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IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

To all TraiNet/VCS Users:

As you are aware, data for participant training is to be entered within 30 days after the end of each FY quarter. However, as in past years, we are giving all implementers and missions a chance to review all data and make sure everything has been entered for the mandatory InterAgency Report (IAWG) to Congress that showcases USAID training activities.

This is the Last call to finalize the TraiNet data for FY 19. Please review the notes below and update all FY 19 data as needed by March 30, 2020.

  • In-country data for programs of 16 contact hours or more is mandatory. Sponsoring Units must enter data in TraiNet for any in-country training programs or sub-programs of two consecutive class days or more in duration, or 16 contact hours or more scheduled intermittently. However, Sponsoring Units should report any and all other in-country training events that are critical to their development effort - the more data that is entered the more complete the sponsoring unit's portfolio will appear.
  • R1's are reminded that in-country and third-country data is to have been entered by program length, not by the length of the award. We are still finding short programs showing as long-term (6 months or longer) because the award dates are being used, not the actual training dates.
  • All training costs regardless of location are to be entered as U.S. dollars.
  • NO U.S. citizen data may be entered.
  • If you sent individuals to the U.S. on an exemption of the use of a J visa as detailed in ADS 252, you must make sure a copy of the signed exemption has been sent to Linda Walker (lwalker@usaid.gov) and that the individuals listed on the form have been entered into TraiNet, but not submitted to VCS. If your exemptions were not entered into TraiNet they will not be included in the USAID total number of participants.
  • You MUST enter all of the various types of funding if other funding is being used such as host country funding, in-kind contributions, tuition waivers, personal funds from the participants, etc.:
    • Host Country Total
    • Private Total
    • Provider Total
    • Other Total
    Programs that did not move forward must be appropriately managed. Please contact the Help Desk if you have questions related to this type of program.

Information can be entered or updated even if a program has ended.

The more training that is entered, the better the country profile.

Questions on basic data entry should be directed to the Help Desk at TrainetSupport@usaid.gov .

Thank you for your support. As always, if you are no longer serving as an R1, R2 or R3, please let us know.

Linda Walker
lwalker@usaid.gov

To all TraiNet/VCS Users:

USAID has received the information below from the Department of State related to the Coronavirus. Of primary importance is the recommendation for a start date to be delayed until April 1 for for exchange visitors who are currently outside of the United States and are in China or who have visited China in the last 14 days:

Additional information is available on the Department of State and CDC Websites.

Information from the Department of State

"Initial exchange visitors should note that, on Friday, January 31 President Trump signed a proclamation barring entry to the United States of most foreign nationals who traveled to China within the 14 days preceding their entry to the United States. The proclamation is in effect as of Sunday, February 2. This action follows the declaration of a public health emergency in the United States related to the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. The full text of the presidential proclamation is available on the White House website at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspension-entry-immigrants-nonimmigrants-persons-pose-risk-transmitting-2019-novel-coronavirus/. This proclamation applies to all foreign nationals, except those who can meet one of the limited exceptions listed in the proclamation.

For exchange visitors who are currently outside of the United States and are in China or who have visited China in the last 14 days:

1. Initial exchange visitors:

a. Individuals in China - Delay their program start date (beyond at least April 1, 2020) and issue a new initial Form DS-2019, "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status."

b. All others - Delay their program start date until the applicant has been outside of China (and is not exhibiting symptoms of 2019-nCoV) for at least 14 days.

2. Active exchange visitors:

a. You may keep their SEVIS record active until the exchange visitor is able to return to the United States and continue with their original program objectives. Exchange visitors should be mindful of the validity dates of their J-1 visa; they may need to renew their visa before they return to the United States.

b. You may shorten their SEVIS records for authorized program withdrawal upon the exchange visitor's request.

