COVID-19 Program Updates: Exchange Participants

Authored by:


On June 22, the White House issued an order temporarily suspending visa issuance for several categories of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP), including intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, and the summer work travel program. This order does not impact secondary student, research scholar, short-term scholar, specialist, and professor program categories.

This order also does not impact participants who are currently in the U.S., and they may continue with their programs as planned.

Prospective participants who are outside of the U.S. are still eligible to participate if they have a visa in hand. However, all applicants who do not yet have their visa will be unable to travel to the U.S. on a CIEE program until further notice.

We advise all participants to communicate directly with their International Representative with questions.

CIEE believes that international exchange prepares the next generation of leaders to work across cultures and tackle global crises, such as COVID-19, that require global cooperation on solutions. We are working to support efforts to restore normal visa issuance for J-1 programs as soon as possible.

Below please find additional guidance by program.


Participants currently in the U.S.

Programs already underway may continue as planned. Some schools may be invoking remote learning or may be closed for the remainder of the year. Participants should contact CIEE Support Team at 1-800-448-9944 to alert us of any difficulties completing their program as planned or if they wish to return home earlier than planned.

Natural parents should not plan to visit their child in the U.S. while their child is still on program. Participants requesting to travel within the U.S. will likely be denied due to travel restrictions.

Prospective Participants

After careful consideration, CIEE will not be permitting any new applications for August 2020, effective immediately as of March 23, 2020. Any applications in our system as of March 23, 2020 will be allowed to move forward. Additionally, we will continue to work on placing your students who already are in the system. Given the uncertainty about what lies ahead, we believe it is best to focus our attention and resources supporting those applicants who have already committed to CIEE’s High School USA program.


Participants currently in the U.S.

CIEE has provided each participant with guidance specific to their circumstances regarding next steps for their program. We continue to recommend participants stay informed on their home country government’s requirements, as well as local health and safety guidance. Participants should contact CIEE Customer Service at 1-888-268-6245 to alert us if your plans have changed, you are out of training, or if you encounter any difficulties while on program.

Prospective Participants

Due to the recent presidential proclamation suspending several J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs, CIEE is halting application processing until further notice for Intern and Trainee programs. CIEE will continue to accept applications for the Research Scholar, Short-Term Scholar, Specialist, and Professor categories.


Winter 2019-2020 participants that are currently in the U.S.

As of March 17, CIEE is recommending that all CIEE Work & Travel USA participants on the Winter 2019-2020 program, currently in the U.S. return home as soon as possible. We understand that many countries have closed their borders to both nationals and foreigners. While participants may not be able to return home immediately, they should begin to make plans to return home as soon as they are able. Participants should contact their international representative for assistance booking flights.

Participants should contact CIEE Customer Service at 1-888-268-6245 so that we can understand their situation in the U.S. Additionally, in-country participants should continue to check their email frequently for updates and advice from CIEE.

Summer 2020 Prospective Participants

CIEE is moving forward with Summer 2020 programming for all participants who have visas in hand as of June 22. We will only be permitting placements at select host employers who meet CIEE’s enhanced vetting measures. Participants will be offered a new placement at an approved host if their original placement is no longer suitable. It is critically important that applicants go to the appropriate approved host employer and failure to do so may result in program termination. Applicants are advised to contact their International Representative with any questions on this.


Prospective Participants

CIEE is moving forward with Summer 2020 programming for all counselors who have visas in hand as of June 22. We will only be permitting placements at select camps that meet CIEE’s enhanced vetting measures. Applicants are advised to contact their International Representative for updates.


If you are a participant in the U.S. currently, please call 1-888-268-6245 any time to speak with a CIEE representative if you have any questions. We encourage all prospective participants or applicants to direct their questions to their International Representatives.

Share This Post:

Learn More:

Request Information

Related Posts