J1 Teacher Exchange Program

About Us

International Leadership of Texas provides qualified foreign Spanish and Chinese teachers the opportunity to teach at an ILTexas K-8 or high school campus. ILTexas is designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor Exchange Visitor Teachers.

The mission of ILTexas is to prepare students for exceptional leadership roles in the international community by emphasizing servant leadership, mastering the English, Spanish, and Chinese languages, and strengthening the body, mind, and character. The Exchange Visitor Teacher Program promotes foreign language and cross cultural awareness among the children of Texas, and it encourages the language and cultural development of exchange visitors

Exchange Visitor Teachers are required to teach full-time (minimum of 32 hours per week) during the school year. Teachers will be placed at an ILTexas primary school or secondary school based upon their experience as a teacher and the needs of the organization. A competitive salary based on experience will be offered for the duration of the Exchange Visitor Teacher’s employment. Teachers are permitted to teach in the United States for up to three years. An extension of one or two years may be available. Note, this is a temporary exchange program, and at the completion of the program, the Exchange Visitor Teacher will return back to his or her home country.


ILTexas will open applications for Exchange Visitor Teachers for the 2021-2022 school year later this year. If you have any questions or if you would like to be added to the prospective teacher mailing list, please click  "HERE".


What is a J-1 visa?

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the U.S. Department of State that provides opportunities for foreign candidates looking to travel and gain experience in the United States. Exchange Visitors are able to come to the United States to pursue a program in one of fifteen categories. The Exchange Visitor’s program may have a duration ranging from a few weeks to several years. ILTexas is only authorized to sponsor J-1 Exchange Visitors from the “Teacher” category.

What is the Certificate of Eligibility (Form DS‐2019) document?

Form DS-2019 is the document necessary to apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The document can only be issued by a U.S. Department of State designated sponsor. The form has basic information regarding the Exchange Visitor’s program, such as the start and end date, location, category of exchange, and position. The document entitles and authorizes an Exchange Visitor to participate in the program listed on the form.

What is an Exchange Visitor?

An Exchange Visitor is defined as a foreign national who has been selected by a sponsor to participate in an Exchange Visitor Program, and who seeks to enter or has entered the United States temporarily on a non-immigrant J–1 visa or who has obtained J status in the United States based on a Form DS–2019.

What is the purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program?

The Exchange Visitor Program’s purpose under the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. § 2451 et seq.) is to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange; to strengthen the ties which unite us with other nations by demonstrating the educational and cultural interests, developments, and achievements of the people of the United States and other nations, and the contributions being made toward a peaceful and more fruitful life for people throughout the world; to promote international cooperation for educational and cultural advancement; and thus to assist in the development of friendly, sympathetic, and peaceful relations between the United States and the other countries of the world.”

All Exchange Visitors are expected to return to their home country upon completion of their program in order to share their exchange experiences.


Teacher Eligibility

Foreign nationals are eligible to participate in exchange visitor programs as full-time teachers if, at the time of initial application to the sponsor, an individual making such application demonstrates to the satisfaction of the sponsor that he or she:


1. Either:

(a) Meets the qualifications for teaching at the primary, including pre-kindergarten, or secondary levels in schools in his or her home country; is working as a teacher in his or her home country at the time of application; and has at least two years of full-time teaching experience;




(b) Is not working as a teacher in his or her home country at the time of application, but otherwise meets the qualifications for teaching at the primary (including pre-kindergarten) or secondary levels in schools in the home country; has had at least two years of full-time teaching experience within the past eight years; and, within 12 months of his or her application submission date for the program, has or will have completed an advanced degree (beyond a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree) in education or in an academic subject matter that he or she intends to teach or that is directly related to his or her teaching subject field;


2. Possesses, at a minimum, a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree in either education or the academic subject field in which he or she intends to teach;


3. Satisfies the teaching eligibility standards in Texas;


4. Official government-issued documents verifying candidate is of good reputation and character;


5. Agrees to come to the United States temporarily as a full-time teacher of record in an accredited primary or secondary school;