For exchange visitors currently inside the United States:

1. Wherever needed, reinstate (if necessary) and extend the program of Chinese exchange visitors with upcoming end dates until April 1, 2020. Please note the Department does not have funding to support these extensions in terms of housing or food. Exchange visitor's activities must remain consistent with their original purpose of travel to the United States. Any program extension should include a program of activity appropriate to the J1 visa. The exchange visitor, sponsor, or supporting third parties will need to provide the funding for any program extensions. The Department notes that there are flights from the United States to China on foreign airlines and code-shares with US-flagged airlines and exchange visitors may prefer to return to China. "

Linda Walker
lwalker@usaid.gov

Dear TraiNet/VCS Colleagues,

TEAMS Tutorials Series :

Over the next 2-3 months, I will be sending out a series of short tutorials one at a time on a regular basis to provide you with previews of TEAMS. Each tutorial will cover a specific feature in TEAMS. The tutorials will build on each other so users will have a preview of all major features in TEAMS once all of the tutorials have been sent.

IMPORTANT ! SINCE TEAMS HAS NOT YET LAUNCHED, YOU ARE NOT YET ABLE TO LOGIN TO TEAMS AND CARRY-OUT USER ACTIONS COVERED IN THE TUTORIALS. THE TUTORIALS ARE BEING SENT TO YOU AT THIS TIME AS A PREVIEW ONLY TO HELP PREPARE YOU TO BE A USER OF TEAMS WHEN IT IS LAUNCHED.

Summary of Tutorials (additional tutorials will be added to cover more features):

TEAMS Tutorial 2 of 8: Creating a Non-U.S. Program and Adding Participants in TEAMS

With this message, I am are sending Tutorial 2 of 8, "Creating a Non-U.S. Program and Adding Participants in TEAMS". This video will show you what the TEAMS screens look like, and how to enter data for non-U.S. programs and participants. Again, you cannot login to TEAMS yet; the tutorial provides a preview of what you'll see when TEAMS is launched. The link to the tutorial is:

Please direct your questions regarding this tutorial to the new TEAMS Helpdesk at teams@usaid.gov.

best regards,
Susan

Susan Fickling
Project Director, TEAMS
Development InfoStructure, Inc. (Devis)

To all TraiNet/VCS users:

TraiNet/VCS will be offline multiple times for several weekends in the near future in order to migrate data from TraiNet/VCS to TEAMS.

Outages would occur only on weekends and notices will be posted if a user tries to login to the systems. Exact dates are not yet known.

If there is an issue with a participant that requires immediate attention during an outage, such as a date change to prevent a no-show issue, please contact me and I will manage the file directly in SEVIS.

Linda Walker
lwalker@usaid.gov

Administration change related to pregnant travelers

The Administration has initiated a new travel policy aimed at "birth tourism". The new policy went into effect today, January 24th. All Consul's have been notified. The new policy is currently aimed only at B-1/B-2 visa applicants, which would potentially impact individuals selected for a U.S.-based program and provided with an exemption to seek a B rather than a J-1 visa.

While there is a potential for very limited impact for USAID programs, you should be aware of the new directive. If you have questions, you should discuss the issue with your Consul.

If a problem presents itself related to a USAID J-1 program, please notify me so I can discuss the issue with the Program Designation Office and the Visa Section at the Department of State.

Linda Walker
lwalker@usaid.gov

To Implementers and missions: Please provide the Department of State issued information below to all of your U.S. based participants currently in the U.S. and add to your pre-departure orientation.

The following is an update regarding the Exchange Visitor Program and an increasing number of phone and email scams affecting exchange visitors. The Department has seen an uptick in housing and rental scams where exchange visitors transfer money before they start their program to a fraudulent realtor or landlord, scamming the victims out of hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Other reported scams involve phone calls from alleged government representatives demanding personal information and money with threats of deportation from the U.S. Please ensure that your respective exchange visitors know about phone and email scams and have access to resources to help them quickly and accurately determine the legitimacy of an email or caller.

Please refer to the links below for helpful resources to educate your exchange visitors on protecting their identity and information.

To all TraiNet/VCS users,

As of April 1, please submit your tax forms for each participant attending a short-term U.S. program to USAIDITIN@devis.com. Documents to include with the sponsoring unit cover letter remain the same: W-7 application, copy of passport face page, passport signature page, valid J-1 visa, DS 2019, and Conditions of Sponsorship. After April 1, please send any questions to USAIDITIN@devis.com.

