english  français     español chinese

What is the CHF Teacher Exchange Program?
The Cordell Hull Foundation (CHF) has been authorized by the U.S. Department of State since 1962 to sponsor exchange visitor J-1 visa applications from foreign national teachers for U. S. private and public elementary and secondary schools.  If the teacher and school program meets the regulations and our requirements, CHF will consider establishing an exchange visitor program with the cooperation of the principal and/or school district.  An individual teacher may not apply to our program unless CHF has first set up an exchange program with the school or school district, which must cover CHF sponsorship costs.

What are the requirements for acceptance into the CHF Exchange Visitor Teacher Program?
To be eligible to participate in this program, foreign nationals must
(1) meet the qualifications for teaching in primary or secondary schools in their country of nationality or last legal residence,
(2) have a minimum of two years of teaching or related professional experience in elementary or secondary school (not university professors nor teachers of adults in language or vocational schools), and
(3) satisfy the standards of the US state in which they will teach.
(4) be fluent in written and verbal English and must pass a written and verbal test to prove it.
(5) be of good reputation and character, and seek to enter the United States to
(6) teach full time for a minimum of 32 hours per week.
(7) have lived outside the United States for the two years’ previous, if they previously held J-1 teacher visa status.
(8) have been teaching during the year previous.

The school, district or state must set up a CHF J-1 visa teacher exchange program if there is not already an existing one.   Schools must be primary or secondary accredited educational institutions in the United States.  School exemption from certification does not apply in this case.  The school, district or state must cover CHF exchange visitor sponsorship fees.
How do I apply for the CHF Teacher Exchange Program?
If the school, district or state already has met the requirements and set up a J-1 exchange teacher visitor program with the Cordell Hull Foundation … a school may apply via www.cordellhull.net -Click on New Exchange Program application.

Answer all questions on the 3-page Cordell Hull Foundation application, insert a scanned passport photo and copy of teaching certification or highest university degree from your home country.  Click to upload the CHF Teacher Application Form.  Save the file on your computer with your “lastname_CHFapp.”  Write us a cover note in the body of your email (in English, French, or Spanish) and attach the completed form after inserting a digital photo.  If you are not successful in inserting your photo, send it to: pro@cordellhull.org

Print out pages 4 & 5 of the application, the Memo of Understanding.  Fill in all the blanks on the second page, then scan and send both pages of the MOU to pro@cordellhull.org.

If it is difficult and time-consuming for you to complete the application in English, you may write in French and Spanish.  Some CHF programs are French or Spanish language-immersion schools that do not require the same degree of fluency in English needed to teach in English.  These schools are staffed with bilingual professionals.  For all other languages, you must complete the CHF teacher application in English.

How may I contact the Cordell Hull Foundation to apply or to ask questions?

(1)  First read this page to learn about how the J-1 exchange visa program works. You may also watch the New Program Video.   See the J1 VISA link at the top of this webpage and click on INSTRUCTION VIDEOS to obtain the most recent link in English, French, Spanish or Mandarin.  Be aware that CHF is not an employment agency and does not work with teachers independently.  An exchange program must be officially set up via written agreement with the school or district.  With all new programs starting January 2007, the school or district must cover the expense of J-1 program sponsorship through the Cordell Hull Foundation, not individual teachers.
(2)  The school then sends the teacher’s resume so that CHF staff can check to make sure the teacher is qualified for a J-1 teacher visa.

(3)  If so, CHF will send an intro email explaining what steps to follow to teachers and ask them to the CHF application in English, French or Spanish.  To find the links to download these applications, go to www.cordellhull.net.
(4)  Read, sign and complete the Memorandum of Understanding.  Either mail it to our address below or fax to:  646-349-3455.
(5)  In your covernote to pro@cordellhull.org, describe why you are applying and sending the application.
(6)  General questions from teachers submitting unsolicited applications are answered only after teachers first complete the CHF Teacher Application form.
(7)  If you have been already received a tentative job offer pending acceptance into the CHF Exchange Visitor Program, and the school or district has already set up an exchange program through written agreement with the Cordell Hull Foundation, you may write or call to ask questions about the process.

