In light of international travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 situation, the United States Department of State (DOS) has granted an automatic two (2) month extension to J-1 Exchange Visitors under the Au Pair, Intern, Trainee, Scholar, and Specialist categories. Any J-1 program that had an expiration date between April 1 and May 31, 2020 will be granted a two-month extension in order to provide exchange visitors the opportunity to complete their programs and to continue to finalize travel plans to return home.
In addition, Exchange Visitors whose programs have already ended, but cannot yet return home due to external circumstances (such as lack of flights), DOS will work with program sponsors to reinstate and extend their status in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) until May 31, 2020.
The Agencies that sponsor J-1 Exchange Programs are working diligently with the Department of State and SEVIS in order to update the electronic records for all affected J-1 visa holders that are eligible for this automatic extension.
If you are a J-1 visa holder or an employer hosting a J-1 visa holder, the Sponsoring Agency may be in touch with you with updated information, such as Form DS-2019 and information regarding extended health insurance coverage. We suggest that you contact the Sponsoring Agency directly with any questions about the automatic extension and how it impacts yourself or your employees.
Green and Spiegel remains on the ready to assist your organization with questions about the impact of COVID-19 on your operations and foreign national employees. Please do not hesitate to reach out!