6. Supply at least three (3) reference letters from colleagues, supervisors and/or principals attesting to that teacher's good reputation, character and teaching skills. One of these letters MUST be from the teacher’s current principal or school headmaster;


7. Demonstrate proficiency of the English language. A free English proficiency test will be required of all candidates.;


8. Submit a letter from the teacher's home country head of a school, which states that school's willingness to work with the exchange teacher on the cross-cultural activity component. The foreign school with which the exchange teacher plans to work must be at the same academic level as the foreign teacher's proposed host school. The letter submitted as part of the foreign teacher's application package must be signed by the head of the school or another individual in an appropriate position of authority to speak for the school within the foreign country's school system; the official signing the letter must list both email and telephone contact information. The letter may be submitted in English or in the original language of the home country with an English translation; the name, title/organization and contact information of the translator must be noted on the translation.

9. Confirm financial ability and sufficient funds to cover relocation expenses to the United States and living expenses for at least 2 months after arrival.


ILTexas Exchange Visitor Teachers will be responsible for the following:

  • Teach as a full-time, paid faculty member at an ILTexas primary or secondary school

  • Share language, culture, and knowledge with students, colleagues, and the surrounding community

  • Assist students with additional academic needs (tutoring, discussion groups)

  • Fulfill professional development requirements

  • Complete the cross-cultural requirement

  • Fulfill all obligations as outlined in the Terms and Conditions Contract (provided when hired)

  • Perform other assigned tasks as designated by supervisors and school administration


What is the cross-cultural component requirement?

A cross cultural activity is defined as an activity designed to promote exposure and interchange between Exchange Visitors and Americans so as to increase their mutual understanding of each other’s society, culture, and institutions.

During each academic year, the Exchange Visitor Teacher is required to complete at least one cross-cultural activity from each of the following categories:

  • An activity for the teacher's classroom, larger host school or host school district population, or the community at large designed to give an overview of the history, traditions, heritage, culture, economy, educational system and/or other attributes of his or her home country. Sponsors of exchange teachers placed at international schools must require their exchange teachers to conduct at least one cross-cultural activity per academic year outside the host school in nearby schools or communities where international opportunities may be more limited than those found in their host school.

  • An activity that involves U.S. student dialogue with schools or students in another country, preferably in the exchange teacher's home school, through virtual exchange or other means, in order to supplement the goals of the in-person exchange.

Teachers will be required to submit annual reports describing the cross-cultural activities performed to the Exchange Visitor sponsor. Support staff at each ILTexas school will assist Exchange Visitor Teachers in fulfilling the cross-cultural component.

Expenses and Fees

Applicants will be responsible for the following costs and expenses:

  • SEVIS Fee (currently $220)

  • Consular/visa application fees (currently $160)

  • Travel expenses to and from the United States

  • Personal expense money for the initial costs upon arriving in the United States prior to receipt of the first paycheck

  • Certification or licensure costs

  • Fees for translation of documents into English

  • Costs and fees associated with dependents including insurance premiums

  • Insurance (other than medical that is provided by ILTexas)

  • Typical expenses such as housing, bills, transportation, food, and all other expenses in the United States (see chart below)

J-1 Expenses
J-1 Expenses

J-1 Expenses
J-1 Expenses


ILTexas will provide health insurance for Exchange Visitor Teachers that meets at least the minimum standard for the Exchange Visitor program. All Exchange Visitor Teachers will receive at least the following health insurance at no cost:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;

  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;

  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of exchange visitors to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000; and

  • Deductibles not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

Teachers will be able to purchase other benefits during the benefits open enrollment period.

Expected Work-Related Deductions:

Exchange Visitor Teachers may have the following deductions made from their paychecks:

-Federal Withholding*

-Medicare - 1.45%

-TRS Retirement - 7.7% (mandatory retirement contribution)

-TRS Care - .65% (mandatory contribution to retiree health care)

-Other voluntary benefits

*Some teachers are exempt from federal withholdings due to a tax treaty between the United States and their country of citizenship. For more information, please visit the IRS U.S. Tax Treaties Publication 901 website.


