Cordell Hull Foundation

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This page contains answers to common questions asked by potential participants in the Cordell Hull Foundation Teacher Exchange Program, along with useful tips that are included as questions.

What is the CHF Teacher Exchange Program?
The Cordell Hull Foundation (CHF) is authorized by the U.S. Department of State to sponsor exchange visitor J-1 visa applications from foreign national teachers for U. S. private and public elementary and secondary schools.  If the teacher and school programs meet our requirements, CHF will consider establishing an exchange visitor program with the cooperation of the principal and/or school district.  An individual teacher may not apply to our program unless CHF has first set up an exchange program with the school or school district, which must cover CHF sponsorship costs.   Back to Top

What are the requirements for teacher acceptance into the CHF Exchange Visitor Program?
To be eligible to participate in this program, foreign nationals must (1) meet the qualifications for teaching in primary or secondary schools in their country of nationality or last legal residence, (2) have a minimum of three years of teaching or related professional experience, and (3) satisfy the standards of the US state in which they will teach. 

(4) Applicants must be proficient in the English language.

(5) Teacher candidates must also be of good reputation and character, and seek to enter the United States to (6) teach full time.  

The school, district or state must set up a CHF J-1 visa teacher exchange program if there is not already an existing one.   Schools must be primary or secondary accredited educational institutions in the United States.  School exemption from certification does not apply in this case.  The school, district or state must cover CHF sponsorship costs.  
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How do I apply for the CHF Teacher Exchange Program?
If the school, district or state already has met the requirements and set up a J-1 exchange teacher visitor program with the Cordell Hull Foundation ...

Answer all questions on the 3-page Cordell Hull Foundation application, insert a scanned passport photo and copy of teaching certification or highest university degree from your home country.  Click to upload the CHF Teacher Application Form.  If a pop-up window appears, click on Cancel or press ESC on your keyboard.  Save the file on your computer with your "lastname_CHFapp."  Write us a cover note in the body of your email (in English, French, or Spanish) and attach the completed form after inserting a digital photo.  If you are not successful in inserting your photo, send it to:
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If it is difficult and time-consuming for you to complete the application in English, you may write in French and Spanish.  The majority of CHF programs are French and Spanish language-immersion schools that do not require the degree of fluency in English needed to teach in English.  These schools are staffed with bilingual professionals.  For all other languages, you must complete the CHF teacher application in English.  Back to Top

How may I contact the Cordell Hull Foundation to apply or to ask questions?
1.  First read this page to learn about how the J-1 exchange visa program works.  Be aware that CHF is not an employment agency and does not work with teachers independently.  An exchange program must be officially set up via written agreement with the school or district.  With all new programs starting January 2007, the school or district must cover the expense of J-1 program sponsorship through the Cordell Hull Foundation, not individual teachers.
2.  Secondly, fill in our Teacher Exchange application:

3.  You may complete the application in English, French or Spanish if you prefer.
4.  Read, sign and complete the Memorandum of Understanding.  Either mail it to our address below or fax to:  646-349-3455.
5.  In your covernote to, describe why you are applying and sending the application. 
6.  General questions from teachers submitting unsolicited applications are answered only after teachers first complete the CHF Teacher Application form. 
7.  If you have been already received a tentative job offer pending acceptance into the CHF Exchange Visitor Program, and the school or district has already set up an exchange program through written agreement with the Cordell Hull Foundation, you may write or call to ask questions about the process.  
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May I request placement in a particular state or region of the U.S.?
CHF is not a personnel placement firm.  We do not charge recruitment fees.  CHF works with school, school-district, and state administration.  Teachers may find job opportunities by attending international job fairs in the country or origin or researching teacher personnel search firms such as:

International School Services

Council of International Schools (COIS)

Search Associates

Carney Sandoe

University of Iowa

If you wish to target a certain city or region, and obtain a teaching job offer, CHF will then consider setting up a teacher exchange program with the school or district if it is near an existing one in that state or in a large city there is an established exchange teacher program.  In that event, please have the school or district contact us directly.  We do not allow individual teachers to cover the costs of CHF exchange teacher sponsorship.
See school requirements below.  
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Where can I find out about other teachers' experiences?
See Teacher Perspectives for commentary from outstanding CHF J-1 exchange teacher visitors describing their experiences in the U.S. under our sponsorship, in English, French and Spanish.    Back to Top

