In the third year of participation in the program, teachers may request an extension of one to two years.
The purpose of the extension is to allow teachers and host employers who wish to gain one or two more years of experience to continue teaching at their current school. Transfers to new schools or districts during this period are not permitted.
GEC evaluates all required documents in order to determine the eligibility for program extension. Only interested teachers who maintain a good standing with the host employer and GEC will be considered. Then, the consideration of the program extension will be submitted to the State Department by the visa sponsor (GEC).
Doc #1: Host School Extension Letter:
This is a very important document that will greatly impact the result of your application for a program extension. A template is available both in the school and teacher resources in MyGEC. Your host employer will need to compose a letter demonstrating how you have impacted the students and the school in addition to the reason why they would like to extend your program. This letter must be signed by the Superintendent or the authorized administrator of the host school. GEC will reach out to the host school to legitimize this letter. Your application for program extension will be denied by GEC unless your host school can confirm this letter or the content of the letter meets the requirements.
Doc #2: Participant Extension Request Letter
This letter must describe how you have engaged your classroom, the collective host school, or the community through cross-cultural activities over the previous three years. Please also include how you have benefited from the program and why you wish to continue participation in your exchange visitor program. Letters should be no larger than one page in length.
Doc #3: Signed Fee Transparency Agreement:
Please download and sign the “most recent version” from MyGEC resources.
Doc #4: Payment receipt for the program extension fee :
You can make a payment at this link: https://gecexchanges.com/teach-usa/paybill
STEP 1: Sign in to MyGEC to complete the Extension Request Form. At this stage, you will need to upload all required documents to MyGEC and make a payment for the program extension.
STEP 2: GEC will review the extension request. Your payment will be refunded if your application is denied by GEC at this stage.
STEP 3: GEC will send the program extension file to the Department of State and follow up on the result. It may take 4-6 weeks for your application to be reviewed by the Department of State. If the application is approved, a new DS2019 form will be issued and uploaded to MyGEC. The result of the application will be shared with both the teacher and the host school.
Participants who have previously pursued a change of status to another visa category are no longer eligible to participate in the Bridge USA J-1 visa program, and extensions are generally denied.
You can leave the country at any time that you need to do so. This includes travel to Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent territories if you aren’t going to stay longer than 30 days. If you choose to travel, a valid J-1 visa will need to be stamped in your passport. When your stamp expires, you must ensure that you obtain a new visa because you will be unable to return to the US otherwise.
If the J-1 entry visa stamp in your passport has expired and you plan to travel outside the United States, you must return to a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad to obtain a new J-1 visa. J-1 visas may not be renewed inside the United States. Exchange visitors should generally allow 2-8 weeks for processing.