To all TraiNet/VCS users:

USAID offers periodic training workshops on policies, procedures, and systems for Exchanges, Participant Training, and Visa Compliance, which are open to all USAID staff and implementing partners; especially those who are stakeholders in the implementation of USAID Exchange Visitor or Participant Training activities. The sessions are offered free of charge and will be conducted either virtually or in-person at the USAID Washington Learning Center (WLC). The training workshops take place over two days and cover USAID participant training, Visa Compliance policies and best-practices (ADS 252 and ADS 253), and a hands-on tutorial of the TraiNet and Visa Compliance Systems.


This message is to provide an update on upcoming TraiNet/VCS training dates. The next two training dates are:
  • July 24-25, 2019 (Conducted in-person at the WLC Nairobi Room, and conducted virtually)
  • September 11-12, 2019 (Conducted in-person at the WLC Nairobi Room, and conducted virtually)
If you are interested in attending one of these training sessions, please register your attendance with Travis Walden ( TWalden@usaid.gov ) as space is limited. In order to expedite the registration process we ask that you provide the following information:
  • Full Name
  • Email Address
  • Contact Phone
  • Organization
  • TraiNet Role (R1 or R2)
  • Training Date interested in
  • Indicate if you will attend the training in-person
Any USAID staff who wish to register via USAID University to get ILTP credit must first confirm space availability with the TraiNet-VCS Helpdesk, then register via USAID University. Recently, a large number of individuals have signed up for training but either cancel at the last minute, or do not respond to our requests to confirm attendance. Please note that any cancellation within four working days prior to the first day of training, or those that do not show up or attempt a VTC login, will result in being excluded from being able to participate in the next three training classes that are scheduled.


Training Notes
  • The sessions are free of charge for both in-person and virtual participation. Participants should prepare their own printed copies of ADS 252, ADS 253, and the Complete Guide to USAID Visa Compliance Systems. These materials will be referenced in the training. All TraiNet & VCS manuals and documents can be accessed here.

Topics covered by this course:
  • USAID's J-1 Visa Process
  • USAID's Automated Directive Systems Policies and Regulations: Identification of an Exchange Visitor

    • ADS 252 - Visa Compliance for Exchange Visitors
    • ADS 253 - Participant Training for Capacity Development

  • How to document the arrival and departure of Exchange Visitors
  • Pitfalls of Non-Compliance with USAID, U.S. Department of State and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations
  • The importance of data entry and collection


Participant Training and Exchanges team contact and main areas of responsibility

Questions related to ADS 252- Visa Compliance for Exchange Visitors, and ADS 253- Participant Training and Exchanges for Capacity Development, which include but is not limited to, documentation and forms, work authorizations, data requests, waivers of the 2-year home residency requirement, Health and Accident coverage, Human and Institutional Capacity Development (HICD), Mission Orders, ADS 252 and 253 policies, should be directed to a member of the PT team as noted on the PT help site:



The team will continue to work together to respond to all queries, but main areas of responsibility are shown below:


Ethel Brooks   ebrooks@usaid.gov:

ADS252/253, mission orders, TDY field support, U.S. taxes, HBCU/MSI reports


Jeffrey Shahan   jshahan@usaid.gov:

Visa compliance/SEVIS policy questions, TEAMS design, Human and Institutional Capacity Development (HICD), Mission field support


Linda Walker   lwalker@usaid.gov:

Documentation and forms, VCS submission, work authorizations, data/report requests, waivers of the 2-year home residency requirement, non-returnees, IAWG report


Reminder: When contacting the team:

PLEASE DO NOT ATTACH PARTICIPANT DOCUMENTS WITH PERSONAL INFORMATION SUCH AS COPIES OF DS 2019 FORMS, COPIES OF VISAS OR ANY OTHER COMPLETED FORM. ALL OF THESE CAN BE UPLOADED INTO A VCS FILE. If you need me to look up a participant that is already in VCS please send just the SEVIS ID number.

