Information for Professional Exchange Program Host Organizations

At CIEE, the health, safety and welfare of our program participants is our highest priority, and our actions during the most challenging of times reflect that commitment. It is critical to take steps and make decisions that keep participants safe and protect the quality of our program delivery. Below please find the most recent updates on the Professional Exchange 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 their plans have changed, are out of training, or if they encounter any difficulties while on program.

FOR INTERNSHIP USA, CAREER TRAINING USA, RESEARCH SCHOLAR USA, SHORT-TERM SCHOLAR USA, PROFESSOR USA AND SPECIALIST USA

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

The below captures many of your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and our most current guidance as your visa sponsor. These policies are based on the information available currently. CIEE continues to monitor the situation closely and will adjust the below guidance as needed to best ensure the health, safety and well-being of all parties involved.

CIEE has weathered chaotic events before and has always navigated a path through crisis with your partnership and support. We believe that the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program will be a critical public diplomacy tool for global recovery in the years ahead, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with you in this effort.

What if the host organization can continue hosting an exchange visitor but they are unable to provide the required minimum of 32 hours per week?

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  • Given the extenuating circumstances, CIEE will permit this but only for brief periods of time. Long term or permanent reduction in hours will not be permitted. Please note that the hours that the participant is training for must be in approved tasks. No prohibited tasks are permitted for any duration of time.
     
  • Please inform the participant right away. If the participant is unable to accommodate a temporarily reduced schedule, they should contact CIEE 1-888-268-6245 to discuss best next steps.

Can a host organization adjust the DS-7002 Training Plan to reflect adjusted training activities as a result of COVID-19?

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  • Yes, please contact CIEE at: INT-PCT@ciee.org to make these changes. Please include participant first and last name and host name in the notice.
     
  • Please note that even within these unusual circumstances, Interns and Trainees are not permitted to conduct prohibited tasks. It is preferred to reduce the number of hours to provide quality, compliant training than to conduct activities outside of the regulations of the program category.

Can participants intern or train remotely?

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  • Due to these extenuating circumstances, CIEE will permit remote trainings and internships within the U.S. as necessary for brief periods of time. Sustained or permanent remote trainings are not permitted.
     
  • Participants must continue to have continual supervision, check-ins, and support during this time.
     
  • Training remotely outside of the U.S. does not fall under the purview of the J-1 visa category.

Host Organization is suspending all operations or closing. What should the participant and host do?

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  • If the closure is currently anticipated to be brief, and the host is confident that training can resume as previously outlined in the training plan once the business has returned to normal operations, the participant may pause training and resume later.
     
  • If the closure of the site of activity is anticipated to be for a long duration or permanent, the participant will need to return home early or seek a change in host organization. In this case, please have the participant call in to CIEE 1-888-268-6245 regarding next steps.

The participant is on an active program but is currently traveling outside of the U.S. and cannot return due to the existing travel ban. Can the participant return once the travel ban is over?

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  • If the participant has been outside of the U.S. for less than 30 days, it is anticipated that they should be able to re-enter without difficulty.
     
  • It is our understanding there will be flexibility in the case of a participant has been outside of the U.S. for more than 30 days. However, we recommend reconfirming this with your local embassy or the Department of Homeland Security.

A participant is in the U.S. and is from a country that is not permitting them to return home. What options does the participant have?

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  • Please continue to check all travel advisories from your home country for your specific circumstances.
     
  • Stay in close contact with CIEE 1-888-268-6245 and your International Representative with any issues returning to your home country.
     
  • If a participant has not used up the maximum duration of their allowed program eligibility, it may be possible to apply for an extension up to the maximum duration.
     
  • If a participant has already reached the maximum duration of their allowed program, they can apply directly through the Department of State for a waiver that would allow them to remain in the U.S. without overstaying. Note that this waiver of extension does not permit additional training it only allows for the participant’s status to not go invalid in the U.S.

The participant is unable to go in person to their academic institution due to temporary closure or stay at home directive. What will CIEE accept as verification of academic endorsement?

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During this time, CIEE will accept the alternate forms of academic endorsements:
 
  • An official electronic form from the academic institution with a unique identifier to the participant, such as a barcode, verifying that the participant is currently enrolled in a full time program, OR
  • A copy of an official email from the academic institution’s registrar office
All documentation must indicate that the applicant is a current student, what academic course they are enrolled in, and the expected graduation month and year.

What if an exchange visitor has an approved J-1 visa, but their host organization needs to cancel the offer before they travel to the U.S.?

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  • Due to extenuating circumstances, CIEE will accept and review another DS-7002 Training Plan prior to your travel to the U.S. If the Training Plan is approved, you can travel on the J-1 visa issued. This is a special exception given the unique circumstances. The participant should contact their international representative to discuss the process.

What is the current protocol for screening, testing, and quarantine at U.S borders?

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  • CIEE relies on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to follow protocol in place to detect and slow the spread of the virus.
     
  • No other individual action should be taken unless recommended by the CDC or local health officials.
     
  • If a host organization requires additional screening of the participant, this must be agreed upon prior to travel by all parties in writing.

If a current program needs to be cancelled, what is the refund policy?

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  • If, once in the United States, a participant has to return to their home country due to: personal choice, host ending the program, a Covid-19 emergency as determined by an official decision of the local government, American government, or any official authority, CIEE will continue to provide a high level of support to our in-country participants; however, there will be no reimbursement of fees.

Can a participant leave the U.S. and return in several months to resume their training?

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  • While this is permitted by the U.S. Department of State, there are factors outside of CIEE’s control which may not guarantee a successful return to the U.S. Before leaving the U.S., CIEE recommends that exchange visitors discuss their options with the host organization, as well as notify CIEE 1-888-268-6245 and the International Representative of the decision. Participants should also contact the International Representative when they begin to consider returning to the United States. Depending on the circumstances, participants may need to check with the local U.S. embassy to renew their visa, or confirm eligibility directly with the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services if they have been outside the U.S. for more than 30 days.
     
  • Participants will only be permitted to return to their previously approved host organizations. Participants should not return to the U.S. to train at a different host, or with intent to find a new host.