Sunday, March 20, 2011

J1 visa teachers Extensions & Renewals

The Cordell Hull Foundation (CHF) is currently accepting applications from public, private and charter schools to join our teacher exchange program, allowing CHF to sponsor foreign teachers to work for one to three years in US K-12 schools.

For an easy and concise synopsis of the process on how new schools can join, see our video:  CHF works with schools, school districts, and Conflucius Institutes directly, but not through third parties:  not through attorneys nor recruitment agencies.  Individual teachers or attorneys can refer the school principal or contact to CHF to explain the process directly.  The first step is to click here to complete the New Exchange Program Application Form: 

The deadline for extending teachers in their third year to a 4th and 5th year is the last week in March.  A special application process must be submitted to the government.  Teachers who are currently in their 1st or 2nd year may be renewed until the end of July of each school year.

Since 2010, CHF has annually increased the number of teachers in exchange J-1 visa teacher school programs to its current level of 700.  The Chinese government "Han Ban" Education Bureau offers a teacher exchange through Confucius Institutes housed in many US universities:  which places teachers of Mandarin and Chinese culture in public and charter K-12 schools throughout the US and pays their salaries, living expenses, and round-trip transportation.  

 Han Ban Teacher Hui Li at post in Maryland
For Han Ban teachers who wish to stay in the US over the summer and not return to China, CHF can extend their visa term for an additional year without their having to obtain an updated visa stamp. 

There are fifteen categories of J-1 visa.  See and click on the first link that takes you to the category list.  A Hanban teacher who comes to the US in J-1 teacher status cannot work in a university without the necessary permission from the university's Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) overseeing J-1 visas.

One of the oft-misunderstood facts about J-1 visa renewal is that, if the J-1 visa in the passport is expiring in mid-June of the current year (for example, June 30, 2020), it is not necessary to update the passport visa IF the foreign teachers STAYS in the US.  The updated DS-2019 form issued by the visa designation sponsor (the Cordell Hull Foundation), which lengthens the term of the J-1 teacher visa or offers an updated travel validation, is sufficient to keep the J-1 visitor in status.

A J-1 visa passport stamp that expires before the beginning of the new school year (for example September 1, 2020) does not pose a problem for the 15 categories of J-1 visas (of which "teacher" is one category) UNLESS the teacher leaves the US and tries to return to the US less than 2 weeks before the expiration date.  Therefore, to stay in J-1 visa status, an updated stamp is only required to RE-ENTER the US (provided that the teacher has received a new DS-2019 form from the visa sponsor, the Cordell Hull Foundation).

You can also find a wealth of information about the J-1 teacher exchange program on our FAQs page:

Marianne Mason, President,
Cordell Hull Foundation for International Education,
New York City