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 Monday, 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