What costs do teachers incur after being accepted into the Teacher Exchange Program?
Exchange teachers pay airfare and usually cover consular processing fees at the American Embassy abroad to obtain the J-1 visa passport stamp. 
The two fees are:
     (1) $131 Embassy entrance fee paid in advance at a bank or post office in the home country.  Note:  This fee was raised on January 2008.
     (2) Additional $100 "SEVIS" fee paid to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the Internet or through 800 no.  Click here for Form I_901 instructions:
Note:  During a possible 3-year J-1 exchange visa term, only pay the SEVIS fee once.  J-2 dependents of the teacher do NOT pay the SEVIS fee of $100.

In some countries, such as France, teachers may incur a telephone fee of approximately $25 to make the visa appointment.  You may be asked to purchase a pre-paid courier envelope (~$20) to mail the passport back after consular review.

Other countries, such as India, tack on additional small fees.  Be sure to read the instructions on the website of the specific American Embassy where you plan to apply.  Back to Top

What is the process to get a J-1 Visa stamp in my passport?
The Cordell Hull Foundation provides the necessary documents and instructions for the exchange teacher candidate including a properly executed DS-2019 form. The teacher submits the application package to the nearest U.S. Embassy in the country of origin for approval of J-1 Visa status. The American Embassy charges two $100 fees - a total of $200 - to process the visa.  Each fee is paid separately.  See What costs do teachers incur after being accepted into the Teacher Exchange ProgramBack to Top

Applicants must make an appointment for an interview with a consular officer.  J-1 visa stamps cannot be obtained anywhere in the United States, nor can you renew your J-1 visa inside the United States.  Cordell Hull Foundation staff will consult with you for more detailed information and advice regarding changing visa procedures and policy in specific countries.  Since the J-1 is a non-immigrant visa, the burden of proving "non-intention to immigrate" falls upon the teacher applicant.  In countries where the preponderance of non-immigrant visa applicants do not return to their home countries, that burden of proof is heavier.  Canadians are currently exempted from going to the American Embassy for J-1 visa stamps but will lose that privilege in two years.   Most European and Anglophone countries require only basic visa support documents from CHF and the standard Embassy application forms.  Consular Office (visa) procedures and policies change frequently and without notice.  If you are accepted into our program, CHF will consult with you on an individual basis, offering tips on how to navigate the ever-increasingly complicated visa process.    Back to Top

What forms do I fill out to take to the American Consular office to get my J-1 visa passport stamp?
Each applicant must complete Form DS-156.  Please use the following interactive electronic link to complete it:

All applicants must complete form
DS-158 Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant

Men aged 16-45 must also fill out the DS-157 form.  Both of these forms may be found in Acrobat Reader fill-in versions at the following links:

"Fill-in" forms you can download on your computer in pdf format, click in the blanks and complete the blanks on computer, then print and sign the forms.  You can sometimes save the form on your computer, depending upon what programs are loaded on the hard drive.

You will need receipts for advance payment of the two visa fees to the American Consulate and SEVIS.  Check the website of the American Embassy in your home country to download these documents.  CHF includes a letter of instruction when forwarding the necessary backup paperwork to exchange teachers who are accepted into the program.   Read the specific procedure on the website and follow the instructions.  Additional documents may be requested for non-immigrant visas in certain countries.
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Are family members allowed to accompany me to the U.S.?
Some countries approve "derivative" J-2 visas for immediate family members of the teacher. If the J-2 visa holder is in correct status, s/he may apply for a work permit (EAD) after arriving in the U.S. and applying for a social security number.  Form I-765 may be downloaded, fee paid by credit card and emailed directly to the Internal Revenue service:
CHF does not guarantee visas for dependent relatives nor work permits.  When requesting a work permit, the dependent must explain why the income is not needed to support the family, only for the dependent's enhancement or to improve the family's overall standard of living.  The maximum number of dependents usually allowed is three: spouse and 2 children or 3 children.  If an exchange visitor is requesting four or more dependents, special procedures apply.  The EV is not allowed four dependents during the first year.
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What is the purpose of the Teacher Exchange Program? 
The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program, established by the Fulbright-Hayes Act of 1961, is to foster improvement of understanding between cultures through international exchange.  During the exchange tenure, teachers are expected to broaden student understanding of their native cultures and languages, and, in turn, acquire first-hand knowledge of the American way of life.  After spending 1-3 years in the U.S., the teacher returns to the home country with improved English skills to share first-hand knowledge of American culture.  Back to Top

