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 Teach USA program allows qualified foreign nationals to teach full-time in accredited public and private U.S. primary and secondary schools (K12) 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.

Form DS2019 is the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1). Without this form, it is impossible to get a 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 the termination of your program by the sponsoring company and you may return to your country.

Teachers MUST;

  1. Meet the qualifications for teaching in primary or secondary schools in their country of nationality or last legal residence;
  2. Be currently employed as a teacher in his or her home country, or country of legal residence OR; İf not currently employed as a teacher, have within the past 12 months completed an advanced degree beyond the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree in either general education or in the specific academic subject field in which they intend to teach.
  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. Have a minimum of two years (24 months) of teaching experience at K-12 schools outside the USA.
  5. Satisfy the standards of the U.S. state in which they will teach;
  6. Possess sufficient proficiency in the English language.
  7. Be of good reputation and character;
  8. Be seeking to enter the United States for the purpose of full-time teaching as a teacher of record at a primary (including pre-kindergarten) or secondary accredited educational institution in the United States (pre-kindergarten teachers must teach full-time, and at the pre-kindergarten level, may teach only language immersion at an accredited host school)

No. You may apply to the Teach USA 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 the 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 $40,000 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.

To learn more, please see the  Fees & Costs page

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 subjects, open positions, schools’ preferences, timing, and licensure, that affect the result of placement efforts directly. Being flexible will definitely expedite the placement process.

GEC will assist you in arranging temporary housing close to your host school until you are settled. For 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. GEC may sponsor the immediate family members as dependents on the J-2 visa. Family members eligible for the J-2 sponsorship include a legal spouse and dependent children under 21.

It’s a requirement of the J1 visa that exchange visitors have sufficient financial resources for the expenses of each accompanying family member on a J2 visa. You will face significant additional costs such as food, insurance, childcare, and housing for each additional person you bring. It is highly recommended that 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, the 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. You will probably have to wait two weeks after your arrival date to apply for a social security card, and it may take at least another 2-4 weeks before you receive your social security number.

In some cases, teachers without a social security number may be placed on the host institution’s payroll; in other cases, they may not be allowed to work until they receive their social security number. You must be financially able to cover your expenses, such as housing and transportation, food, utilities, health care, a teacher’s license, etc., until you receive your salary.

As a program requirement, you must have a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s 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 Accreditation 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 bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited U.S. university.

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

Yes. If you plan to travel outside the U.S. during your program, you must submit your original DS-2019 Form to GEC for a travel validation signature before you leave the U.S. Otherwise, you may be subject to additional questioning at the border or even denied entry into the U.S. upon your return.

The travel validation signature is valid for one year. Therefore, if you travel several times during a year, your form doesn’t need to be re-signed each time. After the one-year period, you must have your form re-signed before leaving the United States.

GEC does not allow a change of host school unless there is a welfare, health, or safety issue found. If you have a valid reason to do so, you may submit a request to change your host employer.

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

Although you are not permitted to work past the program end date on your DS-2019 Form, you are permitted to stay a maximum of 30 days past the end date to travel within the U.S. and prepare for your departure. This is referred to as the “grace period.”