May I request placement in a particular state or region of the U.S.?
CHF is not a personnel placement firm.  We do not charge recruitment fees.  Some J-1 visa-designated exchange organizations that operate for-profit do actively recruit and represent individual teachers.  CHF works with school, school-district, and state administration.  Teachers may find job opportunities by attending international job fairs in the country or origin or researching teacher personnel search firms on the Internet.  If you wish to target a certain city or region, and obtain a teaching job offer, CHF will then consider setting up a teacher exchange program with the school or district if it is near an existing one in that state or in a large city there is an established exchange teacher program.  In that event, please have the school or district contact us directly.  We do not allow individual teachers to cover the costs of CHF exchange teacher sponsorship.
See school requirements below.Where can I find out about other teachers’ experiences?
See Teacher Perspectives for commentary from outstanding CHF J-1 exchange teacher visitors describing their experiences in the U.S. under our sponsorship, in English, French and Spanish.

What costs do teachers incur after being accepted into the Teacher Exchange Program?Most exchange teachers pay airfare to the U.S. and usually cover consular processing fees at the American Embassy abroad to obtain the J-1 visa passport stamp.

The two primary fees are:(1) Embassy entrance fee paid in advance at a bank or post office in the home country.  $140 in 2010, subject to change every year.

(2) Additional “SEVIS” fee paid to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the Internet or through 800 no.  $180 in 2010, subject to change.  Click here for Form I_901 instructions: https://www.fmjfee.com/index.jhtml

Note:  During a possible 3-year J-1 exchange visa term, only pay the SEVIS fee once.  J-2 dependents of the teacher do NOT pay the SEVIS fee.
In some countries, such as France, teachers may incur a telephone fee of approximately $25 to make the visa appointment.  You may be asked to purchase a pre-paid courier envelope (~$20) to mail the passport back after consular review.

Other countries, such as India, tack on additional small fees.  Be sure to read the instructions on the website of the specific American Embassy where you plan to apply.

What is the process to get a J-1 Visa stamp in my passport? The Cordell Hull Foundation provides the necessary documents and instructions for the exchange teacher candidate including a properly executed DS-2019 form. The teacher submits the application package to the nearest U.S. Embassy in the country of origin for approval of J-1 Visa status. The American Embassy charges two fees to process the visa.  One is a visa “entrance” fee which is $140 in 2010.  The SEVIS fee, paid separately online, is $180 in 2010.  Check the American Embassy website of your country of origin for more details.  See What costs do teachers incur after being accepted into the Teacher Exchange Program?

Applicants must make an appointment for an interview with a consular officer.  J-1 visa stamps cannot be obtained anywhere in the United States, nor can you renew your J-1 visa inside the United States.  Cordell Hull Foundation staff will consult with you for more detailed information and advice regarding changing visa procedures and policy in specific countries.  Since the J-1 is a non-immigrant visa, the burden of proving “non-intention to immigrate” falls upon the teacher applicant.  In countries where the preponderance of non-immigrant visa applicants do not return to their home countries, that burden of proof is heavier.  Canadians are currently exempted from going to the American Embassy for J-1 visa stamps but will lose that privilege in two years.   Most European and Anglophone countries require only basic visa support documents from CHF and the standard Embassy application forms.  Consular Office (visa) procedures and policies change frequently and without notice.  If you are accepted into our program, CHF will consult with you on an individual basis, offering tips on how to navigate the ever-increasingly complicated visa process.

What forms do I fill out to take to the American Consular office to get my J-1 visa passport stamp?
All J-visa applicants must complete the interactive Form DS-160, using the Internet link: https://ceac.state.gov/genniv

You will need receipts for advance payment of the two visa fees to the American Consulate and SEVIS.  Check the website of the American Embassy in your home country to download these documents.  CHF includes a letter of instruction when forwarding the necessary backup paperwork to exchange teachers who are accepted into the program.   Read the specific procedure on the website and follow the instructions.  Additional documents may be requested for non-immigrant visas in certain countries.

