At Cultural Vistas, the health and well-being of our exchange program participants, hosts, and staff is of paramount importance to us.
Our team is closely monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and is actively assessing the potential impact on its global community.
This continues to be a fast-evolving situation. As such, we are assessing the impact of our programs and services daily and continually planning for future scenarios, including adjusted program models and planned events as warranted and/or recommended.
As the situation evolves, this page will be updated to provide the latest information, support, and guidance to our exchange community around the world and here in the United States.
News and Updates
Message from Our President (3.23.20)
Message from Our President (3.13.2020)
Private Sector Exchange Visitor Programs, including Intern + Trainee Exchanges (Updated: January 5, 2021)
On June 22, the White House signed a Presidential Proclamation suspending the issuance of visas for most new, work-based, nonimmigrant programs from June 24 through December 31, 2020. The expiration date has since been extended to March 31, 2021. This proclamation included the J-1 Intern and Trainee categories (in addition to H-1B, H-2B and L-1 visa classifications).
This proclamation DOES NOT impact Cultural Vistas programs! Cultural Vistas is actively evaluating and extending J-1 Intern and Trainee visa sponsorship for all new eligible programs.
On October 1, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California placed an injunction on the June 22 proclamation. In part, the judge ruled that the proclamation no longer applies to the plaintiffs and that the plaintiff’s J-1 Visa programs are now permitted to proceed as usual. The plaintiffs in this case include the following associations and their members – U.S. Chamber of Commerce, TechNet, the National Association of Manufacturers, National Retail Federation, and Intrax.
Cultural Vistas is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; therefore, we are able to sponsor J-1 Intern, Trainee, and Teacher Visa Programs with any start dates, and U.S. Consulates are permitted to issue visas accordingly.
Travel Restrictions: Entry into the United States is currently restricted for non-U.S. citizens without a ‘national interest exemption’ based in the European Schengen area, the U.K., Ireland, Brazil or China. There is no current expiration date for these restrictions. Non-essential travel is also restricted from Canada and Mexico for entry by land only (flights are not impacted) – this largely has no impact on J-1 programs.
U.S. Consulates: U.S. Consulates are accommodating eligible J-1 Visa appointments; however, some are functioning at limited capacity due to COVID-19. Additionally, ability to issue visas in travel restricted areas varies by consulate. Some may not accommodate appointments or issue the visas until after the restrictions are lifted. Given these circumstances, some individuals may experience longer visa wait times.
Individuals should plan for flexibility with program start dates. Once the visa is obtained, participants may travel to the U.S.
For questions about active or pending programs, please contact your primary program contact or contact us directly via the following form.
ECA- and Embassy-Funded Exchange Programs
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) announced on May 12 that due to the State Department’s Global Level 4 Health Others have pivoted to incorporate virtual programming and providing additional online resources. Cultural Vistas’ work as a National Program Agency in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) remains on hold.
Spring and Summer 2020 International Programs and Fellowships for Americans
Given the unprecedented circumstances, Cultural Vistas has made the decision to postpone or cancel the following spring and summer international program offerings for Americans. This decision was made in counsel with our Board of Directors, program funders, and many institutional partners around the world.
- Cultural Vistas Fellowship – Canceled (scheduled: June 2-August 5)
- STEM LAUNCH Study Tour of Germany – Canceled (scheduled: May 25-June 6)
- Summer Internship and University Programs in Europe + South America – Canceled
- Journalism in the Era of Disinformation Fellowship – Postponed (scheduled: May 16-22)
- IAESTE US Summer Internships – we are actively working with participants, host country committees, and companies to re-arrange placements where necessary and possible.
- Alfa Fellowship Program – 2020/2021 program year has been postponed
In addition to these measures, our staff is working with all participants taking part in active programs around the world to ensure their swift and safe return home.
In instances where departure has not been possible, we remain in regular communication with participants and program partners to determine and support the best course of action moving forward.
Through our partnership with Talkspace we are able to extend a special one-time discount of $100 (USD) to access online therapy services to all Cultural Vistas Alumni. You can message a licensed therapist from a mobile device — anywhere, at any time, making it easy to access to find support from your home, wherever in the world you are right now.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to receive your alumni discount code.