On occasion, AFS Participants will need to return home prior to the completion of their program for several reasons including adjustment problems, behavioral issues, illness, parent(s)/guardian(s) emergencies, etc. In most cases, AFS-USA will work with our AFS Partners to rebook the international travel. Once travel is confirmed, the international e-ticket will be emailed to you and your student together with any special logistics instructions. Your local volunteer would work with you regarding travel to the departure airport.
Early Return for Personal Reasons
When a participant decides to return home early for non-urgent reasons, this is called an “early return for personal reasons.” If your hosted participant plans to leave the U.S. before the end of the program and return directly home for personal reasons, they will forfeit all AFS Program services except medical coverage. Forfeited AFS Program services include the care, welfare, and support of the participant; costs for any food, lodging, or travel from the participant’s host family to the international gateway airport; and transit assistance at airports in the U.S. Medical coverage will remain in effect until the international flight lands in the participant’s home country. A hosted participant that decides to return home early for non-urgent or non-programmatic reasons should contact their parent(s)/guardian(s)s, who should then contact the home-country AFS Office to arrange for their teen’s return.
Emergency Travel Home
Sometimes participants need to return home for short periods of time in the middle of their program due to an emergency or a death of their parent(s)/guardian(s). In these cases, the participant who flies home and then returns to the U.S. to continue their program is responsible for purchasing a new international ticket from an airport close to their hosting community and back. By purchasing this additional ticket, their international ticket can be utilized for their return flight. As they are choosing to return home for a specific reason, and are temporarily off the program while home, they are expected to travel unassisted from their hosted community to their home country. However, this will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For eligibility requirements to receive airfare reimbursement for participant’s temporary return to home country due to life-threatening illness, injury, or death of immediate family member, refer to the Trip Interruption, Additional Benefits Section of the AFS Medical Plan for additional information.
In addition, to reenter the US after traveling abroad, your hosted participant must present to the Border Official, their original DS-2019 Form validated for travel by an AFS Responsible Officer. A signed DS-2019 form [Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visiting (J-1) Status] confirms that the student is in good standing with their AFS program and allows them to re-enter the U.S. from their home country. For more details, please see Participant Travel Outside the U.S. and reach out to your Liaison or Participant Support Specialist.