CORONA VIRUS (COVID19) UPDATES Click Here for FAQ

Exchange Visitor Program Information
on Coronavirus (COVID-19):

AHA, the global partners and host employers we work with all share the common priority, the well-being of our exchange visitor participants.   As this situation is evolving daily, it is important that we all stay informed.  The below captures many of the Frequently Asked Questions.   AHA continues to monitor the situation closely and will adjust the below guidence needed as additional information is available.  If you have a question that is not answered, please email Manager@AmericanHospitalityAcademy.com

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC"), World Health Organization ("WHO"), State Department and DoS Exchange Visitor Program have published guidance that is continuously revised as more COVID-19 information is learned.

For the latest updates on travel view embassy contacts for repatriation assistance and consult embassy websites for guidance. The U.S. Department country-specific information and current travel restrictions.  AHA's global partners are available to assist participants in researching flight availability and booking options.   

New Applicants – AHA has paused accepting new applications for full placement service until further notice.   Currently AHA plans to continue to offer programs after June 10th, 2020.   We will continue to monitor the situation.

Applicants currently in the application/placement process, still in their home country -  Currently AHA plans to sponsor programs with June 10th or later start dates.  Please continue to login to your acccount, view status and complete items requested.  

New Global Partner Inquiries – AHA has paused all applications at this time, until further notice.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Given the uncertainty of available flights and ongoing travel restrictions, it is strongly recommended to proactively reach out to respective embassies or closest consulate if you are unable to book return flights home. A growing number of embassies are posting special communications on their websites and social media for their exchange visitors in order to make contact with them.  Additionally contact your Global Partner who remains available to assist and finally, always keep AHA informed of your status.  

Resources
Embassy Contacts
DOS- Current Travel Restrictions
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/consularnotification/ConsularNotificationandAccess.html

Guidance for participants unable to depart the U.S.
 
J-1 exchange visitors are permitted to remain in the U.S. up to 30 days past the end date, known as Grace Period.  However, we are aware that some exchange visitors are unable to return home because their countries have closed their borders/unavailable flights.  
 
If your program ended between April 1st and May 31st or your program was canceled/shortened due to COVID-19 the Department of State has notified these programs can be extended by two months (May 31st) in order to provide exchange visitors the opportunity to continue to finalize travel plans to return home.  

You must contact AHA and complete the necessary steps to receive this extention.
 

 
 

If your host company is suspending business temporarily, they may offer you a furlough. A furlough will keep you on as an active employee, without receiving training hours or an income. This is at the discretion of your host company in hopes business will resume as normal. AHA will allow you to be on furlough for a brief period of time. You should only consider accepting a furlough if you have safe housing and are confident you can support yourself without pay during this time. Please also note that there is no guarantee your program will resume. If after a brief pause your host company still cannot offer you any amount of training hours, you will need to return home.

If your host company has ended your training and you aren’t guaranteed to resume after a brief pause, you will need to depart the US, as soon as you are able.   The hospitality and tourism industry is heavily affected by the pandemic, therefore securing a new host/transferring is not possible at this time considering the nationwide effect the outbreak has had on the hospitality industry and economy at large.

Global partners are available to investigate flight options for their citizens, research guidance from embassy and consulate and assist with booking return flights. 
 

If the closure is currently anticipated to be brief and the host is confident that the training can resume as previously outlined in the training plan once the business has returned to normal operations, the participant may pause training and resume later.   The participant must have safe housing and must be able to support themselves during the interim.   

If your host can accommodate a return, the return request will be carefully reviewed for approval.  Depending on the circumstances, participants will need to receive new eligibility documents and may need to renew their visa/apply for new visa.  Please note, the DoS has informed sponsors they are aware that some trainees and interns returned home prematurely due to circumstances beyond their control (COVID). When resumption of such programs is safe and practicable, the Department will consider sponsor requests for extensions beyond the maximum duration to make up for some of the lost time.   Please note that new host sites and/or transfers are not available at this time considering the nationwide effect the outbreak has had on the hospitality industry and economy at large.

 

Please inform the participant and AHA right away, the participant will need to return home early.  The hospitality and tourism industry is heavily affected by the pandemic, therefore securing a new host is not possible at this time.   AHA has advised all participants whose program has ended to make plans to return home as soon as they are able, as soon as it is safe and feasible.  Global partners are available to investigate flight options for their citizens, research guidance from embassy and consulate and assist with booking return flights. 

