Information for Work & Travel USA Host Employers

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 on Work & Travel USA participation. If you cannot find the information you are looking for below, please contact us at hire@ciee.org or 866-609-2433.

Winter 2019-2020

As of March 17, CIEE is recommending that Winter 2019-2020 participants 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 make plans to return home as soon as possible. Participant should continue to be advised that they should: Below is important guidance to share with your participants: 

  • Stay informed on local health and safety measures
  • Check email and respond as necessary to outreach from CIEE
  • Contact CIEE in especially escalated situations for help
  • Continue to work with airlines or International Representatives directly for assistance rebooking flights
  • Register with or inform their home country embassy of their whereabouts and need to return home

Participants remaining in the U.S. should stay in contact with CIEE Customer Service at 1-888-268-6245 so that we can understand their situation.

Summer 2020

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.

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.

I Have Decided That I Need To Cancel Some Of Or All My CIEE Work & Travel USA Participants. What Should I Do?

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  • Please email us with this request at hire@ciee.org as soon as possible.
  • CIEE will process these cancellations for you and notify participants through their International Representatives. We ask that you allow CIEE to communicate cancellations so that International Representatives can guide participants effectively on next steps.
  • We are aware that some host employers and participants who have needed to cancel their job placement(s) have expressed interest in deferring until Summer 2021. We are exploring how we can support and facilitate this.

I am unsure how Covid-19 will affect my business. How do I plan and communicate with CIEE accordingly?

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We know that events like this, whether they be natural disasters, social unrest, or – as now – disease outbreaks, can impact business levels.  In preparing for your summer season, we ask that you please consider the following:

  • Are you able to adequately support the participants that you’ve committed to hire with seasonal employment and/or housing?
    • If not, please contact CIEE immediately so that we may review your current hiring plan, reevaluate your seasonal needs, and offer assistance in formulating a new plan.
    • Additionally, if your hiring plan remains unchanged, but at any point this summer you find you are unable to provide the intended hours, please contact CIEE immediately so that we can support you and work towards a solution for all involved.
  • Has your business undergone layoffs or hiring freezes?  If so, please notify CIEE as soon as possible – there may be regulatory implications.

If you have any concerns, please contact CIEE so that we may work together and make a plan now. We know this is affecting our host employers in a variety of ways and want to consult with you on a case-by-case basis.

Will There Be Delays In Participant Arrivals?

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Yes, undoubtedly, many participants will be delayed in arriving to the workplace. We are closely monitoring delays but do not anticipate being able to give you specifics on delays for several weeks. These delays may be a result of several different factors including U.S. embassy closures, flight availability, and adjustments to university schedules.

HAVE THERE BEEN HIGHER PARTICIPANT CANCELLATIONS? ARE MY PARTICIPANTS STILL INTERESTED IN COMING ON THE PROGRAM? WHAT IS THE CANCELLATION POLICY?

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  • Like the uncertainty you are experiencing, participants are also in a holding pattern to see how the coming weeks unfold.
  • Each International Representative has their own policy regarding cancellations. Please encourage all participants and their families to speak with their International Representative regarding their concerns and to discuss their unique cancellation policy.
  • You will receive notification by email of any cancelled participants. CIEE sends this information weekly.

IF I HAVE ALREADY SUBMITTED A HOUSING DEPOSIT TO SECURE PARTICIPANT HOUSING, WILL I GET THAT DEPOSIT BACK IF PARTICIPANTS DO NOT COME ON THE PROGRAM?

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During this time of uncertainty, we recommend you work directly with landlords and housing providers to explore alternatives and discuss options. Given these extenuating circumstances, there is a chance for flexibility. In your discussions, consider what your company’s cancellation polices are, or will be, to help to guide these conversations.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF A PARTICIPANT CONTRACTS COVID-19 WHILE ON PROGRAM?

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First, please assist the participant in seeking medical attention and notifying local health officials in accordance with your city and state guidelines. As the virus is easily spread from person-to-person, encourage the participant to have no physical contact and isolate themselves from others.

As always, inform CIEE immediately with any health and safety issues or concerns related to your Work & Travel USA participant. For specific questions about medical coverage, please contact CIEE 1-888-268-6245.