J1 is the type of visa used for cultural exchange programs. “Teacher” is one of the 14 categories of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. The 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. After this period, teachers may be eligible for a 12 or 24-month program extension. Recipients of a J-1 visa can remain in the U.S. for the duration of their program, plus they may arrive 30 days prior and depart 30 days after the program ends. Any time before or after those guidelines is considered a violation of the visa terms.

Form DS2019 is the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1). Without this form, it is impossible to get the J1 visa and participate in a cultural exchange program. Only State Department-designated sponsors are authorized to issue the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (Form DS-2019). Sponsors screen and select prospective exchange visitors based on the criteria set forth in the governing regulations. Violation of these regulations may result in termination of your program by the sponsoring company and you may return your country.

If you have found a job as a teacher in the USA and need a visa, you can use our SELF PLACEMENT PROGRAM. The fees can be paid either by the participant or by the host school. You can apply for the GEC Teach USA program 100% FREE and wait for a job offer from a school in GEC Partner School Network. Placement is not guaranteed. Schools make the final hiring decisions.
Application fee $0 (GEC does not charge an application fee.) $0  (GEC does not charge an application fee.)
Placement Fee $0  (GEC does not charge a placement fee.) $0  (GEC does not charge a placement fee.)
1-year program fee $2220 $0  (GEC does not charge a program fee.)
Program fee / each additional year $950 $0  (GEC does not charge a program fee.)

The program fee includes the following

  • Review and processing of an application for sponsorship
  • J-1 Visa sponsorship (DS-2019 form)
  • Program pre-departure orientation and materials
  • Monitoring of the program in the U.S.
  • 24/7 in-country support from GEC

Other Application and Pre-departure Expenses;

  • U.S. Government Fees: SEVIS fee ($220) and Visa Interview Fee ($160)
  • Exchange visitor insurance ( Mandatory for each J1and J2 visa holder): $90 / Month

*** First-year of insurance collected at the time of initial visa approval and before arrival in the U.S.

  • Courrier fee: $80 per overseas shipment
  • Foreign Credential Evaluation ( by a Naces member org.): $200 – $ 350
  • Airfare to and from the U.S: $1000 – $1500 AVG
  • Partner recruitment fees (if applicable)

Additional Expenses GEC may charge;

  • Change of host school: $750
  • Reprinting DS-2019 form : $150 + shipping
  • J2 visa sponsorship : $ 550 / year for each J2 visa holder + Insurance ($90 / Month)
  • Travel validation: $70
  • Program extension application: $750
  • Extended program sponsorship: $950

Expenses After You Arrive in the U.S

  • State teaching license: $100 -$350
  • Foreign Credential Report ( if required) : $200 – $300
  • Housing, transportation, meals, and personal expenses.

Cancellation & Refund Policy
Cancellation of the program for any reason (including visa refusal) after application review and acceptance by the GEC will incur the following cancellation fees:

  • If GEC is advised of the cancellation at least 28 days before DS- 2019 start date: $500
  • If GEC is advised of the cancellation 27 days to 1 day before the DS 2019 start date: $ 1000
  • If GEC is not advised until on or after DS 2019 start date: Entire program fee

*** In the event of cancellation, unused days of the insurance fee will be refunded in full.

To apply for the GEC teacher program, teachers must;

  1. have a good reputation and character.
  2. be currently employed as a primary or secondary school teacher in their home country, or country of legal residence at least for the past two years
  3. have a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree in either education or the academic subject field in which they intend to teach.
  4. possess sufficient proficiency in the English language.

No. You may apply to the program as long as you are eligible.

You must meet the qualifications for teaching in primary or secondary schools in his or her country and you must have min two years of full-time teaching experience at primary or secondary school level. Part time teaching positions, internships, or experience of teaching irrelevant subjects do not qualify teachers for the GEC TeachUSA program. Most GEC host schools prefer teachers already teaching at a primary of secondary school the time of application. During the interview with school managers, you should be ready to share your knowledge and experience on lesson planning and classroom management.

As a program regulation, all exchange visitor teachers are paid on the same salary scale as U.S. teachers. Depending on education, prior teaching experience, location, policies of the district and kind of school to teach, the average annual salary of GEC teachers ranges between $38.000 and $ 60.000.

Please consider the following information as a tool to help you estimate monthly costs for a single J-1 Visa Holder while in the United States of America. These monthly expenses are approximate only and costs will probably increase based on your location, life style and family size. Living in a big city is generally more expensive than living in a smaller rural community.

