US suspends J1 visa for at least 60 days
Bad news for anyone looking for a J1.
The J1 visa, a visa commonly used by Irish college students and recent graduates to temporarily work and live in the United States, has been suspended for 60 days.
The move was announced as part of a raft of measures introduced by the US to curb the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19. Among these measures is a ban on flights to the US from Schengen Zone countries (this ban does not presently include Ireland or the United Kingdom).
The suspension was confirmed by the US Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, amid the declaration of a state of national emergency. There is also an option to extend the suspension by a further 30 days.
In a statement on their website, J1 organisers USIT have acknowledged the uncertain times currently facing Irish young people looking to travel to the US.
"We are in constant communication with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), our US Sponsors and our Partners, who are helping us monitor the situation closely. We want to assure you that we are committed to providing you with the best advice based on the information that is available to us and ask you to be patient as we work together to understand how and when we can travel safely.
"For those of you who have a payment deadline approaching for your USIT Summer or Work Abroad Programmes, we understand that you are concerned. We will communicate with each of you closer to your payment deadline with information. We will be as flexible as possible with your payment deadlines.
"Our first priority is the safety of our customers and USIT employees, and we are doing everything possible to support the containment of Covid 19.
"The USIT team are optimistic that by following the official advice from our government, we will be able to embrace travel again soon."