The J-1 visa program is a Department of State cultural exchange program. The J-1 Teacher program allows qualified foreign nationals to teach full-time in accredited public and private U.S. primary and secondary schools (K-12) for up to 3 years. The objective is for exchange teachers to sharpen their professional skills and participate in cross-cultural activities in schools and communities, and they return home after completion of the program.
Everything you need to know
To participate in HTP’s J-1 Teacher program, you must meet the following requirements:
- Meet the qualifications for teaching in primary or secondary schools in your home country, working as a teacher in your home country at the time of application, and have at least two years of full-time teaching experience or
- Not working as a teacher at the time of application, but otherwise meet the qualifications for teaching at a primary or secondary schools with two years of full-time teaching experience within the past eight years and at the time of application, and have or will have completed an advanced degree in education or related subject matter that you intend to teach
- Have sufficient proficiency in English to participate in the program
- Possess a degree equivalent to a U.S. Bachelor’s Degree in either education or the academic
subject field in which you intend to teach
- Satisfy the eligibility standards of the U.S. state in which you will teach;
- Be of good reputation and character
- Agree to come to the United States temporarily for the purpose of teaching full time at an accredited primary or secondary school
- You must begin your employment with a host school at the start of the academic year in August
- During each academic year of program participation, you must complete 2 cultural activities:
one activity must be designed to give an overview of the history, traditions, heritage, culture, economy, educational system and/or other attributes of your home country; the other activity must involve a virtual exchange of U.S. student dialogue with schools or students in your home
- You must submit to HTP annual reports detailing the cultural activity and their estimated impact.
Program expenses paid to HTP:
- Processing fee $1,500 per academic year
- SEVIS registration fee $220
- Program and insurance fee $90 per month
- As part of your application with HTP, you will need to submit various documents such as reference letters, background check report, and foreign education credentials evaluation. You may have to pay for some of these documents. As an example, the Justice Ministry in your home country may charge as administrative fee for the criminal background check. A company that evaluates foreign education credentials will charge a fee for their services (appr. $100)
- Consulate visa application fee: appr. $180 (paid directly to US consulate)
- While you are in the U.S., you will incur living expenses just like at home. These costs vary by location, the following are estimates: food ($200-$300 per month), housing (appr. $800 and up), utilities ($200); local transportation ($100 if public transportation; $500 if buying a car).
- Foreign or domestic third party or partner fees: there is no need for you to work with a foreign or domestic third party or partner. HTP encourages you to find a host school on your own or with the help of www.j1teachers.com, a free service offered by HTP. If you choose to work with a foreign or domestic third party, please be prepared to pay them a placement fee. The fee varies but can be in the thousands of dollars
- Expected work-related deductions: as a participant in an exchange program that has a work component, you will be subject to U.S. federal, state and local income taxes. The amount of federal tax is based on your income and is expected to be in the 12-22% range, please see https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040gi.pdf for details. The amount of state income tax is based on the state where you will be placed and varies from 0% to appr. 10%.
- Please remember that your stipend or wages may not cover all expenses and that you should bring additional personal funds.
J-1 Visa teacher program
- 1Complete an online application and submit required documents
- 2HTP interviews you and reviews all documents
- 3Various host schools may review your resume and invite you to interview with them. Host school issues an offer letter
- 4HTP provides pre-arrival information and Orientation; issues form DS-2019
- 5You apply for the J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate in your home country
HTP’s process for reviewing the application and issuing Form DS-2019 takes no more than 2 weeks.
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Fisher & Phillips LLP
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