Are family members allowed to accompany me to the U.S.?
Some countries approve “derivative” J-2 visas for immediate family members of the teacher. If the J-2 visa holder is in correct status, s/he may apply for a work permit (EAD) after arriving in the U.S. and applying for a social security number.  Form I-765 may be downloaded, fee paid by credit card and emailed directly to the Internal Revenue service.  complete interactive Form EI-765 and submit it online:  www.uscis.gov/i-765

CHF does not guarantee visas for dependent relatives nor work permits.  When requesting a work permit, the dependent must explain why the income is not needed to support the family, only for the dependent’s enhancement or to improve the family’s overall standard of living.  The maximum number of dependents usually allowed is three: spouse and 2 children or 3 children.  If an exchange visitor is requesting four or more dependents, special procedures apply.  The EV is not allowed four dependents during the first year.

What is the purpose of the Teacher Exchange Program? 
The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program, established by the Fulbright-Hayes Act of 1961, is to foster improvement of understanding between cultures through international exchange.  During the exchange tenure, teachers are expected to broaden student understanding of their native cultures and languages, and, in turn, acquire first-hand knowledge of the American way of life.  After spending 1-3 years in the U.S., the teacher returns to the home country with improved English skills to share first-hand knowledge of American culture.

What is a J-1 visa?
“J-1” is the non-immigrant visa category allowing The Cordell Hull Foundation to bring exchange teacher visitors to work in the United States on a temporary basis of one year, renewable each year up to three years, with a possible extension for the 4th and 5th year.  The J-1 visa regulations strictly limit length of stay to five years maximum for teachers.  After their tenure in the US, whether one, two, three, four or five years, they must return to their home countries (or leave the US) for two additional years before being eligible to return again in J-1 teacher visa status.

What is a J-1 sponsor?
The Cordell Hull Foundation is a J-1 sponsor granted authority by the U.S. Department of State to administer individual Exchange Teacher Visitor programs. The Foundation must ensure that the teacher candidate meets the requirements. As part of its responsibilities, the J-1 sponsor provides the exchange teacher visitor with pre-arrival information, immigration instructions, orientation and monitors the activities of the program participant.

What is a DS-2019 form?
The DS-2019 form is a document issued by the Responsible Officer of CHF to the exchange teacher, describing the period and terms of the proposed visit. This form is a prerequisite for obtaining the J-1 visa passport stamp at a U.S. Consulate abroad, preferably in the home country.

What are CHF’s guidelines and requirements for schools?
Schools must pay CHF’s administrative fee to sponsor your exchange visit from 1-3 years on a J-1 teacher visa. If a school’s policy is to stay independent of the visa process, requiring teachers to have visas before they consider hiring you, and/or if the teacher’s positive exchange experience in the U.S. is not a priority, the school or district would not qualify for J-1 visa sponsorship by CHF.  CHF’s policy is to work directly with schools, not through third-party representation, nor with a teacher independently.  Third parties are most welcome to contact us and refer CHF to schools in order to discuss setting up a teacher exchange program.  Individual schools must be state-certified to qualify.

How can our school establish a J-1 Exchange Program?
First read this FAQ section to get answers to your questions.  Then fill out the New Program Application form on www.cordellhull.net

You will receive an email response.  CHF can offer candidates from our database or work with applicants in whom you are interested.  A contract can include setting up customized recruiting arrangements in specific countries using CHF multilingual staff and/or selection committees in the foreign country.  As a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, CHF is not a personnel agency and do not seek jobs for individual teachers.  We do not charge a percentage for teacher placement.   A monitoring visit is generally arranged at the school or district office to meet the staff and/or exchange teacher(s) sponsored by CHF, preferably in advance of setting up the exchange program.  Participating schools must be certified as educational institutions at the elementary and/or secondary level.  Day-care facilities are not eligible for exchange visitor programs.  Uncertified schools that are exempt from state certification are ineligible for acceptance.

Are teachers sponsored on a J-1 exchange visitor visa tax-exempt?

All J-1 visaholders are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes for at least the first year and first semester of the second year.
Download p. 25 of IRS Publication 515 verifying that J-1 visaholders are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes.

Publication 901:  U.S. TAX Treaties
IRS TAX EXEMPTION / REFUND FORMS:  8233     8833     8843

CHF does not guarantee tax advice, only directs educators toward publications and forms that may be helpful.


A teacher is defined here as an individual, other than a student, who is temporarily in the United States under a “J ” or “Q ” visa and substantially complies with the requirements of that nonimmigrant status.

