Frequently Asked Questions

Update 1 April, 2020

We are aware that some J1 & Camp programme sponsors have reached out to USIT customers to offer advice regarding your programme applications. While we understand you have many questions regarding your applications, the information being provided by these companies cannot be guaranteed at present. Please bear with us while we work with the liquidator KPMG to provide information concerning your booking with USIT. We expect to be able to send you a communication early next week by email.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Update 31 March, 2020

Please bear with us while we work with the liquidator KPMG to provide information concerning your booking with Usit. We expect to be able to send you a communication early next week by email.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Notice to all Customers of USIT Ireland Ltd, 19-21 Aston Quay, Dublin 2.

This company has ceased to trade with effect from 27th March 2020.

Customers with current bookings:

Check with your airline and with your accommodation provider to see if your tickets and/or accommodation are still valid and have been paid by the travel agent.

i. If your airline says you can travel and if you have established your accommodation has been paid for, you can proceed with your travel plans.

ii. If your airline says you can travel but you have established that your accommodation is not paid for you can
a) proceed with your travel plans, pay for your accommodation yourself and then claim a refund of the original cost of your accommodation from the Commission
b) choose not to travel and claim a refund from the Commission.

iii. If your airline says you cannot travel and your accommodation is not paid, you cannot proceed with your travel plans and you can claim your original costs back from the Commission.

Claim forms can be obtained on www.aviationreg.ie

What if I am currently abroad?

The Commission for Aviation Regulation will be contacting any affected customers as necessary. If you would like to speak to one of their advisors, please call on +353-1-6611700.

Statement from Kinlay Group Ltd. regarding the appointment of joint liquidators to USIT Ireland Ltd. and the English Studio language school

Issued 27 March, 2020.

It is with great regret that the Board of Kinlay Group Ltd., which operates USIT Ireland Ltd. and The English Studio language school in Dublin, has announced that, as a result of the Covid-19 situation and having explored all other possible alternatives, it has had no option but to apply to the court to have a provisional liquidator appointed to these businesses. The Directors and Management are supporting the joint liquidators, Kieran Wallace and Andrew O’Leary of KPMG, in order to get the best outcome for creditors in this situation. A third business owned by Kinlay Group, Teach & Travel Group, which is based in Leeds, which provides online TEFL training, continues to trade normally and is unaffected by this decision.

USIT employs 76 people, across its Head Office in Dublin, and regional offices in Cork, Galway and Limerick. Staff have been informed of this difficult decision today.

The outcome for customers who have booked with USIT is uncertain but management will provide as much support as possible to help customers assess their options.

The English Studio, which employs 31 people in Ireland, closed its doors two weeks ago in compliance with Covid-19 measures for the education sector has also reached a position where it was no longer possible to trade as a result of the Covid-19 impacts, leaving the Kinlay Group no option but to apply to the court for the appointment of the liquidators.

Speaking about today’s announcement, David Andrews, Chairman of Kinlay Group, said “Only a short few weeks ago, both USIT and the English School were trading well and we had exciting plans for the future, but the tsunami of effects related to the Covid-19 pandemic have left us with no business whatsoever and no possibility of overcoming these challenges. We have working tirelessly for the last few weeks to find a solution to save these businesses and in that regard I wish to acknowledge the support of our bankers, Ulster Bank Limited. I and my fellow directors greatly regret having to take this step, but unfortunately, it was the only possible option at this time. We are committed to working closely with the liquidator now in order to get the best possible outcome for employees and customers.”

Elaine Russell, CEO of USIT, said “This is a very difficult day for our talented and passionate teams all of whom work so hard to create great experiences for our customers. The team and I are truly devasted at the impact this closure will have on all our customers who were either looking forward to trips they had booked for later this year with USIT or learning English with us at the English Studio.”

More information will be available for customers at www.usit.ie and on our social media channels over the coming days.

Ends

Frequently Asked Questions

Can USIT still help me with my travel plans?

Irrespective of USIT's issues, it is unlikely that summer programmes will go ahead this year due to the likely restrictions relating to COVID19. We will keep you updated on developments in the coming weeks. Should there be an unexpected change in these restrictions, there may be some possibility of travel going ahead. In this unlikely scenario, we will do our best to advise you on making arrangements but for now nothing can be done until the restrictions on movements are lifted. Unfortunately, USIT cannot sell flights.

Is there anyone to answer the questions I have about my booking and money paid to USIT ?

Yes we will answer all email enquiries to info@usit.ie and we will open phone lines once we have more clarity on the many queries you will have. Please bear with us at this time as we want to support you as quickly as we can with the right information for your enquiry.

J1 / Camp USA / Coach Soccer

I have booked a J1 / Camp/ Soccer programme with USIT. Will the trip go ahead?

It is extremely unlikely that J1 / Camp / Soccer programmes to the US will go ahead because of the restrictions on flying to the US, the difficulties with getting J1 visas from the US Embassy, and the likelihood that there were be less jobs available in the US this summer. Should there be an unexpected change in this in the next few weeks there may be some possibility of some travel going ahead. In this unlikely scenario, we will do our best to advise you on making arrangements but for now nothing can be done until the restrictions on movements are lifted.

Am I entitled to a refund?

If you paid by credit or debit card you may also be able to talk to your card issuer about a refund.

You may be covered by the consumer protection scheme, in place with the Commission for Aviation Regulation, if you purchased a package from USIT Ireland Limited and this package includes travel. You may also be covered if you bought travel (alone) commencing in Ireland.

There is also separate consumer protection to cover customers who bought a travel package commencing elsewhere in Europe.