What is a J-1 visa?
"J-1" is the non-immigrant visa category allowing The Cordell Hull Foundation to bring exchange teacher visitors to work in the United States on a temporary basis of one year, renewable each year up to three years.  The J-1 visa regulations strictly limit length of stay to three years maximum for teachers.  Although the Research Scholar category of the J-1 visa was lengthened to five years in 2004, the Teacher category limit remains at three years. 
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What is a J-1 sponsor?
The Cordell Hull Foundation is a J-1 sponsor granted authority by the U.S. Department of State to administer individual Exchange Teacher Visitor programs. The Foundation must ensure that the teacher candidate meets the requirements. As part of its responsibilities, the J-1 sponsor provides the exchange teacher visitor with pre-arrival information, immigration instructions, orientation and monitors the activities of the program participant.  
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What is a DS-2019 form?
The DS-2019 form is a document issued by the Responsible Officer of CHF to the exchange teacher, describing the period and terms of the proposed visit. This form is a prerequisite for obtaining the J-1 visa passport stamp at a U.S. Consulate abroad, preferably in the home country.
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What are CHF's guidelines and requirements for schools?
Schools must pay CHF's administrative fee to sponsor your exchange visit from 1-3 years on a J-1 teacher visa.  If a school's policy is to stay independent of the visa process, requiring teachers to have visas before they consider hiring you, and/or if the teacher's positive exchange experience in the U.S. is not a priority, the school or district would not qualify for J-1 visa sponsorship by CHF.  CHF's policy is to work directly with schools, not through third-party representation, nor with a teacher independently.  Third parties are most welcome to contact us and refer CHF to schools in order to discuss setting up a teacher exchange program. 
Individual schools must be state-certified to qualify.
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How can our school establish a J-1 Exchange Program?
First read this FAQ section to get answers to your questions.  Then fill out the New Program Application form which you can access from the home page of this website.

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You may contact the Cordell Hull Foundation to discuss what positions need to be filled by email: or telephone.  We can offer candidates from our database or work with applicants in whom you are interested.  A contract can include setting up customized recruiting arrangements in specific countries using CHF multilingual staff and/or selection committees in the foreign country.  As a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, CHF is not a personnel agency and do not seek jobs for individual teachers.  We do not charge a percentage for teacher placement.   A monitoring visit is generally arranged at the school or district office to meet the staff and/or exchange teacher(s) sponsored by CHF, preferably in advance of setting up the exchange program.  Participating schools must be certified as educational institutions at the elementary and/or secondary level.  Day-care facilities are not eligible for exchange visitor programs.  Uncertified schools that are exempt from state certification are ineligible for acceptance.  Back to Top

All new teachers in J-1 status are required to attend a Cordell Hull Foundation orientation, presented in midtown Manhattan, New York City, in August, and in Los Angeles and San Francisco in September 2008.  These day-long sessions help prepare new teachers to understand and adjust to American culture and thus make the most of their exchange experiences while in the U.S., and also in enhancing their teaching skill.  Back to Top
What are the Health Insurance requirements?
If you wish to obtain J-1 exchange teaching status, you must maintain adequate health insurance throughout your entire stay in the U.S.  Failure to do so may render the teacher out of status, requiring you to be removed from the exchange program and return to your home country immediately.  See below for required minimum guidelines.   Back to Top


Pursuant to 22 CFR Part 62.14, adequate Health Insurance coverage is mandatory for EVs and their dependents for the duration of the program. Specific minimum coverage provisions for your health insurance policy while in the US must include:

      (1)   medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness;
(2)   repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500;
expenses associated with medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000; and
(4)   a deductible not to exceed $500.

Medical insurance must be maintained throughout your entire Exchange Visitor Program. 

Failure to maintain the above health insurance minimums will render the EV out of status and constitutes grounds for removal from the program.

For additional information on purchasing comprehensive J-1 and J-2 health insurance, write to

Sample Health Insurance Providers

A list of additional health insurance providers may be found at: