Important Dates for the J-1 Visa

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Now is the time to continue preparations for your camp cultural exchange participants who plan to join you through a J-1 Visa program. Camp directors and international cultural exchange participants should reach out now to their appropriate cultural exchange sponsors for country-specific information. As it stands today, the following are key dates to know:

  • May 12 is the day that international cultural exchange participants will be permitted to enter the United States. (There are a few exceptions, and sponsors can help determine if cultural exchange participants are eligible to enter the US two days earlier on May 10.)
  • Cultural exchange participants SHOULD NOT BOOK flights to the US before May 12 (or May 10) depending on their country’s policies. They should check their travel protection plans if they have already purchased airline tickets for travel prior to that time.
  • Cultural exchange participants are encouraged to begin (or continue) their J-1 Visa acquisition before this time, but the process will be slowed until May 12 for most countries. Cultural exchange participants SHOULD NOT DELAY in scheduling an embassy appointment to apply for their J-1 Visa. If the embassy is closed or not currently scheduling, encourage participants to get on a waiting list to be notified when appointments reopen or new procedures are put in place.
  • International cultural exchange participants arriving from May 10 to May 12 could begin working at camps as early as May 15, provided they have been through appropriate orientation and training prior to starting.

Be advised that many cultural exchange participants have indicated that they will not attempt to enter the country on a J-1 Visa until late May/early June to accommodate for any additional unforeseeable delays. We encourage you to do your best to accept exchange participants, even if they have to arrive late. Stay in contact with your placed participants throughout this time. They are hearing stories of what is happening in the US through various media sources and need accurate information from you. Be positive about helping them look forward to a camp experience.

If you decide to cancel any of your J-1 participants (and we hope you won’t), notify your sponsor before notifying the participant.

For more information, check out the US Department of State's web page for exchange visitor program information on coronavirus (COVID-19).