New Efforts to Attract Foreign STEM Talent

UPDATE - January 24, 2022 

The Biden administration announced new efforts to modernize parts of our immigration system, remove barriers to legal immigration, and promote educational exchange. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will add 22 new fields of study in the STEM Optional Practical Training program through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, and will implement a series of additional changes to allow foreign students, scholars, and researchers to come to and remain in the United States.

The new efforts will allow foreign STEM talent—international students graduating from U.S. universities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—to continue to make meaningful contributions to America’s scholarly, research and development, and innovation communities. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

UPDATE - December 7, 2021

Please see an important update from the CDC for all International Air Travelers Destined for the United States:

As of December 6, all air passengers eligible for entry into the United States, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before travel to the United States with limited exceptions or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 90 days. More details on this requirement for all non-immigrant travelers is available here:

UPDATE - October 20, 2020

In June, the White House issued Executive Order 10052, banning the issuance of many J-1 visas. This ban compounded challenges presented earlier in the year due to COVID-19 and restrictions on processing at consulates abroad.   

But there is good news.  

On October 1, a lawsuit was successful in blocking the Executive Order for the time being for some of those affectedJ-1 visa applicants with host organizations who are members of the plaintiff organizationsthe U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, Technet, and Intraxcan proceed with their J-1 visa applications. More information about the government’s plan to implement this ruling is available from the State Department. In addition, we understand that some of the plaintiff organizations are welcoming new members. 

If you are a host organization that is a member of one of these organizations or if you are an attorney whose host client is a member of one of these organizations, we would like to hear from you. The Council may be able to assist you with advancing your J-1 needs. Please email our Cultural Exchange team at [email protected] so we can immediately follow up with you. 

UPDATE - May 12, 2020

Due to State Department Global Level 4 Health Advisory, all ECA funded in-person programs will remain paused until further notice. For more information, visit the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs website.

UPDATE - April 22, 2020

Various foreign governments are organizing flights for their citizens. These specific governments have asked sponsors to encourage visitors to contact the appropriate embassy or consulate at their website or e-maill address here. Note: this list does not contain all countries; please review the document to see if your country is listed.

UPDATE - March 31, 2020

Due to the given uncertainty caused by the lack of available flights and ongoing travel restrictions, the Department of State and the American Immigration Council recommends that J1's, host organizations, and attorneys proactively reach out to the exchange visitor's respective embassy/consulate if they are unable to book a return flight home. A growing number of embassies are posting special communications on both their websites and social media pages for their exchange visitors to make contact with them.

PLEASE CHECK IN WITH YOU RESPECTIVE EMBASSY IN THE U.S. Remember to keep us informed regarding any plans to travel outside of the U.S.

UPDATE - March 16, 2020

In an attempt to help protect the health, safety, and welfare of J1 program participants and the American public, there will be a temporary pause of International Exchange Programs due to COVID-19. Based on guidance from the Department of State, we will be pausing programs for 60 dayseffective March 11th, 2020. We will keep you updated if anything changes. 


Please be advised that due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) the U.S. Department of State has implemented travel restrictions and policies to attempt to contain the spread within the United States and overseas.

We recommend closely monitoring the U.S. Department of State regarding country specific travel warnings, recommendations, as well as entry and exit requirements. If training plan dates for your program need to be adjusted, contact your case manager directly, email [email protected], or call us at 202-507-7532 for further instructions.

We urge you to reconsider traveling abroad at this time due to the global impact of COVID-19. Many areas of the world are experiencing outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions, often without notice. If you have an emergency, please reach out to your case manager directly or email [email protected]. Please note that if you do have our signature authorizing international travel on your DS-2019, our signatures are valid for one year.

If you have any questions about your insurance coverage through IMG, please visit the Envisage Global Insurance site for updates.

Please consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding recommended preventative measures to avoid exposure to this virus.