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Frequently Asked Questions - Teach USA 

What is “Program Sponsor” and DS-2019 form?
Form DS-2019 is the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1). Without this form, it is impossible to apply for the J-1 visa and participate in a cultural exchange program. Only State Department-designated sponsors are authorized to issue the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (Form DS-2019). Sponsors screen and select prospective exchange visitors based on the criteria set forth in the governing regulations. Violation of these regulations may result in termination of your program by the sponsor and you may need to depart from USA. 

What kind of teaching experience is required / qualifies to apply Teach USA program?
You must meet the qualifications for teaching in primary or secondary schools in your country and you must have minimum 2 years of full-time teaching experience at primary or secondary school level. Part time teaching positions, internships, or experience of teaching irrelevant subjects do not qualify for the Teach USA program. Most host schools prefer teachers already teaching at a primary of secondary school at the time of application. During the interview with school managers, you should be ready to share your knowledge and experience on lesson planning and classroom management. 

Fees due to participate in the Teach USA Program?
Sponsor does not charge teachers a sponsorship (program) fee or a placement fee to participate in Teach USA program. Sponsor does not charge teachers a SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Informaton System) Fee. Sponsor provides program participants with a medical insurance coverage exceeding the minimum benefits required by the regulations.
However, there are some direct costs associated with the visa application process that you will be responsible for. Also, depending on the specific details of your individual program participation, there may be other costs involved:
    Visa fee 
$ 160.
    Collection of documents‘s set necessary to prove eligibility for a J-1 visa including credential evaluations ($ 150-$ 275), criminal background check and translations. Tentatively it may cost $ 250 - $ 500 in total.
    Airfare to U.S. $ 500 - $ 1000 (depends on flight‘s distance, date/s and other factors).
   J-2 Dependent/s sponsorship fee: $ 750 / year. If you wish your dependents stay in the USA during your program, you will need to ask sponsor for a J-2 dependent visa service. Includes assessment of all accompanying J-2 Dependent applications for sponsor‘s approval decision. An unlimited number of J-2 applications in association with the J-1 exchange visitor is covered under this fee.
    J-2 Dependent/s health insurance costs. Tentatively $ 60 - $ 90 / month / person. Any J-2 dependents with you in the U.S. are required to have adequate health insurance.

What is a Credential Evaluation and how can I get it?
As a program requirement you must have a degree equivalent to U.S. Bachelors’ degree in either education or the academic subject field in which you intend to teach. To prove this equivalency, you must obtain a ”course by course” report from a registered Credential Evaluation Services Company.
You should apply for a credential evaluation only after you are interviewed by sponsor. To apply for a credential evaluation report, you should collect and send below documents to one of the companies recommended by sponsor:
  Transcripts of undergraduate, graduate degree/s,
  Diploma/s and relevant certificate/s,
  Official English translations of all transcripts and certificates,
  Resume (CV - U.S. style) in English,
  Passport copy. 
The credential evaluation companies recommended by sponsor:
    World Education Srevices (WES): 
https://www.wes.org/ ;
    Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE):
https://www.ece.org/ ;
NACES (National Association of Credential Acreditation Services) approved companies, for complete list, visit: https://www.naces.org/members  (if company is not on the list of NACES current members, sponsor will not accept evaluation).
    To learn more about how to prove the equivalence of degrees via Credential Evaluation, please visit:

Regarding Licensure in USA?
Most host schools do not require licensure prior to arrival. If certification is required, they would hire teachers under the assumption/condition that they would obtain their teaching license within a set time frame after arriving. The majority of state level departments of education will only review an application with a social security number, which makes it difficult for foreign teachers to apply until after they have arrived in the US. For this reason, sponsor specifically works with schools that either do not require certification (such as private or independent schools) or offer a pathway toward certification during the first semester, but still allow the teacher to work while their application is pending. 

