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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) External link opens in new window or tab. requirements. Visiting teachers may remain in a school district or charter school for a maximum of three years and then are expected to return to their home country to share their experiences. School districts or charter schools may apply for an "extension beyond maximum duration" for an additional one or two years.


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
  • Ensure 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 and charter schools in establishing effective processes for screening, selecting, contracting with, and credentialing exchange teachers with the CCTC

School districts and charter schools must sign an agreement of collaboration with CDE to employ an exchange visitor.

Estimated Expenses and Salary Information

Expenses: Actual Cost or Range of Costs

J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

  • U.S. Embassy appointment: $185
  • Student and Exchange Visitor Information System: $220
  • Lodging, transportation, and meals: varies according to personal choice
  • Criminal background check (Antecedentes No Penales): varies by state
  • Health screenings (Certificados: Médico y No Tuberculosis): varies by medical institution
  • Required insurance for all J-1 Exchange Visitors: $500 maximum deductible
    • Medical benefits: $100,000 minimum coverage per accident
      • $80–$350 for three months
    • Medical evacuation: $50,000 minimum coverage
      • $80–$350/twelve months
    • Repatriation of remains: $25,000 minimum coverage
      • $80–$350 for twelve months
  • Insurance for all J-2 Dependents
    • All three coverages listed above
      • $80–$350 for three months per dependents
  • Medical insurance coverage offered by the District/Charter:
    • Average per person: $450–$940/month
    • Average per family: $1,400/month
      • Some districts/charters may pay a percentage of the medical plan fee.
      • Some districts/charters may request a payment from you to be exempt from their insurance coverage. Possible cost for exemption is an average of $120.
  • Official Translation, evaluation, and certification of academic records: Varies according to number of documents that need to be translated and verified; costs may start at approximately $300–$500.
  • Sponsor Fee: $0
  • Third Party Fee: We do not work with third parties

Arrival in the U.S.

  • Airfare to California: $1,000–$1,400
  • Lodging (10 days on average): $140–$300/night
  • Bus or Light Rail transportation: $1.25–$10.00/ride
  • Apartment rental
    •  One bedroom, one bath unit with 12-month lease: $1,000–$3,000/month
  • Rental deposit: generally equal to one month’s rent
  • Utilities: $200–$350 per month
  • Used automobile: $3,500–$6,000
  • Auto insurance required by California law (liability coverage): $400–$800/year
  • Gasoline: $90–$160 per month
  • California Driver’s License application fee (Class C): $38
  • Estimated Cost of Meals
    • Average per person: $40–$50/day
    • Average per family: $100–$150/day

California Preliminary Teaching Credential and Emergency Bilingual Authorization Permits in Spanish

  • Fingerprint scans (CCTC, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Justice): $80–$180
  • Credential Application: $100
  • Emergency English Learner and Bilingual Authorization Permits in Spanish: $100 per permit

Requirements for the “Clear Credential”

  • California Basic Education Skills Test
    • Computer-Based or Online-Proctored Testing
      • $30 per section
  • California Teachers of English Learners Exam (CTEL) Leaflet 628C Exam
    • CTEL I: $98
    • CTEL II: $147
    • CTEL III: $99
  • CTEL subtests I, II, and III in a single session: $260
    • Commission-approved CTEL Course: consult individual university web pages on CCTC leaflet 628C for available courses and costs
  • California Subject Examinations for Teachers
    • Bilingual Authorization Subtests IV and V: $99 per subtest exam
    • Subject Matter Competence (three exams, subtests differ by subject): $99 per subtest exam
  • Induction Program
    • Two-year program for new teachers to California; average approximate cost: $4,500 per year
  • Developing English Language Skills, Including Reading
    • Multiple Subject Credential
      • Reading Instruction Competence Assessment exam (written examination): $171 per attempt or $57 per subtest
      • Video Performance Assessment: $80 registration fee
        • $20 registration express delivery fee (if applicable)
        • $91 submission fee
    • Single Subject Credential
      • Developing English Language Skills (including reading) course; approximate average cost: $175
      • Course offered through a variety of universities; consult individual university web page for cost and requirements.
  • U.S. Constitution exam or course
    • Online exam: $85 per attempt
    • Course offered through a variety of universities; consult individual university web page for cost and requirements.
  • Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation course average approximate cost: $60
    • Course offered by a variety of providers; consult individual provider web page for cost and requirements.

Salary: early average range

  • First-year teacher: may start at $42,000 and above; varies by district
  • Teacher with five years teaching experience: may start at $46,900 and above; varies by district
  • Teacher with five years teaching experience and a Master of Arts Degree: may start at $49,600 and above; varies by district

Estimated State and Federal taxes: single person, no dependents

  • State income tax: approximately 4–9.3 percent of salary
  • Federal income tax: approximately 12–22 percent of salary
  • Medicare and Federal Insurance Contributions Act: $0 during first two tax years; 7.65 percent of salary as of third tax year
  • State Teachers’ Retirement System: $0

Extension Beyond Maximum Duration

  • $367 Extension Beyond Maximum Duration fee paid by the district/charter to extend a J-1 teacher beyond the third year will be made payable to the California Department of Education. The fees collected will be paid to The U.S. Department of State.

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 or charter school 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 or charter school 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 or charter school?

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 62.24 (i). Visiting teachers must remain in the designated school district or charter school 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 (j), a visiting teacher can remain in CDE's program in the designated for a program period not to exceed three years unless a specific extension of one or two years is authorized. 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 or charter school in order to remain for an authorized five-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 Professional Learning Innovations Office (PLIO) 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 PLIO in CDE needs at least eight weeks to process the requests.

Must the school district or charter school notify the Educator Excellence and Equity Division in CDE upon receiving a resignation letter from a visiting teacher?

Yes. Pursuant to 22 CFR Section 62.13 (d), 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 or charter school must notify the Responsible Officer (RO) in the PLIO. The visiting teacher is also responsible for notifying the RO. The address is:

California Department of Education
Educator Excellence and Equity Division
Professional Learning Innovations Office
1430 N Street, Suite 4309
Sacramento, CA 95814

Questions:   Educator Excellence and Equity Division | 916-319-0390
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Recently Posted in Migrant/International