International Leadership of Texas begins the hiring process for new Exchange Visitor Teachers each spring. The first step is to fill out an application. A link to the application will be posted when it is available.

If you have any questions or would like to be added to the prospective teacher mailing list, please email j1teachers@iltexas.org.


Qualified applicants that are recommended for hire will be issued a Form DS-2019 from ILTexas. The form will be mailed via FedEx to the address provided on the application. Once an applicant receives the form, an interview at the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy should be scheduled. Applicants must pay the SEVIS fee prior to their visa interview. It is preferred an applicant makes an appointment in his or her home country. Please schedule an interview as soon as possible to ensure you receive your visa in a timely manner and can plan for the temporary move to America.

Visa issuance decisions are made by consular or immigration officers at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy. An applicant who receives an offer for employment and Form DS-2019 from International Leadership of Texas cannot be guaranteed that a visa will be granted. Applicants should not book flights nor make plans to move to the United States until passing a visa interview and receiving a J-1 visa in their passport.

How long does it take to obtain a J-1 visa?

Wait times for visa interviews and processing varies depending on the country of application and upon the circumstances of the applicant. Please visit www.travel.state.gov to find out about visa wait times in your country. Please apply as soon as possible. It is important to remember that Exchange Visitor Teachers beginning a new program may not enter the United States more than 30 days before the program start date found on form DS-2019.



Who is considered an eligible dependent?


A dependent must be a spouse or child of the Exchange Visitor Teacher. The age limit for children dependents is 21. Applicants wishing to bring a dependent will be required to submit an English translation of a marriage license or birth certificate.

Does my dependent have to accompany me when I initially come to the United States?

No, Exchange Visitor Teachers can come to the United States to begin their program without dependents. Dependents are able to arrive in the United States at a later date.

Can I add a dependent after I am already in the United States?

Yes. If you would like to add a dependent after arriving in the United States, please email j1teachers@iltexas.org.

Will my dependent have health insurance?

Any accompanying spouse or child is required to have health insurance. The Exchange Visitor Teacher is responsible for paying for the dependent’s health insurance.

Can the dependents of an Exchange Visitor Teacher work?

Yes. J-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for employment authorization through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) upon arrival in the United States.

J-2 visa holders cannot work until they receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

The wait time for an EAD application to be approved is typically three to four months. Once approved, J-2 visa holders can obtain a social security card. The EAD will have an expiration date. In order to continue working, dependents must renew their EAD card before this date.  

Can J-2 visa holders study?

Yes. J-2 visa holders are eligible to attend school in the United States.

How long can a J-2 visa holder stay in the United States?

J-2 visa holders remain in legal status in the United States as long as the Exchange Visitor Teacher has valid status. Once the teacher’s program ends, the J-2 dependent no longer has legal status in the United States.


The information on this website is for Exchange Visitor Teachers that are sponsored by ILTexas.


ILTexas partners with the Exchange Visitor Teacher sponsor organizations listed below. Please contact these organizations to learn more about their specific regulations and requirements.


ESC Region 13: (512) 919-5433


CollegeBoard Chinese Guest Teacher Program


How long will I be eligible to teach on a J-1 visa?

ILTexas issues form DS-2019 for up to three years. Exchange Visitor Taeachers are hired on a one-year renewable contract, and ILTexas annually assesses the teacher’s performance. Exchange Visitor Teachers are typically granted a three-year visa, and J-1 regulations allow the school to employ the teachers for up to three years. Extensions of one or two additional years may be available.

Can I extend my program?

Exchange Visitor Teachers are eligible to apply for an extension of one or two years, but not by a semester or by other fractions of academic years. A teacher should inform ILTexas of the desire for an extension, and the program sponsor will apply for an extension on behalf of the teacher. Applications for extensions should be made no later than three months prior to the beginning of the desired extension period. Extensions must be approved by the Department of State.

I received my visa. When can I arrive in the United States?

