J-1 Visa Teacher Program

J-1 Visa Teacher Program

Through the teacher program under the J-1 visa, foreign teachers have the opportunity to teach in accredited primary and secondary schools in the U.S. for up to three years.


A teacher must:

  • Meet the qualifications for teaching in primary or secondary schools in their country of nationality or last legal residence
  • Have a minimum of three years of teaching or related professional experience
  • Satisfy the standards of the U.S. state in which they will teach
  • Be seeking to enter the U.S. for the purpose of teaching full time at a primary or secondary accredited educational institution
  • Possess sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in the program.


  • Participants learn U.S. teaching methods while also bringing an international perspective to U.S. classrooms.
  • Participants will need to submit references from colleagues and current or former employers attesting to the applicants’ good reputation, character, and teaching skills to their designated sponsor.
  • The designated sponsor can issue a completed Form DS-2019 only after a participant receives a written offer for a teaching position from an accredited U.S. institution and accepts the position in writing.
  • The location of the institution(s) will be indicated on the Form DS-2019. Participants may teach only at the institution and at locations where the institution is involved in official school activities (for example, field trips and teacher training programs).
  • Even if the teaching position is permanent, the appointment of the participant in a teaching position is temporary. The position should be in compliance with any applicable collective bargaining agreement, if one exists.

Sponsor Requirements

  • As part of the required pre-departure materials, sponsors must provide the following information to the participants:
    • The duration and location(s) of the participants’ program
    • A summary of the significant components of the program, including a written statement of the teaching requirements and related professional obligations
    • A written statement that clearly indicates the compensation package to be provided to the exchange visitor teacher and any other financial arrangements relevant to the program.
  • Screen and select qualified foreign teachers who can make a contribution to the education of students in the United States and who want to learn U.S. teaching methods
  • Sponsors monitor the visitor’s stay in the United States, ensure that they are performing their teaching responsibilities, and ensure that they are involved in cross-cultural programs where they can learn about the United States and its people.

Host Requirements

Hosts (employers) are required to:

  • Involve teachers in school and community activities
  • Monitor the performance of the teacher in the classroom and in carrying out their official responsibilities.

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