Student Travel Policies
TRAVEL IN THE U.S. WITH THE HOST FAMILY OR EXCHANGE PROGRAM COORDINATOR
To travel with his or her host family or Exchange Program Coordinator within the U.S. during the school year, the travel must comply with the student’s school schedule. The Exchange Program Coordinator must be made aware of the student’s contact information in case of emergency. Students are not permitted to share a hotel room with the Exchange Program Coordinator or other trip chaperones outside of their host family. Furthermore, they are not permitted to share a hotel bed with a host parent, or a host sibling of the opposite gender.
Students may not arrive in the U.S. early for purposes of travel.
As the SHARE! High School Exchange Program is an academic program, students are not promised the opportunity to travel while in the U.S. Host families and Exchange Program Coordinators are not obligated to provide the student with travel opportunities. If your student would like to go on a trip with other exchange students (with the permission of his or her host family and high school), please have them visit www.explore-america.com
TRAVEL WITHOUT THE HOST FAMILY OR EXCHANGE PROGRAM COORDINATOR
This includes travel with the student’s biological family, biological family friends, classmates’ parents, host family relatives, school clubs, etc. (Students are not permitted to go on trips with other exchange student organizations.)
Visits from or to the student’s family or family friends are not permitted within the first 6 months of the start of school (or at any point during the program, for single-semester students).
Students must be with an adult 25 or older for any travel. They may travel by plane, taxi or limo by themselves but someone 25 or older must drop them off and pick them up. They are not permitted to travel long-distance on a train, bus, or in a car without someone 25 or older.
Well in advance of the trip, a letter of invitation must be sent to the Exchange Program Coordinator from the adult(s) who will be responsible for the student during the trip (for example, the adult chaperone or the adult whose home the student will visit). This letter must include an exact itinerary as well as contact information for each stop on the itinerary. If travel is approved, the SHARE! National Office will obtain a signed Program Release of Liability from the student’s natural parents and a criminal background check for all adults 18 years or older who the student will be traveling with or visiting.
Travel of this nature also requires the permission of the host family and high school.
For travel outside of the U.S., including cruises and travel to Canada and Mexico, the student must send his or her DS-2019 form (which is inserted into the student’s passport) into the ERDT National Office for a signature, well in advance of the trip. This is the only way the student will be allowed back into the USA, as his or her visa is for a single entry into the US. Contact your Exchange Program Coordinator for detailed instructions.
Students should contact the consulate of the country they are visiting (contact information can be found online) to determine visa and entry requirements for citizens of the student’s home country.
If students travel overseas after the program, they must take all belongings with them and return directly to their home country (SHARE! will not sign DS-2019 forms for students to re-enter the U.S. after their departure from the host family’s home).
END OF PROGRAM TRAVEL
At the end of the school year, students are required to depart for their home country within 7-10 days. A specific itinerary with dates and places must be submitted to your Exchange Program Coordinator well in advance of the end of school. Your coordinator will then submit the itinerary to the SHARE! National Office for consideration. (Note: Travel plans that require the student to remain in their host family's for more than 10 days after the end of school will likely be rejected.) This includes travel with the host family or with the student’s biological parents. Again, students are not permitted to travel alone with anyone under 25 at ANY time.
After end-of-program travel, students must not plan to return to the host family’s home, but should take all belongings with them and return directly to their home country. This includes overseas travel (SHARE! will not sign DS-2019 forms for students to re-enter the U.S. after their departure from the host family’s home).
VISITS TO/FROM STUDENT’S FAMILY OR FAMILY FRIENDS
Visits from or to the student’s family or family friends are not permitted within the first 6 months of the start of school and are discouraged until the end of the program. Single-semester students may not have visits from or to family or family friends until the end of the program. Students must notify their Exchange Program Coordinator that family are visiting prior to the ticket booking, so that the visit can be approved by the National Office. Failure to provide
Host families should not feel obligated to have the student’s biological family visit at any time, and should also consider carefully whether they would prefer the parents stay at their home or in a nearby hotel, especially as even casual invitations are perceived differently in different cultures. A visit from biological parents can confuse or put a strain on the relationship between host family