Unfortunately, no other customers are covered by the scheme. If you are one of these customers, we advise you to look at the charge back policy of your credit/debit card provider and/or any holiday insurance you may have in place.

If I have not travelled yet?

Check with your airline and with your accommodation provider to see if your tickets and/or accommodation are still valid and have been paid by the travel agent.

i. If your airline says you can travel and if you have established your accommodation has been paid for, you can proceed with your travel plans.

ii. If your airline says you can travel but you have established that your accommodation is not paid for you can

a) proceed with your travel plans, pay for your accommodation yourself and then submit a claim for refund of the original cost of your accommodation from the Commission

b) choose not to travel and submit a claim for a refund from the Commission.

iii. If your airline says you cannot travel and your accommodation is not paid, you cannot proceed with your travel plans and you can submit a claim for your original costs back from the Commission.

Claim forms are available at www.aviationreg.ie

I am on the Coach Soccer programme and Challenger sports want to know if I am continuing with my coaching contract this summer?

Given the impact of Covid 19 on embassy closures, we may not be able to complete your visa application over the next 4 weeks. We are working with Challenger to find different solutions for those participants who wish to travel should travel indeed be possible.

I cancelled my J1/ Camp/ Soccer Programme a few weeks ago am I entitled to any money back?

Unfortunately, there are no refunds in the event of a customer cancellation.

Grad, Intern, Trainee Programme

I am in the US on my internship visa – is my visa still valid?

Yes, if you are in the US your visa is valid and your sponsor CIEE will continue to support you

I have booked a Grad / Intern / Trainee programme with USIT will it go ahead

At the moment, we cannot give you a clear answer on this but subject to the ongoing restrictions relating to COVID19 we will do our best to ensure your programme goes ahead. We will be liaising with our sponsor on this and hope to have further information for you in the next couple of weeks so please bear with us whilst we do so. In the meantime, there is unlikely to be travel to the US in the next few months.

Australia/ New Zealand & Canada Programmes

I have been issued with an approval/grant letter for the working holiday visa to Australia/New Zealand or a POE letter for the IEC visa to Canada. Is my Visa still valid?

Yes, if you have already received your approval or POE letter then your visa is valid for entry.

Please keep in mind the length of time to enter all 3 countries & activate your visa is 12 months from date of issue.

My visa application is still in process, how will I know when a decision is made?

USIT will endeavour to provide all applications in process with an update on their status.

Insurance

My Insurance policy is up for renewal either now or later this year, how can I get it renewed?

You should contact Mapfre directly on traveldept@mapfre.com & quote your policy reference number. They will be able to assist you.

I need to change the start date of my Insurance policy; how do I do this?

You should contact Mapfre directly on traveldept@mapfre.com & quote your policy reference number. They will be able to assist you.

Does my Insurance cover me for USIT's liquidation?

Mapfre policies purchased through USIT do not provide cover on costs paid in the case of your travel agent going into liquidation. If you hold an alternative policy with another provider, you should check the details of the policy with your provider.

You may still be able to eligible for a refund through your Mapfre insurance policy if your claim relates to an insured reason.

Flights

I purchased my flight with you for later this year, can I still travel on this flight? I have already received my E-ticket.

Yes, your ticket is live & your flights have been paid for.

I purchased my flight with you for later this year, can I still travel on this flight? I have not yet received my E-ticket.

In this case please contact us on info@usit.ie with your name & booking reference so we can confirm the status of your booking.

School Tours

I'm a teacher who has a school trip booked with you, is that now cancelled, and will we be refunded?

If you paid by credit or debit card you may also be able to talk to your card issuer about a refund.

Check with your airline and with your accommodation provider to see if your tickets and/or accommodation are still valid and have been paid by the travel agent.

i. If your airline says you can travel and if you have established your accommodation has been paid for, you can proceed with your travel plans.

ii. If your airline says you can travel but you have established that your accommodation is not paid for you can

a) proceed with your travel plans, pay for your accommodation yourself and then submit a claim for refund of the original cost of your accommodation from the Commission

b) choose not to travel and submit a claim for a refund from the Commission.

iii. If your airline says you cannot travel and your accommodation is not paid, you cannot proceed with your travel plans and you can submit a claim for your original costs back from the Commission.

Claim forms are available at www.aviationreg.ie. If students paid directly to USIT then a separate claim form is needed for each person. If you collected the funds from the students and paid it over to USIT then you can fill out one claim form. If this is the case, please provide a full list of students with their contact details. This can be attached to the claim form.

You should also check your travel insurance policy to see if you can make a claim.

Will the schools be able to claim on their insurance?

That will depend on their insurance policy, as these vary. You should check the policy and discuss it with your insurer.

GENERAL

I paid a deposit only, what will happen to the money I have paid?

This is not yet clear, but the provisional liquidator will be in touch with all customers in due course in relation to possible refunds

I have paid in full but have not received any documentation yet. Is my booking still valid?

In this case please contact us on info@usit.ie with your name & booking reference so we can confirm the status of your booking.

I am already abroad participating in my work abroad programme, does this affect me?

No, you should have received all the documentation on the services purchased from USIT before your travelled. Should you need to renew or update your Mapfre Travel Insurance policy while abroad please email traveldept@mapfre.com for assistance.

I have an interrail pass? Can I still travel on this?

If you have been issued your travel-pass then you can still travel using it once it is safe to start traveling in Europe again.

I have more questions that are not answered above, what should I do?

If you have any more questions not related to the above please email info@usit.ie

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