IF YOU HAVE A NEW PARTICIPANT AND MUST DISCUSS DOCUMENTATION YOU MUST PASSWORD PROTECT THE ATTACHMENTS. YOU MUST ALSO NOT CUT AND PASTE THE INFORMATION INTO AN EMAIL WHERE IT COULD BE READ BY OTHERS. PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE FULL NAMES AND DATES OF BIRTH.

Notice to all TraiNet/VCS users:

This is a reminder to all TraiNet users to enter in-country and third country training program data within 30 days of the end of each quarter. For this quarter, please enter all data by October 31, 2018. This requirement is found in ADS 253:
ADS 253.3.4.5 b. Participant Reporting (In country training)
ADS 253.3.5.5 e. Participant Reporting (third country training)

Notice to all TraiNet/VCS users:

All current TraiNet/VCS users have recently been notified by email with guidelines for contacting the help desk (TrainetSupport@usaid.gov) to request new R1s and R2s, and to add new projects to TraiNet. Please keep a copy of this email for future use.

To all TraiNet/VCS users,

Please note that as of Friday, March 30, the TraiNet/VCS help desk email address is changing from TrainetSupport@riverainc.com to TrainetSupport@usaid.gov. Please be sure to send any new help desk requests to the new email address as of March 30. If you sent a message to the help desk this week and you have not received a response, please forward your request to TrainetSupport@usaid.gov

All TraiNet/VCS website addresses remain the same.


Last Call to Finalize FY 17 Participant Data in TraiNet

As you are aware, data for participant training is to be entered within 30 days after the end of each FY quarter. However, as in past years, we are giving all implementers and missions a chance to review all data and make sure everything has been entered for the mandatory InterAgency Report (IAWG) to Congress that showcases USAID training activities.

This is the Last call to finalize the TraiNet data for FY 17. Please review the notes below and update all FY 17 as needed by May 11, 2018.

  • In-country data for programs of 16 contact hours or more is mandatory. Sponsoring Units must enter data in TraiNet for any in-country training programs or sub-programs of two consecutive class days or more in duration, or 16 contact hours or more scheduled intermittently. However, Sponsoring Units should report any and all other in-country training events that are critical to their development effort - the more data that is entered the more complete the sponsoring unit's portfolio will appear.

  • R1's are reminded that in-country and third-country data is to have been entered by program length, not by the length of the award. We are still finding short programs showing as long-term (6 months or longer) because the award dates are being used, not the actual training dates.

  • All training costs regardless of location are to be entered as U.S. dollars.

  • NO U.S. citizen data may be entered.

  • If you sent individuals to the U.S. on an exemption of the use of a J visa as detailed in ADS 252, you must make sure a copy of the signed exemption has been sent to Linda Walker (lwalker@usaid.gov) and that the individuals listed on that form have been entered into TraiNet, but not submitted to VCS. If your exemptions were not entered into TraiNet they will not be included in the USAID total number of participants.

  • You MUST enter all of the various types of funding if other funding is being used such as host country funding, in-kind contributions, tuition waivers, personal funds from the participants, etc.:
    • Host Country Total
    • Private Total
    • Provider Total
    • Other Total

Please review the definition of who is a participant in ADS 252 and 253. Foreign Assistance funds used for training activities are to be reported in TraiNet, even if they were reported in other types of reports. Only TraiNet captures the total combined training numbers and consolidates them into a report that goes to Congress to showcases all of USAID training activities across each FY. Likewise, if you sent individuals to the U.S. on a visa other than a USAID sponsored J that were not done as exemptions, none of these individuals will be reported in the IAWG report.

"Participant: An eligible host-country resident or national sponsored by USAID for a learning activity conducted within the U.S., a third country, or in-country for the purpose of furthering USAID development objectives. A learning activity takes place in a setting in which an individual (the Participant) interacts with a knowledgeable professional predominantly for the purpose of acquiring knowledge, skills, or information for the professional or technical enhancement of the individual. Learning activities may be formally structured, such as an academic program or a technical course, or they may be more informal, such as an observational study tour. (Chapters 252 and 253)."

  • Programs that did not move forward must be appropriately managed. Please contact the Help Desk if you have questions related to this type of program.