What are the estimated living costs in the USA?
Please consider the following information as a tool to help you estimate monthly costs for a single J-1 Visa Holder while in the United States of America. These monthly expenses are approximate only and costs may increase based on your location, life style and family size. Living in a big city is generally more expensive than living in a smaller rural community.
Approximate monthly expenses in USA (for reference only, depends on location and other factors):
Automobile $ 350 - $ 650
Housing $ 400 - $ 1,000
Utilities $ 100 - $ 175
Cell phone $ 50 *
Food $ 200 - $ 300
Clothing $ 50 - $ 100
Travel, Leisure, Entertainment $ 100 - $200.
   (*) Pastaba: prieš vykstant į JAV, galėsite iš mūsų Centro gauti SIM kortelę naudojimuisi JAV, kurią aktyvuoti (ir Jūsų mob. tel. Nr. sužinoti) galėsite iš anksto Lietuvoje, galimi planai:
    Planas 25 USD/mėn.:
Unlimited Nationwide Talk & Text
Data 2 GB/month at 4G LTE speed, then 128 kbps
Unlimited International SMS
Unlimited Audio Streaming for iTunes, Pandora, Spotify and other music apps.
    Planas 45 USD/mėn.:
Unlimited Nationwide (USA) Talk & Text
Unlimited Data at 4G LTE
Unlimited International SMS
Unlimited Audio & Video Streaming
Free Roaming in Canada & Mexico
10 GB Hot Spot

Which states are teachers placed?
Teachers are generally placed to primary and secondary schools in U.S. Southern States. Sponsor is authorized to place teachers in any school, any location in USA where their credentials and experience allow them to teach.

Can teachers choose any particular area where they’d like to go?
We do our best to meet the expectations and preferences of both our teachers and host schools. But please note that there are many different factors such as teaching subject, open positions, schools’ preferences, timing, and licensure, which affect the result of placement efforts directly. Being flexible will definitely expedite the placement process.

Where will I live?
Sponsor will assist you to arrange a temporary housing close to your host school until you are settled. For a permanent housing most teachers prefer renting or sharing an apartment. Teachers are responsible for housing costs for the duration of their time in the United States. 

Can my family accompany me to the U.S.?
Yes. Your family members (children under 21, spouse) are allowed to stay, study and even work in the USA with J-2 dependent visa. If you wish your dependents stay in the USA during your program, you will need to ask sponsor for a J-2 dependent visa service. It’s a requirement of the J-1 visa that exchange visitors must have sufficient financial resources for the expenses of each accompanying family member on a J-2 visa. You will face with significant additional costs such as insurance, food, childcare, housing for each additional person you bring. It is highly recommended you bring your family after you have successfully settled into your new environment and feel ready to cover the costs of additional family members with your salary.

What are the general rules for salary and payroll schedules?
Employment contracts specify the annual salary teachers will get. Unless otherwise specified, term of employment for teachers is 10 months in the USA. Teacher payroll schedules vary district-to-district: some allow teachers to spread their 10-month salary over 12 months, while others don’t give any paycheck during the summer months.

Do I need a U.S. Social Security number in order to begin teaching?
No. Upon arrival, you will need to apply for the U.S. Social Security number (SSN), but you can be added to your host organization’s payroll without a SSN, as it usually takes several weeks to get SSN since date of application. When you get your SSN (on your Social Security card – hard copy by mail only), you provide your social security card with actual SSN to your host school to fix payrolls, tax deductions. 

Can I travel outside the United States during the teaching program?
You are allowed to travel outside of the United States during the teaching program for up to 30 consecutive days. Before you travel (at least 3 weeks prior to intended travel), you must send your form DS-2019 and pay a $ 30 fee to sponsor for travel validation. The signature confirms that you continue to be sponsored, and you should be allowed to re-enter at the border when returning to U.S.
In order to re-enter the United States, you must have a valid multiple entry visa in your passport. If you have a single entry visa, or if your visa has expired, you should contact sponsor well in advance of your trip so that necessary documentation can be provided. 

Can I change my teaching location?
You cannot change your teaching location unless it is approved by sponsor. It is a program regulation that participants can legally earn a wage only at the host employer listed on the form DS-2019. If you claim financial or other conditions with the host employer has changed dramatically during the program, you may contact sponsor to see if it is possible to allow you to secure a teaching position at a different site. Only sponsor can make a decision on a change in teaching location.

Can I work a second job?
No. Exchange Visitor Teachers can only work at the host organization listed on the Form DS-2019. You cannot perform any other work for pay and cannot legally earn a wage at any other organization. 

How long can I stay in the United States after the teaching program?
In accordance with the program regulations, you are allowed to remain in the United States for up to 30 days after the end date indicated on your form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility). It is very important to comply with this regulation.