  • Transportation – $ 350 – $ 650
  • Housing & utilities – $ 500 – $ 1,000
  • Cell phone – $ 50 – $ 100
  • Food – $ 250 – $ 300
  • Clothing – $ 50 – $ 100
  • Travel/ Entertainment – $ 100 – $200

GEC can sponsor teachers in public schools in a variety of states across the United States. If you have a job offer, you can begin your application with an eligibility verification form that will help you determine if you are eligible and GEC can place teachers in the state where you want to teach. To start an application, please click any APPLY button at

We do our best to meet the expectations and preferences of both our teachers and host schools. But please note that there are many different factors such as teaching subject, open positions, schools’ preferences, timing, and licensure, which affect the result of placement efforts directly. Being flexible will definitely expedite the placement process.

GEC will assist you to arrange a temporary housing close to your host school until you are settled. For a permanent housing most teachers prefer renting or sharing an apartment. Teachers are responsible for housing costs for the duration of their time in the United States.

Yes. Your family members (children under 21) are allowed to stay in the USA with J-2 dependent visa. If you wish your dependents stay in the USA during your program, you will need to ask GEC for a J-2 dependent visa service. Includes assessment of all accompanying J-2 Dependent applications for an approval decision by GEC. An unlimited number of J-2 applications in association with the J1 exchange visitor is covered under this fee. Any J-2 dependents with you in the U.S. are also required to have adequate health insurance.

It is highly recommended you bring your family after you have successfully settled into your new environment.

It’s a requirement of the J1 visa that exchange visitors must have sufficient financial resources for the expenses of each accompanying family member on a J2 visa. You will face with significant additional costs such as food, insurance, childcare, housing for each additional person you bring. It is highly recommended you bring your family after you have successfully settled into your new environment and feel ready to cover the costs of additional family members with your salary.

First of all, employment contracts specify the annual salary teachers will get. Unless otherwise specified, term of employment for teachers is 10 months in the USA. Teacher payroll schedules vary district-to-district: some allow teachers to spread their 10-month salary over 12 months, while others don’t give any paycheck during the summer months.

It depends on the policies of individual states and school districts. Usually, you can be placed on your host institution’s payroll without a Social Security number. When you apply for the Social Security card, you will first receive a “temporary number.” The host school may use this “temporary number” to place you on the payroll until you receive your Social Security card with the actual number.

As a program requirement you must have a degree equivalent to U.S. Bachelors’ degree in either education or the academic subject field in which you intend to teach. To prove this equivalency, you must obtain a “course by course” report for professional licensure from a registered Credential Evaluation Services Company.

GEC only accepts credential evaluation reports of NACES (National Association of Credential Acreditation Services) approved companies. For a complete list, visit:

You don’t need to get a Credential Evaluation Report IF;

  • you already have one. It doesn’t expire.
  • you have a bahcelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited U.S univerisity.

Once you get your report, you must upload a digital copy to MyGEC.

You are allowed to travel outside of the United States during the teaching program for up to 30 consecutive days. Before you travel, you must send the Form DS-2019 and pay a $30 fee to GEC for travel validation. The signature confirms that you continue to be sponsored by GEC, and you should be allowed to re-enter at the border when returning. The signature is valid for one year. When possible, GEC asks you to submit the DS-2019 for travel validation at least 3 weeks prior to intended travel.

In order to re-enter the United States, you must have a valid multiple entry visa in your passport. If you have a single entry visa, or if your visa has expired, you should contact GEC well in advance of your trip so that necessary documentation can be provided.

You cannot change your teaching location unless it is approved by GEC. It is a program regulation that participants can legally earn a wage only at the host employer listed on the Form DS-2019. If you claim financial or other conditions with the host employer has changed dramatically during the program, you may contact GEC to see if it is possible to allow you to secure a teaching position at a different site. However, as the visa sponsor, only GEC can make a decision on a change in teaching location.

No. Exchange Visitor Teachers can only work at the host organization listed on the Form DS-2019. You cannot perform any other work for pay and cannot legally earn a wage at any other organization.

In accordance with the program regulations, you are allowed to remain in the United States for 30 days after the end date indicated on your form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility). It is very important to comply with this regulation. If a your program ends before the end date indicated on the DS-2019, you should contact GEC.