Given the extenuating circumstances, this is permitted but only for a short period of time. Please note that the hours that the participant is training for must be in approved tasks. It is preferred to reduce the number of hours to provide quality, compliant training than to conduct activities outside of the regulations of the program category.

J-1 participants are not eligible for unemployment benefits

The IRS FAQ’s section on the Covid-19 stimulus payment addresses questions on eligibility and returning the payment.  
 
Does someone who is a resident alien qualify for the payment? (Added May 6,2020)
A person who is a non-resident alien in 2020 is not eligible for the Payment. A person who is a qualifying resident alien with a valid SSN is eligible for the Payment only if he or she is a qualifying resident alien in 2020 and could not be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer for 2020. Aliens who received a Payment but are not qualifying resident aliens for 2020 should return the Payment to the IRS.
 
What should I do to return an Economic Impact Payment (EIP)? (Added May 6, 2020)
You should return the payment as described below.
 
If the payment was a paper check:
  1. Write "Void" in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
  2. Mail the voided Treasury check immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
  3. Don't staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
  4. Include a note stating the reason for returning the check. 
 
If the payment was a paper check and you have cashed it, or if the payment was a direct deposit:
  1. Submit a personal check, money order, etc., immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
  2. Write on the check/money order made payable to “U.S. Treasury” and write 2020EIP, and the taxpayer identification number (social security number, or individual taxpayer identification number) of the recipient of the check.
  3. Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the EIP.
For your paper check, here are the IRS mailing addresses to use based on the state:
 
If you live in… then mail to this address
Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont
Andover Refund Inquiry Unit
310 Lowell St Mail
Stop 666A
Andover, MA 01810
Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia

Atlanta Refund Inquiry Unit
4800 Buford Hwy
Mail Stop 112
Chamblee, GA 30341
Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas

Austin Refund Inquiry Unit
3651 S Interregional Hwy 35
Mail Stop 6542 
Austin, TX 78741
New York

Brookhaven Refund Inquiry Unit
5000 Corporate Ct.
Mail Stop 547
Holtsville, NY 11742
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Fresno Refund Inquiry Unit
5045 E Butler Avenue
Mail Stop B2007
Fresno, CA 93888
Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, West Virginia

Kansas City Refund Inquiry Unit
333 W Pershing Rd
Mail Stop 6800, N-2
Kansas City, MO 64108
Alabama, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee

Memphis Refund Inquiry Unit
5333 Getwell Rd Mail
Stop 8422  
Memphis, TN 38118
District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island


Philadelphia Refund Inquiry Unit
2970 Market St
DP 3-L08-151
Philadelphia, PA 19104
A foreign country, U.S. possession or territory*,
or use an APO or FPO address,
or file Form 2555 or 4563, or are a dual-status alien.


Austin Refund Inquiry Unit
3651 S Interregional Hwy 35
Mail Stop 6542 AUSC
Austin, TX 78741
 
If you have questions regarding qualifying resident alien, you may contact the organization who prepared your tax return, contact the IRS directly, Sprintax or  a tax provider  to assist with your individual situation.
 

 

It is important you call your insurance company before seeking ANY medical care. Failure to do so can result in higher expense. Healthcare benefits and restrictions will apply as normal if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 while in the United States. Your coverage is based on your Schedule of Benefits as outlined in your policy, and COVID-19 will be treated as any other illness or injury.

If, once in the United States, a participant has to return to their home country due to any reason: personal choice, host ending the program, a Covid-19 emergency, there is no reimbursement of fees. Once an exchange visitor returns home and an insurance claim was not filed while in the U.S. the insurance policy can be shortened and eligible for a pro-rated refunded.

No.  Due to the regulations of the J-1 Exchange Visitor program, under no circumstance are J-1 visa holders permitted to seek a second form of employment. You can only train at the host company listed on your Training Plan.

We understand no one could have anticipated this. All participants signed a financial verification document confirming access to at least $2000. This document also confirmed you must purchase a roundtrip ticket or have funds available for ticket in the event your program ends early without notice. AHA cannot purchase flights on your behalf, please ask for assistance from your guarantor, parent, guardian.

AHA relies on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to follow protocol in place to detect and slow the spread of the virus. No other individual action should be taken unless recommended by the CDC or local health officials. Please inform AHA if you are requiring any additional steps for exchange visitors, such as mandated screening or quarantine, outside of what is already required by DHS and CBP.

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