Exchange Visitors are permitted entry into the United States no more than 30 days before the start date on form DS-2019.

Will ILTexas buy my plane ticket to the United States?

No. Exchange Visitor Teachers are responsible for all travel to and from the United States.

Can I apply for this program if I teach a language or subject other than Chinese or Spanish?


ILTexas provides instruction in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Exchange Visitor Teachers come to ILTexas to teach Chinese or Spanish classes.

Does ILTexas offer J-1 visa sponsorship for categories other than teacher?

ILTexas has been designated by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor teachers. We are not authorized to sponsor any other J-1 visa category.

Does ILTexas offer any other type of work sponsorship for foreign nationals?

ILTexas only sponsors foreign nationals to work as teachers on J-1 visas. We are unable to sponsor foreign nationals with any other type of visa.

Can ILTexas sponsor me to work at any other school in the United States?

ILTexas only sponsors Exchange Visitor Teachers to work at ILTexas schools. We are unable to sponsor teachers to work at any other schools in the United States.

Will ILTexas help me change my status in the United States?

ILTexas cannot help applicants change their status. It is recommend that applicants who are in the United States and are eligible to change their status to J-1 contact an immigration attorney to inquire about a change of status.

What salary and benefits will I receive from ILTexas?

ILTexas Exchange Visitor Teachers are compensated for their work consistent with the pay schedule of local teachers with similar education and experience. ILTexas provides Exchange Visitor Teachers with health insurance at no cost. Exchange Visitor Teachers are eligible to enroll in and pay for other benefits such as dental insurance, vision insurance, and life insurance.

Can an Exchange Visitor Teacher work a second job?

Exchange Visitor Teachers are only authorized to perform the work described on their Form DS-2019. Teachers are ineligible to perform any other work for pay and cannot legally earn a wage at any other organization.

Where will I live?

Exchange Visitor Teachers are assigned an International Coordinator to assist with locating housing near the school. Teachers are responsible for housing costs for the duration of their time in the United States.

Do I have to pay taxes?

Exchange Visitor Teachers are paid a salary and are subject to federal taxes. Teachers from certain countries may be exempt from federal taxes due to a tax treaty between the United States and their country of citizenship. If no tax treaty exists, ILTexas will automatically deduct federal income taxes. Exchange Visitor Teachers may be exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes. Teachers are expected to file a federal tax return each year for the income earned in the United States. If a teacher needs assistance in completing a tax return, he or she should contact a tax professional.

Can I get a driver’s license?

Yes. International Coordinators assist Exchange Visitor Teachers in finding a car and obtaining a driver’s license.

How long can I stay in the United States once my program has finished?

After you have successfully completed your  program, you are permitted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to remain in the U.S. for up to 30 days. During this 30-day period, which is often referred to as the "Grace Period," you are under the jurisdiction of the USCIS and are no longer entitled to teach at ILTexas. USCIS grants this period to allow time to prepare for your return to your home country. You may travel inside the United States during this time, but you are not eligible to travel to another country as you will not be permitted re-entry to the United States because of the expired J-1 visa.

Am I eligible to repeat an Exchange Visitor Teaching program once my program is finished?

Teachers must reside outside of the United States for at least two years and must continue to meet the teacher eligibility requirements in order to be able to apply for repeat participation.

What is the two‐year home‐country physical presence requirement?

When you agree to participate in an Exchange Visitor Program and your program falls under the conditions explained below, you will be subject to the two-year home-country physical presence (foreign residence) requirement. You will be required to return to your home country for two years at the end of your exchange visitor program. This requirement under immigration law is based on Section 212(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

An exchange visitor is subject to the two‐year home country physical presence requirement under the following conditions:

  • Your J‐1 Visa program is funded in whole or in part directly or indirectly by the U.S. government or the government of your nationality or last residence.

  • You are a national or permanent resident of a country which has deemed your field of specialized knowledge or skill necessary to the development of the country, as shown on the Exchange Visitor Skills List.


Whether you are subject to this rule will be determined by the consular officer at your visa interview and will be indicated on your J Visa.