J-1 Visa Update

ACA is monitoring current developments related to the Summer Work Travel and Camp Counselor categories of the J-1 Visa.

Important Dates for the J-1 Visa

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:

Deferrals Lifted for Camp Counselor Category J-1 Visas

Today, the US Department of State officially announced that it is lifting the "deferral" or cap that has been in place for the Camp Counselor category of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. This means that they will immediately begin processing pending Camp Counselor sponsor expansion requests as well as new sponsor applications for the Camp Counselor category of exchange. I am sure that sponsors will be reaching out to camps about this in the coming days.

J-1 Visas: Camp Counselor and Summer Work Travel Programs

The ACA Government Affairs team — consisting of ACA leadership, ACA volunteer leaders, an ACA consultant, and ACA hired lobbyists — continue to vigorously defend the need for and value of J-1 Visa participants at America’s camps. They are collectively engaged at many levels of federal government.

Testimonials and Stories Needed: J-1 Cultural Exchange Participants and America's Camps

ACA continues to closely monitor developments in Washington with the J-1 Cultural Exchange programs for camp counselors and support staff. These programs are vital to America’s camps and we are determined to defend against any threat to them. ACA leadership and ACA’s Government Affairs team have conducted many important meetings and discussions on Capitol Hill, at the White House, and in the offices of many government agencies to educate our nation’s leaders about the critical importance of international cultural exchange to America’s camps.


It's ironic that I've spent this fall encouraging Americans to advocate for the White House not to drastically reduce or eliminate J-1 visas for camp cultural exchange programs while also keynoting at the 3rd China Camp Education Conference (CCEC) and representing ACA at the 11th International Camping Congress (ICC).

Camp Includes Me: Where Do We Go From Here?

This feature article is the first of an ongoing series of articles in Camping Magazine that will focus on inclusion, diversity, and cross-cultural agility to share in our individual communities and out in the world.

Visas for International Staff and Campers

Annually, nearly 30,000 international students provide cultural exchange as staff at camps in the United States.  International campers also provide an important aspect of cultural exchange as they live side-by-side in US camps with American campers.  

International Staff - Best Practices

Get information about J-1 Visa Camp Counselor and Summer Work Travel Programs, as well best practices and resources for international camp staff and camp cultural exchange.