 1, 2020, a federal district court in National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Homeland Security (NAM) enjoined the government from enforcing section 2 of Presidential Proclamation (PP) 10052 against named plaintiffs and members of the plaintiff associations. The named plaintiffs include: the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation, TechNet, and Intrax, Inc. Therefore, any J-1, H-1B, H-2B, or L-1 applicant who is either sponsored (as an exchange visitor) by, petitioned by, or whose petitioner is a member of, one of the above named organizations is no longer subject to PP 10052’s entry restrictions.

For further information, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/court-order-regarding-presidential-proclamation-10052.html.

Updated August 7, 2020

On August 6, in close coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of State lifted the Global Level 4 Health Advisory. The Global Advisory, initially put in place on March 19, 2020, advised U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.

With health and safety conditions improving in some countries while potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice (with Levels from 1-4 depending on country-specific conditions), in order to give travelers detailed and actionable information to make informed travel decisions. We continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.

As global health conditions continue to evolve, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is reviewing its posture toward the conduct of international exchanges and other in-person programming. ECA will continue to prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of our program participants, while also taking into consideration the varying degrees to which the pandemic may be affecting countries and U.S. missions around the world.

A number of factors – such as ability of participants to obtain visas, staffing levels, flight availability, operating status of host institutions, and available resources to support social distancing and other measures to protect public health – influence the ability to resume programs in certain countries. ECA is fully committed to supporting our exchange participants, U.S. missions, and implementing partners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. ECA continues to encourage virtual programming in cases where in-person events are curtailed.

ECA will continue to directly communicate information about the management and status of current and future programs and gatherings to relevant participants and stakeholders.

Updated June 29, 2020

On June 22, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending entry into the United States of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants who present a risk to the U.S. labor market following the coronavirus outbreak. For the list of J visas subject to the proclamation, please see the full text of the proclamation: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-aliens-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-following-coronavirus-outbreak/.

For more information on visas, please visit: 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.

Updated May 12, 2020

Due to State Department Global Level 4 Health Advisory, all ECA funded in-person programs will remain paused until further notice.

Some programs continue to accept applications. Some programs have pivoted to incorporate virtual programming. Other programs have provided additional online resources. Please consult with a specific program office for current operating status.

Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) sponsors are reminded to continue to follow guidance that ECA/EC has posted at j1visa.state.gov, e.g., reconfirming summer placements, ensuring exchange visitors not take positions U.S. workers might fill, and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of any participants and the Americans with whom they may interact. ECA/EC thanks sponsors for their continued support of the EVP through these unprecedented times.

For frequently asked questions about Exchange Visitor Programs (J1 visa) please visit: https://j1visa.state.gov/covid-19.

Additional Information on ECA's Youth Exchange Programs, please visit: https://exchanges.state.gov/us/youth-exchange-programs-coronavirus-covid-19.

Temporary Pause of International Exchange Programs Due to COVID-19 - March 12 Media Note