The J-1 special program lets teachers from other countries visit and teach in primary or secondary schools in the UK for up to three years.
Its purpose is to promote cultural exchange between teachers from different countries and give American students a chance to learn from teachers with an international perspective.
In this article, you’ll find all the information you need to know about how to move to the US as a certified teacher using the J-1 Visa program.
What are the Qualifications for a Teacher Visa?
To be eligible for a teacher visa, you must meet certain qualifications, which include:
- Being a credentialed primary or secondary school teacher in your home country.
- Having a minimum of 3 years of teaching experience or relevant professional experience.
- Meeting the standards set by the U.S. state in which you will be teaching.
- Visiting the U.S. solely to teach full-time at a primary or secondary school.
- Demonstrating fluency in English to effectively communicate with U.S. students.
Details About the Teacher Visa in the USA
When you participate in the J-1 visa teacher program, you have the opportunity to:
- Immerse yourself in the U.S. education system and become familiar with teaching methods used in the country.
- Learn from your U.S. counterparts and bring back valuable knowledge to your home country.
- Make a positive impact on the education of U.S. students and expose them to different cultures and perspectives.
- Apply for a teacher visa by filling out the DS-2019 form, also known as the “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.”
- Provide sponsorship letters that verify your abilities and character to the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS).
- Secure employment from a U.S. primary or secondary school before submitting the DS-2019 and sponsorship letters.
What the the J-1 Visa Covers
- The teacher visa only covers teaching at the institution specified on your DS-2019 form.
- Engaging in any other teaching work or earning income from other sources is not allowed.
- Your stay in the U.S. on a teacher visa is limited to a maximum of 3 years, and your teaching position must be temporary.
Benefits of a Teacher Visa
Obtaining a teacher visa brings numerous benefits for you as a foreign teacher, such as:
- Gaining valuable experience in a unique environment and developing new teaching methods.
- Enhancing your skills in instructing diverse groups of students.
- Strengthening your resume, as international teaching experience is highly valued by schools.
- Exposing yourself to new activities, places, and people, fostering personal growth and broadening your horizons.
- Immersing yourself in a new culture, exchanging ideas, and contributing to a more globalized education system.
- Renewing your teacher visa for an extended period, allowing for continued professional development and contribution to the U.S. education system.
How to Apply for a Teacher Visa in the USA
To apply for a teacher visa in the USA, follow these steps:
- Find a sponsor for your visa by getting accepted into a program from the US State Department’s list of designated J-1 sponsorship organizations.
- Submit a Form DS-2019, also known as the “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status,” provided by your sponsoring organization.
- Pay the application fees, which typically include a $180 SEVIS 1-901 fee and a $160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Processing fee.
- Attend an interview at your local US embassy or consulate, where you will be asked about the program you will be participating in, your teaching experience, personal background, financial plans, and other relevant information.
Can a teacher’s visa be renewed?
Yes, teacher visas can be renewed if you have lived outside of the US for a minimum of two years since the expiration of your initial visa and still meet the eligibility requirements.
What is the DS-2019 form?
The DS-2019 form, also known as the “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status,” is the main form you need to submit when applying for a teacher visa. It describes the details of your teaching position, such as start and end dates, duties, and program costs.
Can I teach at multiple schools on a teacher visa?
The teacher visa only covers teaching at the institution specified on your DS-2019 form, which means you cannot teach at multiple schools simultaneously.
Is it necessary to have teaching experience to qualify for a teacher visa?
Yes, having a minimum of 3 years of teaching experience or relevant professional experience is one of the qualifications required for a teacher visa.
Visiting the US on a teacher visa through the J-1 visa teacher program offers unique opportunities for cultural exchange, personal growth, and professional development.
Obtaining a teacher visa requires meeting specific qualifications, submitting the necessary forms, and going through the application process.