Participants currently in the USA should contact CIEE on 1-888-268-6245
Applicants in the UK should email info@istplus.com or use the contact form on this page
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Covid-19 - Visa Services and Restrictions

Update: 16 June, 2020

For the latest updates from the US Embassy please regularly check their Coronavirus Update Page

In response to significant worldwide challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State continues to suspend routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Embassies and consulates canceled all routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of March 20, 2020, but continue to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services as resources and local conditions allow. We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Please see these notices which contain detailed information about the current status of visa services worldwide and visa restrictions related to the COVID-19 global pandemic.


What this means for you:

  1. If you have already received your visa from the US Embassy and your trip to the US has been delayed: CIEE are working with host companies in the US to make sure they are able to comply with the new "post COVID" guidelines and to work on new dates for you. While general J1 programmes are due to recommence on June 10th, there is still a travel ban in place to the US, and a continued pause on hospitality programmes. You will not require a new visa but it is likely you will require a new DS2019 Certificate to show your new dates in SEVIS BEFORE you are able to travel to the USA. Please make sure you stay in regular contact with your supervisor in the USA.

  2. If you have previously booked your visa interview, but have had it delayed due to the current pandemic, you should regularly check the embassy booking website and also check your email for messages from the visa team at the US Embassy

  3. There is likely to be a significant backlog and waiting time for interviews once restrictions are eased due to the number of people who have not been able to attend an interview in March, April and May 2020. In many cases, start dates will need to be delayed - CIEE are working with Host Companies in the US to amend dates where required and also working with them to adjust dates given the delays


If you have not yet booked your visa interview, you will need to check the US Embassy website for this and do so as quickly as possible once the embassy opens again. At present there is no date from the US Embassy as to when they will reopen for interviews. See For the latest updates from the US Embassy please regularly check their Coronavirus Update Page.


  1. At present, while general J1 visa programmes are expected to restart on the 10th June 2020, there is at present a further pause on hospitality programmes in the USA. This is because of the significantly greater impact on these business of the virus. The US government has asked all sponsors to re-contact all Host Companies (even those for whom programmes have previously been approved) to get additional information from them regarding the impact of COVID 19 on their business, and further information of the impact this has had on their domestic workforce (ie if they have had to lay off US workers as a result of the pandemic).

We would urge all participants to stay in regular contact with their host company supervisors in the US as thy will be best placed to let you know of the local impact and restrictions they face.


In addition to the above, both the US and UK governments at present still have a ban on all non-essential travel, so until these are lifted, there will be no travel to the USA

We know this is a frustrating and difficult time for everybody - please be patient and remain in contact with your potential hosts in the USA.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email our team using the contact form below - but please also bear in mind that it may take 2-3 days for a response due to the volume of enquiries we are getting - and our teams are all presently working from their homes!

Thank you.

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IST Plus was formed in 2003. Since then we have worked with thousands of students and young people from all over the world to help and guide them on their international journeys.
We work with partners across the globe to provide the best service possible.

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