Support: How to Travel With Your Exchange Student

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Host Families

Host Families

For American high school students, March is a very important time. The weather starts getting warmer and the beginning of spring looms in the air. However, one thing students are most excited for is their annual spring break! Many American students and their families take this time off from school to travel. Our exchange students are no different!

With spring break approaching, we anticipate there being a lot of questions regarding our travel procedure. Fear not! We have prepared all the information you need below. Firstly, all documents must be sent to the corresponding CIEE Support Team. The Support Teams are divided by countries. Each Support Team’s countries they are responsible for and their email addresses have been listed below:

Support Team 1 (supportteam1@ciee.org)
  • Brazil
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Japan
  • Mongolia
  • Poland
  • South Korea
  • Slovakia
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
Support Team 2 (supportteam2@ciee.org)
  • Azerbaijan
  • Denmark
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Grants Students
  • Iceland
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Russia
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
Support Team 3 (supportteam3@ciee.org)
  • Chile
  • France
  • Italy
  • Mexico
  • Spain

Domestic Travel

Domestic travel is any travel within the United States. Unless you and your student are traveling by plane, Support does not require any official documents. If you are traveling by air, all Support requires is an email to notify CIEE of the travel. If your student would like to travel independently, there are a few things that must be submitted.

  1. Firstly, they must submit a travel request form.  This can be submitted electronically to CIEE by emailing the appropriate CIEE Support Team.
  2. Secondly, they must have a chaperone identified on the travel request form that is at least 25 years old. This chaperone and any other adults must complete a criminal background check (CBC) and be approved before any travel. Our Compliance Team will reach out to any chaperones that are listed on the travel request form once it is submitted.
  3. Thirdly, CIEE must be able to confirm with your student’s natural parents that they approve of this travel.

International Travel

For all international travel, students must mail their original DS-2019 form to CIEE Support. The only exception to this rule is for students from our grants programs. If a grants student would like to travel internationally, please call CIEE Support at least one month before any travel. The DS-2019 form is the most important document (other than a passport) for a student returning to the country after a trip. This form can be mailed to:

CIEE Support
300 Fore Street
Portland, ME 04101

Once CIEE receives the DS-2019 form in the mail, it will be processed by Support and mailed back to the return address provided in the package CIEE received. In addition to mailing back the DS-2019 form, CIEE will include a Good Standing Letter. This document simply states that the student is a participant on CIEE’s High School USA program and the dates their J-1 visa is valid for. As with domestic travel, CIEE must confirm with the student’s natural parents that they approve of the travel before CIEE can inform the student the travel is approved.

Due to international travel usually having a higher cost than domestic travel, we ask that our host families please wait until the trip is officially approved before purchasing any international flights. Finally, please note that if you plan on taking your exchange students on a cruise, cruise lines may or may not have specific requirements for exchange students. CIEE Support cannot advise on cruise line specific procedures and it is best to reach out to the cruise line well in advance of departure.

Natural Family Travel and Visits

Every year, our students’ natural parents request to visit them in the United States. The travel procedure for this depends on what the natural family’s plans are. For example, if the natural family is simply coming to visit both their child and their host family, all Support needs is written confirmation from the host family that they are willing to have the natural family as temporary guest(s). However, if the natural family plans to take their child on a trip, a travel request form must be submitted to CIEE Support.

BELO USA Travel

BELO USA is a separate entity from CIEE that facilitates domestic travel for international exchange students. All our exchange students should be aware of BELO and their short-term travel programs as CIEE sends an email to our students early in their exchange year about BELO. For BELO travel, CIEE only requires two forms: Natural Parent Authorization and Student Authorization. These two forms must be submitted to both CIEE and BELO USA before the travel can be approved.

Questions? Feel free to reach out to Support! Our office is staffed from 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM EST Monday-Friday!

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