The US, J1 summer visa program will be suspended for 60 days after US President Donald Trump proclaimed the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency, last night.

The country’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State announced that several programs, including a J1 visa, will be temporarily suspended.

“The situation regarding COVID 19 continues to evolve rapidly. The health, safety, and welfare of exchange participants, and of the Americans with whom they interact, remains the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) highest priority,” according to an official statement.

ECA asked the sponsors of this program to follow the steps that ECA is taking in the fight against COVID-19, VisaGuide.World reports.

ECA also announced that last week has temporarily suspended all its programs that involve the travel process to and from countries that are highly affected by the coronavirus.

The USIT travel agency, which is responsible for the administration of visas in Ireland said that all applications will be examined in due course.

This afternoon, the USIT also clarified that the move only currently affects those travelling between now and up until May 11, 2020.

The suspension of the J1 summer visa program for 60 days will affect student’s travel plans, especially Irish students.

Lorna Fitzpatrick, President of Union of Students in Ireland stressed that the situation is concerning but people should not panic.

According to her, students should contact their provider, and check the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs for every information added.

Up to 3,000 persons participated in the work and study program during 2019. The number of applicants interested in this program represents a drop compared to 2013 when more than 8,000 students visited the US  for summer work.

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