COVID-19 Update May 12th
We hope this finds you all healthy. Seems things are still as uncertain as they were 3 weeks ago as far as the summer season and J-1 Programs. We continue to ask for your patience and see where this goes. Today the ECA released an extension on their pause of Federally funded programs with the statement below (found HERE)
“Due to State Department Global Level 4 Health Advisory, all ECA funded in-person programs will remain paused until further notice.
Some programs continue to accept applications. Some programs have pivoted to incorporate virtual programming. Other programs have provided additional online resources. Please consult with a specific program office for current operating status.
Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) sponsors are reminded to continue to follow guidance that ECA/EC has posted at j1visa.state.gov, e.g., reconfirming summer placements, ensuring exchange visitors not take positions U.S. workers might fill, and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of any participants and the Americans with whom they may interact. ECA/EC thanks sponsors for their continued support of the EVP through these unprecedented times.”
Please note that IENA’s programs are NOT federally funded. Whilst a sponsor may decide to follow the guidelines above, they do not apply to our programs.
Currently IENA are not allowing program start dates before June 15th for any of our Summer Work and Travel participants who are NOT placed in a Summer Camp.
Date: April 6th
We are experiencing extraordinary times which have lead to unprecedented challenges all over the world, including the camp and cultural exchange industries.
All over the world we have seen the Coronavirus pandemic touch every country and affect every community.
Like many other businesses, we are taking each day as it comes while adhering to guidelines set out by Governments both in our recruiting countries and of course in the US. Our team are all working remotely but have the resources in place to support you
It is the beginning of April and for many camps, the summer is still far enough away that they remain positive and plan to run their camps as expected this year. Camps are flexible and more than willing to change arrival dates should the need arise.
Rest assured we are actively evaluating every scenario – regardless of the outcome. We are liaising with camps, The US Department of State and embassies. We are not yet at the stage where we will need to implement placement deferrals.
Obviously there continue to be many unknowns.
For the time being, we ask you for something challenging. We ask you for patience and understanding and thank the many of you who have sent positive comments and emails to us. We are all in this together.
Your positive response so far has been AMAZING!!!!
Date: March 20th
Our summer camps are continuing to operate are excited to welcome you this summer. Camps are aware of challenges and are more than flexible to accommodate adjusted arrival times if need be.
Date; March 16th
As predicted on Saturday, many US embassies around the world may be temporarily halting their non-immigrant visa interviews, such as the J-1 visa.
While this might seem to be unfortunate news, this was an expected short-term measure put in place to help limit large gatherings of people in combating the COVID-19 virus.
Please visit your country’s US Embassy for the most up to date information on their interview schedule for J1 exchange visitors. You can visit them here: https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-US/countries_list/niv. It’s important to remember that this is a short term measure and the summer season will be moving forward at this point.
Date: March 14th
Like many of you around the world, we have been keeping a close eye on the impact of the COVID-19 virus.
We expect the Summer season to happen. It is full steam ahead at IENA for this summer.
The US administration has given a strong and robust response to the management of the virus and have taken steps to restrict travel from 28 countries in mainland Europe for 30 days, beginning Friday March 13th. In addition, the US Department of State have closed all programs funded by them (Our programs are not) and have requested no program participants enter the country before May 10th. In addition certain embassies have been closed temporarily (Spain and Ireland for 2 weeks). We expect more to follow suite.
IENA welcomes this move. Social distancing and other measures should prove to curtail the spread of this virus.
Summer is still a few months away. IENA will continue to work towards our later May and June arrivals. Recent developments in many countries will of course mean that we may all have to work to accommodate changes that may occur to original plans, but we are confident we can work through these challenging times.
Our participants’ safety is always our number one priority and IENA are constantly reviewing our procedures and processes. Equally, we know that host employers will be putting stringent procedures in place to ensure their customers, campers and staff stay well and they remain operational.
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: https://www.who.int/.
As always, IENA is here to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have
If you have a departure date that falls before May 11th 2020 our team will be directly in touch with you.
If you are not due to travel on or before May 11th we recommend that you wait before contacting us with Coronavirus related queries to ensure we have the latest information available for your travel.
Frequently asked questions
Is American Summers Still going ahead?
As of right now, yes. We are planning for the summer to go ahead
Can I book my Visa appointment?
As of right now some US embassies have cancelled J1 visa appointments. Check with your embassy whether it is open in your country. If it is currently closed, we will notify you, when it is re-opened.
If I already have a J-1 Visa Appointment Booked, I’m fine?
Many embassies have already suspended appointments. They will contact you to rebook as soon as they are opening. Check with the embassy in your country, whether it is still open, and you can attend your appointment. If your embassy closed, they should have e mailed you.
If I cancel now due to Conronavisus, will I still get a refund?
As the program is still running and the government as still saying it will be safe to fly later in May, you will not get a refund for cancelling due to the virus
If my camp is cancelled, will I get a refund?
If your camp is cancelled, we will try to find you another camp.
If I contract the virus whilst on the program, will I be covered by the medical insurance?
Yes, as long as you were not diagnosed before you travel (in which case you should not travel)
Are camps still hiring for summer 2020?
Yes they are!