J1 Visa Update: Suspension of non-immigrant visas expired | Travel restrictions for certain countries still in place

! Update ! At midnight on April 1, 2021 the Presidential Proclamation 10052 drafted by Trump last June limiting non-immigrant visas, including the J-1 intern and trainee, quietly expired. This is the second milestone in dropping a slew of COVID related restrictions on global mobility and travel to the USA (the first was the February cancellation of green card applicant restrictions) and reinforces unconfirmed rumors out of Washington DC that remaining restrictions may be lifted in the coming months.

Yet still... While the expiration of PP10052 means that many US embassies may resume normal operations, several areas of the world remain under specific travel restrictions and therefore will continue to operate only at a reduced or emergency capacity. 

Travel restrictions by Suspension of Entry Proclamation 10143 remain; entry of anyone having been physically present in the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), the Republic of Ireland, the Federative Republic of Brazil, and the Republic of South Africa within the previous 14 days is prohibited from entering the USA.

The language of this proclamation allows US Embassies to suspend issuing visas to nationals from those restricted countries. Permanent Residents of the USA (green card holders or citizens) and their immediate families are not subject to these travel restrictions.

What does this mean for BelCham's J1 visa program?

  • BelCham is currently accepting new applications (from all nationalities) and working directly with interns, trainees, and host companies to determine reasonable timelines. 
  • Intern & Trainee J-1 Applicants who are residents of any country listed in PP10143 (including Belgium) are subject to ongoing travel restrictions and cannot travel to the United States directly from the restricted countries. Please contact BelCham directly for further information.
  • Other Visa Categories (including H-1B, L, O, E, etc) are subject to these travel restrictions and are advised to contact their legal counsel for guidance regarding any eligibility for a National Interest Exception (NIE). BelCham can direct you to resources and an expert community, if desired.

Quick facts:

  • Presidential Proclamation 10052 took effect June 24, 2020 and expired March 31, 2021. The H-1B, H-2B, L and J visa categories were concerned (included J-1 Interns and Trainees). Timeline - DOS here
  • Presidential Proclamation 10143, issued January 25, 2021, suspends entry of noncitizens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry. This proclamation replaced PP 9993 issued on March 11, 2020, by the previous administration. 
  • Effective January 26, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all air passengers entering the United States (including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents) to present a negative COVID-19 test, taken within three calendar days of departure or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days​. 

Useful links:

  • For travel guidance and restrictions USA > Belgium, please check the Embassy website here
  • For CDC guidance on covid19 and travel here
  • Country-specific travel advisories here + U.S. Embassy pages for updates on the impact of COVID-19 worldwide here
  • BelCham J1 visa program info here

BelCham has been a trusted sponsor, accredited and mandated by the Department of State to administer the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program for nearly 20 years. We remain committed to the health, safety, and wellbeing of our participants, now and in the future, and will continue to monitor future developments. Reach out with questions to sarah@belcham.org. To better assist you, please consider filling out this short survey (2min), and outline your upcoming HR/recruitment/talent needs. 

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