Information can be entered or updated even if a program has ended.

The more training that is entered, the better the country profile.

Questions on basic data entry should be directed to the Help Desk at TrainetSupport@usaid.gov . In your email, please include your AOR/COR, your Site ID, and the funding USAID office. Questions related to the IAWG report or how the data will be used may be directed to me.

Thank you for your support. As always, if you are no longer serving as an R1, R2 or R3, please let us know.

Linda Walker
lwalker@usaid.gov


USAID Exchange Visitor Visa Compliance, TraiNet/VCS and ADS Training

Notice related to travel ban and electronic devices

Please remain aware of all of the recent requirements and notices related to travel and visa issuance. It is expected that some or all elements of the various actions may change so anyone managing participant travel must watch for any new travel criteria.

The U.S. Department of State recommends the following two sites related to the proposed travel ban (currently under legal review):

https://share.america.gov/how-new-travel-order-works/

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/news/important-announcement.html

The latest information we have regarding the ban on electronic devices provided to USAID personnel in a travel advisory notice is shown below:

"Today, the United States government ordered nine airlines to stop passengers from bringing most electronic devices into the cabin for U.S.-bound flights from major airports in the Middle East and North Africa.

Passengers will have to check-in any electronic devices bigger than a smartphone including laptops, cameras, gaming devices and tablets such as iPads. Medical devices required during the flight will still be allowed in the cabin after security screening.

Which airports are involved?

Ten airports in eight countries - Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - are affected.

Which airlines are affected?

The nine airlines that operate direct flights to the U.S. from those airports are Egypt Air, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines.

U.S. airlines are not affected because none of them fly from the airports in question. Passengers will still be allowed to take electronic devices onto flights departing from the U.S.

The UK has also instituted a similar electronics ban.

The UK government today also announced an electronic devices ban on inbound flights from the Middle East and North Africa.

The ban on anything electronic larger than a normal smartphone will affect direct flights from six countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Under the new restrictions, passengers boarding flights to the UK from the countries affected will not be allowed to take any phones, laptops or tablets larger than a normal smartphone - specified as 16cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm.

UK airlines will come under the ban, including British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2, Monarch, Thomas Cook and Thomson. Foreign carriers affected are Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airways, Atlas-Global Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Egypt Air, Royal Jordanian, Tunis Air and Saudia."

The Participant Training Team will provide updates as they are made available to us by the Department of State.


Visa Processing Times Page has been updated

New Form AID 252-2 AID 252-2, Exemption of Requirement to Use USAID-Sponsored J-1 Visa

The Agency's Participant Training & Exchanges Team (E3/ED/PT&E) is pleased to notify USAID Mission and Washington staff that form AID 252-2, Exemption of Requirement to Use USAID-Sponsored J-1 Visa, was recently revised and is available on the USAID Forms page.

In accordance with ADS 252, USAID staff are required to use the AID 252-2 form to except foreign nationals, who are participating in U.S.-based USAID-sponsored activities, from the Agency requirement to use a USAID-Sponsored J-1 visa.

The form has been revised to clarify its use to except the Agency requirement for "USAID-Sponsored" J-1 visas, specifically. The form also includes other enhanced text and formatting features.

The new AID 252-2 form, dated November 2015, replaces the previous version of the form which was numbered AID 522-5 and dated June 2009. Mission and Washington staff should destroy copies of the previous form and begin using the revised form going forward for new programs.

AID 252-2, Exemption of Requirement to Use USAID-Sponsored J-1 Visa

Any questions concerning this notice may be directed to:
-- Ethel Brooks, E3/ED, (202) 712-4226, ebrooks@usaid.gov


New Form AID 252-1 Conditions of Sponsorship for U.S.-Based Activities

The Agency's Participant Training and Exchanges Team (E3/ED/PT&E) is pleased to notify USAID Mission and Washington staff that form AID 252-1, Conditions of Sponsorship for U.S.-Based Activities, has been revised and is available on the internal MyUSAID (intranet) Forms page. USAID implementers (contractors/grantees) may access the form on USAID's external (internet) Forms page.