Also Included Are Immediate Family Members of Exempt Teachers

Members of the immediate family include the individual’s spouse and unmarried children (whether by blood or adoption), but only if the spouse’s or unmarried children’s nonimmigrant statuses are derived from, and dependent on, the exempt individual’s nonimmigrant status. Unmarried children are included only if they meet all the following:

  • Are under 21 years of age.
  • Reside regularly in the exempt individual’s household.
  • Are not members of another household.

The immediate family of an exempt individual does not include attendants, servants, or personal employees.

When a Teacher is Not Exempt

You will not be an exempt individual as a teacher if you were exempt as a teacher, trainee, or student for any part of 2 of the 6 calendar years preceding the current year. However, you will be an exempt individual if you were exempt as a teacher, trainee, or student for any part of 4 (or fewer) of the 6 preceding calendar years and:

  • A foreign employer paid all of your compensation during the current year.
  • A foreign employer paid all of your compensation during each of the preceding 6 years you were present in the United States as a teacher or trainee.

A foreign employer includes an office or place of business of an American entity in a foreign country or a U.S. possession.

If you qualify to exclude days of presence as a teacher or trainee, you must file a fully-completed Form 8843, Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition with the IRS. Form 8843 may be attached to your U.S. federal income tax return for the tax year, or it may be mailed separately to the address indicated in the General Instructions attached to the Form 8843.


Carla is temporarily present in the United States as a teacher in J-1 nonimmigrant status. She entered the United States on August 15, 2012, and is employed by a university in California.  She has never been in the United States prior to this visit. Carla is an Exempt Individual for calendar years 2012 and 2013 because during those two years she meets the test that prior to the current year she was not present during two years in the United States in F, J, M, or Q nonimmigrant status during the 6 calendar years prior to the current year. However, for calendar year 2014 she is no longer an Exempt Individual because she was present during two years in the United States in F, J, M, or Q nonimmigrant status during the 6 calendar years preceding the current year. For calendar year 2014, Carla must count her days of presence in the United States for the purpose of passing the Substantial Presence Test.

What are the steps to obtain the J-visa paperwork and instructions from the Cordell Hull Foundation after our school or school district has established a working agreement with CHF?
The initial process for the teacher to submit the required documents to CHF may differ or change periodically. For a general summary click:

J-1 visa initial application process
What are the general steps for Canadians to obtain J-1 visas?
For complete documentary requirements for U.S. visas and entry please seehttp://www.consular.canada.usembassy.gov/ and www.uscis.gov/graphics/services/visa_info.htmbefore proceeding to the U.S. Advice is unavailable through the consulate, either by telephone or in person. Some common nonimmigrant entry requirements for Canadians include: SEVIS fee receiptwww.fmjfee.com, paid at the border; proof of ability to pay for expenses.
Click:  Canadians
Can my family members obtain permission to work in the U.S.?

Yes. J-2 dependents are allowed to work at any job, either part-time or full-time, but must first apply for work authorization.Click here for instructions on how to submit Form I-765 online:

Click on Electronic filing in the upper right-hand corner to pay by credit card.  J-2 spouses and children must obtain a work permit before being eligible to apply for a US social security number. You may process the form electronically, pay by credit card, and monitor the progress of the process online through the Case Status function on the www.uscis.govwebsite.

What are the Health Insurance requirements?
If you wish to obtain J-1 exchange teacher status, you must maintain adequate health insurance throughout your entire stay in the U.S.  Failure to do so may render the teacher out of status, requiring you to be removed from the exchange program and return to your home country immediately.

HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR J-1 AND J-2 EXCHANGE VISITORS (EVs) Pursuant to 22 CFR Part 62.14, adequate Health Insurance coverage is mandatory for EVs and their dependents for the duration of the program. Specific minimum coverage provisions for your health insurance policy while in the US must include:

(1)  medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;

(2)  repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500;

(3)  expenses associated with medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000; and

(4)  a deductible not to exceed $500.

Medical insurance must be maintained throughout your entire Exchange Visitor Program.  Failure to maintain the above health insurance minimums will render the EV out of status and constitutes grounds for removal from the program.

For additional information on purchasing comprehensive J-1 and J-2 health insurance, write to info@cordellhull.org

Sample Health Insurance Providers:


A list of additional health insurance providers may be found at:http://www.eseries.nafsa.org/scriptcontent/YP_auto/c12.cfm