Frequently Asked Questions

The IAWG staff continuously compiles a list of frequently asked questions about IAWG operations, international exchanges and training activities, and program administration. Answers are provided below.

Questions can be submitted to the staff at: IAWGMail@state.gov

Click here to view the International Visitor Programs FAQ

Question: In light of the events of September 11, does the IAWG provide policy guidance and information on travel warnings, public announcements, and other policies relating to the administration of international exchanges and training programs.

Answer: The best source of information on travel warnings and public announcements is the State Department's Travel Website. When warranted, the IAWG will provide updates on the contents of this website to members and contributing federal organizations. Additionally, the IAWG will share agency-specific policies if it believes that such policies may increase understanding of the current situation or provide useful examples or benchmarks that could benefit the federal exchanges and training community. Please refer to the Meeting and Member Information page for updates. The IAWG will work with organizations to obtain policy guidance on specific issues and respond to information requests from members and contributing organizations as best it can.


Question: My organization receives a lot of requests for funding from individuals who would like to study in the United States. Does the IAWG have any resources that I can share with these individuals?

Answer: The IAWG does not provide financial resources for individuals hoping to study or participate in programs in the U.S. It is not a funding organization, nor does it have access to funds provided for such purposes by other agencies. For individuals interested in information on financial aid, the IAWG recommends that they visit the Information Resources for Students section of our website.


Question: My organization is designated to sponsor exchange participants on J visas. Does the IAWG play a role in administering these visas and can you help me interpret J visa policies?

Answer: The IAWG is not involved in the administration of J visa programs or the designation of J visa sponsors. However, the IAWG has conducted basic reviews of visa usage challenges and issues and continues to work with members to address these challenges. If you have questions about administering a J visa program or receiving designation as a J visa sponsor, you should contact the State Department's ECA Office of Designation at 202-632-9310. If you are experiencing visa-related problems with your exchanges and training programs, please contact the IAWG staff so that we can continue to monitor these issues. We also may be able to put you in touch with another organization that has experienced and overcome similar difficulties.


Question: Will it be possible to query or view data on participants by program/objective by country? I can find data on incoming and outgoing participants by the sponsoring federal agency on a global and regional basis. I can also find them by country but not by program or objective by country. Will that information be available?

Answer: The IAWG has developed an advanced report-generating system that enables you to query our Federal Exchanges Data System (FEDS/www) to develop reports by country, region, department/agency, or national interest. Please go to http://www.iawg.gov/private/FedsReports to generate a customized report.


Question: What preferred housing options, other than homestays, are available to U.S. Government-sponsored international visitors (groups and individuals) in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area at reasonable rates?

Answer: There are two ways that you may want to approach this issue. First, you can explore hotels in the DC area that offer a government rate and determine if they will extend this rate to non-government employees traveling on government business or programs. Check with your organization's travel agent for best available rates at hotels around the United States:

Second, many universities open their dormitories to short-term "renters" during the summer months. We know of at least one university that houses longer-term guests as well as folks who are in town for only a few days. Generally, these are "bare-bones" accommodations, but are offered at significantly lower costs than hotels. You may want to contact area colleges and universities to determine if they offer accommodations. But be warned, these are attractive housing options to interns and tour groups, and therefore, fill up quickly.

If readers have additional suggestions, please send them to the IAWG, and we'll include them in our response.


Question: As a member of the IAWG, are there any materials available to me that I can use to explain to colleagues the nature of the IAWG and its goals and objectives?

Answer: The IAWG makes various briefing materials available to its member organizations, ranging from one-page information sheets to automated PowerPoint presentations. You also can refer people to our public website at www.iawg.gov. Please contact the IAWG staff for more details or click here to obtain briefing materials.

Questions can be submitted to the staff at: IAWGMail@state.gov