Exchange Visitor Program for Teachers
The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to promote:
- Cross-cultural exchanges
- Understanding and respect between California teachers and foreign teachers
- Professional growth opportunities for teachers of California and foreign countries
- Interest in international studies and cross-cultural awareness
The eligibility requirements for visiting teachers are documented in 22 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 62.24. Foreign nationals must first apply in their home country and receive an initial screening from the Ministry or Secretary of Public Education and meet the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) requirements. Visiting teachers may remain in a school district for a maximum of three years and then are expected to return to their home country to share their experiences.
The U.S. Department of State has designated the California Department of Education (CDE) Exchange Visitor Program to sponsor exchange teachers. CDE provides coordinating staff to work with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. embassies, and the education agencies of participating nations. The staff coordinates the teacher exchange programs with other countries through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with each country. As part of the MOU, CDE staff:
- Pretest applicants' written and verbal English language proficiency
- Assure that applicants are fully qualified and properly licensed in the academic and teaching requirements of their countries of origin
- Organize necessary documents for entry into the United States
- Assist California school districts in establishing effective processes for screening, selecting, contracting with, and credentialing exchange teachers with the CCTC
School districts must sign an agreement of collaboration with CDE to employ an exchange visitor.
Questions and Answers
Can the CDE sponsor teachers from countries other than Mexico and Spain?
The Department can sponsor exchange visitors from countries that have an MOU with CDE. Without an MOU, the CDE will not sponsor teachers from other countries.
How does a school district become a CDE designee in order to hire an exchange visitor to teach full-time in an elementary or secondary public school?
The school district superintendent or his/her authorized representative needs to sign CDE's Agreement of Collaboration and comply with all appropriate provisions of 22 CFR Part 62.
Can an exchange visiting teacher procure employment outside the designated school district?
No, a visiting teacher cannot apply for employment outside the CDE's designated district for a teaching assignment. Pursuant to 22 CFR Section 62.16, a visiting teacher "who engages in unauthorized employment shall be deemed to be in violation of his or her program status and is subject to termination as a participant in an exchange visitor program." A visiting teacher's DS-2019 identifies CDE's designee for employment pursuant to 22 CFR Section 62.14 (g). Visiting teachers must remain in the designated school district for the duration of the program period unless there is a serious problem, in which case the teacher returns to his/her home country.
For how long can a visiting teacher remain in CDE's Exchange Visitor Program?
Pursuant to 22 CFR Section 62.24 (h), a visiting teacher can remain in CDE's program in the designated school district for a program period not to exceed three years. Visiting teachers must meet the qualifications for teaching in California's public schools and must pass the first year's probation with the designated school district in order to remain for an authorized three-year program period.
What are the insurance requirements for a visiting teacher?
Prior to leaving the home country and for the duration of the Exchange Visitor Program period as indicated in the DS-2019 Eligibility Certificate, a visiting teacher must have the following insurance coverage pursuant to 22 CFR Section 62.14:
- Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
- Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
- Medical evacuation in the amount of $50,000
- $500 deductible or less per accident or illness
Can family members come to California with an exchange visiting teacher?
Yes, immediate family members can accompany a visiting teacher. Any accompanying spouse and children under 21 years of age may apply for J-2 visas. Parents and siblings of the exchange visitor can apply directly to the U.S. Embassy for a tourist visa because they do not qualify for the J-2 visa.
What is needed to apply for a J-2 visa?
Immediate family members need to apply for J-2 visas at the United States Embassy in their home country. A visiting teacher needs to request an eligibility certificate DS-2019 for his or her spouse and child. The following documentation must be submitted to the International Education Office (IEO) in CDE to procure an eligibility certificate:
- Copy of a valid passport for the spouse and child,
- Marriage certificate,
- Insurance policy with the following minimum coverage:
- $100,000 per accident or illness for medical,
- Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000,
- Medical evacuation in the amount of $50,000,
- A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
The insurance corporation providing the policy must have a rating of "A-" or above, pursuant to 22 CFR Section 62.14. The IEO in CDE needs at least eight weeks to process the requests.
Must the school district notify the PLSD in CDE upon receiving a resignation letter from a visiting teacher?
Yes. Pursuant to 22 CFR Section 62.13 (c), the CDE must notify the U.S. Department of State in writing when the exchange visitor has withdrawn or been terminated from the program. For the CDE to meet the mandate, the Director of Certificated Personnel in the Human Resources Office of the school district must notify the Responsible Officer (RO) in the IEO.. The visiting teacher is also responsible for notifying the RO. The address is:
California Department of Education
Professional Learning Support Division
International Education Office
1430 N Street, Suite 4309
Sacramento, CA 95814