In accordance with ADS 252, USAID staff are required to use the AID 252-1 form to obtain agreement from every selected individual participating in a U.S.-based activity with the Agency's Conditions of Sponsorship. The form has been revised to clarify certain USAID sponsorship conditions including, U.S. departure and home-country return, program termination, automobile operation and ownership, and repayment of program costs. The form also includes enhanced formatting features.

The new AID 252-1 form replaces the previous version of the form which was numbered AID 1381-6 and dated December 2013. Mission and Washington staff should destroy copies of the previous form and begin using the revised form.

AID 252-1, Conditions of Sponsorship for U.S.-Based Activities

Any questions concerning this notice may be directed to:
-- Ethel Brooks, E3/ED, (202) 712-4226, ebrooks@usaid.gov


New Form AID 253-1 Demand for Participant Training Costs Repayment
  • The Agency's Participant Training & Exchanges Team (E3/ED/PT&E) is pleased to notify USAID Mission and Washington staff that form AID 253-1, Demand for Participant Training Costs Repayment, has been revised and is available on the MyUSAID (intranet) Forms page.

    In accordance with ADS 253, the AID 253-1 form is used by USAID staff in carrying-out internal accounting procedures upon confirmation that a USAID-sponsored Participant has become a non-returnee or has been terminated by USAID from a program.

    The form has been revised to incorporate updated Office of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) administrative content, as well as enhanced formatting.

    The new AID 253-1 form replaces the previous version of the form which was dated June 2004. Mission and Washington staff should destroy copies of the previous form and begin using the revised form.

    Any questions concerning this notice may be directed to:
    -- Ethel Brooks, E3/ED, (202) 712-4226, ebrooks@usaid.gov

USAID Exchange Visitor Visa Compliance, TraiNet/VCS and ADS Training

Issuance of Partially Revised ADS Chapter 253, Participant Training and Exchanges for Capacity Development
  • This notice announces the partial revision of ADS Chapter 253, Participant Training and Exchanges for Capacity Development. This chapter has been revised to update the policy directives and required procedures for the design and implementation of Participant Training programs, including Exchanges, for foreign nationals that are financed, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by USAID. Foreign nationals, who are selected by the Agency to engage in Participant Training programs, including Exchanges, are considered Participants. See TraiNet Help Site for details.

Issuance of Partially Revised ADS Chapter 252, Visa Compliance for Exchange Visitors
  • This notice announces the partial revision of ADS Chapter 252, Visa Compliance for Exchange Visitors. This chapter has been revised to update the policy directives and required procedures related to visa compliance for foreign nationals who are traveling to the United States for any purpose, including invitational travel and participant training, and are financed (either program or administrative costs), in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by USAID. See Trainet Help Site for details.

Submission of files from TraiNet to VCS to obtain DS 2019 form for U.S.-based programs

USAID Exchanges and Participant Training team (AID/E3/ED/HEWT) has re-issued Form AID 1381-6
  • The USAID Exchanges and Participant Training team (AID/E3/ED/HEWT) has re-issued Form AID 1381-6, Conditions of Sponsorship for U.S.-Based Activities (see ADS 252.3.6), to make the form fully applicable to all U.S.-based activities, regardless of the USAID-sponsored traveler's visa type. This agreement between USAID and the sponsored traveler continues to fully reference the Exchange Visitor J-1 visa, as appropriate, but is now also applicable to travelers who have received an exception to USAID's policy regarding use of the J-1 visa (see ADS 252.3.1).

    Form AID 1381-6 (USAID Internal / External)

Participant Training Data Entry and Documentation
  • Please read this notice in it's entirety as the information for each level of responsibility will help you to understand why data must be entered so precisely and why each level of review is so critical.

    Recent events in Boston are bringing student visas into greater visibility within the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Congress. If you are modifying the end date of a program you must tick the box for a reprint. Updated forms are corrected within the Homeland Security database once submitted but you will only get a new form if you ask for one, they do not reprint automatically. You are also reminded that the implementer is responsible for making a copy of the DS 2019 and uploading it to VCS.

    Click here to access the message details.

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