- Meet the qualifications for teaching in primary or secondary schools in their country of nationality or last legal residence;
- Be working as a teacher in the home country or country of legal residence at the time of application, or, if not working as a teacher, otherwise meet the eligibility qualifications and (a) have recently (within 12 months of application) completed an advanced degree and (b) have two years of full-time teaching experience within the past eight years;
- 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;
- Have a minimum of two years (24 months) of teaching or related professional experience;
- Satisfy the standards of the U.S. state in which they will teach;
- Be of good reputation and character;
- 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);
- Possess sufficient proficiency in the English language.
Educational and cultural enrichment: Exchange teachers sharpen their professional skills and participate in cross-cultural activities in schools and communities, and they return to their home school after the exchange to share their experiences and increased knowledge of the United States and the U.S. educational system.
- Teachers are eligible to repeat the program provided that they have resided outside the United States for two years and continue to meet the eligibility requirements.
Sponsors are required to:
- Screen and select qualified foreign teachers based on qualifications and also based on who can make a contribution to the education of students in the United States and who want to learn U.S. teaching methods;
- Verify each teacher applicant’s English language proficiency through recognized language tests or interviews;
- Monitor the exchange teachers’ stay in the United States to ensure that they are satisfactorily performing their teaching responsibilities, and;
- Ensure each exchange teacher completes a cultural activity component annually, which includes two requirements:
- First, each exchange teacher must complete, within the United States and during each year of program participation, an activity for the teacher’s classroom, larger host school or host school district population, or the community at large that gives an overview of a cultural aspect of the teacher’s home country.
- Second, an activity that involves U.S. student dialogue with schools or students in another country, preferably the teacher’s home country.
Sponsors must provide participants with the following information:
- The duration and location(s) of the participants’ program;
- A summary of the significant components of the program, including fees and costs of the program, a written statement of the teaching requirements and related professional obligations; and
- 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.
Hosts/employers are required to:
- Involve exchange teachers in school and community cultural activities; and
- Monitor the performance of exchange teachers in the classroom and in carrying out official responsibilities.
- The base period for a teacher exchange is three years. However, host schools may apply to the sponsor for a one or two year extension of the exchange (the extension must be for whole years, not fractions of years). Extension requests are not automatic, but there is no limit on the number of extensions that the State Department can grant.
- Sponsors must submit extension requests they approve and any supporting documentation to support the extension to the State Department no later than three months prior to the beginning of the desired extension period for the teacher.