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60-day pause placed on J-1 visa programme over coronavirus concerns will not impact students travelling this summer

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Having fallen earlier in the week, stocks in carriers including Ryanair, Lufthansa, and Aer Lingus owner IAG posted strong gains early on.

Students planning to travel Stateside this summer are currently unaffected by the 60-day temporary pause which has been placed on J-1 visa programmes in response to coronavirus concerns.

The US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) on Thursday announced it is temporarily pausing all ECA-funded programs, including the J-1 visa, for 60 days.

The ECA plan to review the decision every 30 thereafter.

The announcement follows US President Donald Trump's move to declare the fast-spreading coronavirus "a national emergency".

However, a spokesperson for travel agency USIT told Independent.ie that the pause will only impact those travelling between now and May 11, 2020.

USIT said the situation could change as the outbreak progresses throughout the coming weeks.

The company are continuing to process applications for students who plan to depart this summer.

"In relation to the 60 day temporary pause for J-1 visa programmes (Summer Work & Travel, Camp USA, Coach Soccer, Graduate/Intern Trainee) this temporary pause only concerns those travelling between now and up until 11 May 2020 and as most students/graduates are travelling after that date, we will continue to process applications as normal for summer departures," a spokespersons said.

"We do recognise that this information may change, and are continuing to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs, ECA and US Sponsors to keep everyone abreast of the latest information as we receive it."

A US State Department Official said the exchange visitor program and the summer work travel category is not subject to the ECA-funded programme suspension, but recommends programme sponsors follow ECA's recommendation to postpone.

"The situation regarding COVID 19 continues to evolve rapidly. The health, safety, and welfare of exchange participants, and of the Americans with whom they interact, remains the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) highest priority," they told Independent.ie

"ECA strongly recommends that all sponsors of J-1 Visa exchange visitor programs take the steps that ECA is taking to address COVID-19-related concerns for ECA-funded exchange programs.

"ECA further urges sponsors to continue to follow guidance going forward for ECA-funded programs as the COVID-19 situation evolves, particularly with respect to future exchange visitor recruitment.

"As such, although the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP), including the Summer Work Travel category, is not specifically subject to the ECA-funded programme suspension, ECA strongly recommends that all EVP program sponsors follow ECA COVID-19 guidance, including postponing program start dates for 60 days after March 12, 2020.

"Consular sections around the world have adjusted, or may adjust, their provision of consular services depending on the local context. Visa applicants can visit the website of the US embassy or consulate where they are applying for a visa for more specific information."

Online Editors


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