Latest News on J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs & COVID-19

This page will be update with news as we have it.

22nd September 2021

The White House announced that borders will be opened to all in November 2021, providing travelers have been vaccinated by a vaccine that is on the World Health Organization emergency approval list

June 2nd 2021

The London is cancelling all routine visa appointments starting August 1st until an undetermined time in the future.

May 27th 2021

The Consulate in Mexico City are now refusing to take appointments from anyone other than Mexico Citizens with the exception of returners from other countries.  They are refusing to allow participants to make individual appointments and have provided loose guidance to Sponsors on how to submit interested applications.  They are clear that visas would not be issued until potential exchange visitors have quarantined in Mexico for 14 days.  other than make the appointments, IENA had no support in Mexico City.  Anyone wishing to take up this offer, does so at their own risk and expense.  IENA does not endorse it, nor so we think it is a good idea, however we cannot prevent participants, as adults, making their own decisions and being responsible for themselves.  Mexico is on a Level 4 travel advisory from the US Dept of State.


May 10th 2021


To reduce introduction and spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an Order. It requires all air passengers arriving to the U.S. from a foreign country to get tested for COVID-19 infection no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. For more information on this testing requirement, see the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions.


Presidential Proclamations effecting travel

The Presidential Proclamation 10052, which took effect on June 22, 2020, has not been extended and expired on March 31, 2021.  IENA were part of legal action which successfully challenge this and were granted exceptions in November 2020

U.S. Department of State Update on Presidential Proclamation 10052

Although IENA’s J-1 BridgeUSA programs are open, many consular sections at U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world are not yet able to operate at full capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic and country-specific conditions. Travel restrictions are also being updated daily, and we encourage you to monitor pre-flight requirements for testing and quarantining in departure, connection, and arrival destinations.  If you are having difficulty scheduling an embassy appointment, our advice is to keep trying. Monitoring the embassy’s appointment scheduler or enquiring if you are eligible for an expedited appointment directly with the embassy are the options available to you. 

The situation is changing day-by-day and we encourage you to keep in contact with the U.S. Embassy in your home country to monitor updates to their visa services protocols and appointments.

There are many organizations, individuals, politicians, etc. who are all doing their best to advocate for these cultural exchange programs and alleviate the situation on a global scale.

Currently all consulates in the Schengen area are refusing to process J-1 Visas citing the travel restrictions currently in place.  The Sponsor community believe this is an erroneous policy and are currently engaged in legal action to stop this, but as of now, travel and processing in the Schengen area is closed.

This is a situation that is updated daily and we will continue to update you should anything arise.

Finally, for more information about COVID-19, look to the World Health Organization (WHO) web site at:

The UNWTO/IATA Travel tracker found HERE is an excellent tool for up to date travel information