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    Exchange Visitor Program — Teacher

    BridgeUSA is the new brand identity for the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP).

    The Exchange Visitor program implements the federal Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (the "Act"). The Exchange Visitor program — Teacher category promotes the interchange of U.S. and foreign teachers.

    The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is one of many approved sponsors participating in this program and, like many sponsors, only sponsors exchange visitors from countries with which it has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

    The Department currently has MOUs with the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport and the Camões, Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua, I.P. Through these partnerships, licensed teachers from Spain and Portugal who meet the eligibility criteria can come to the United States on a J visa and teach as a full-time teacher of record in a Massachusetts accredited public or private primary or secondary school (pre-K–12) for up to three years.

    Estimates of Fees and Costs Related to Being an Exchange Teacher in Massachusetts

    • Sponsor fee, foreign or domestic third-party fee, or partner fees: None
    • Visa fee: $160 as of 03/23/2016
    • Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 SEVIS Fee; currently $220.
    • Health insurance costs: Educators may contact their host school for list of health insurance plans offered and related costs. Workers pay on average $1747 toward the cost of their coverage (individual coverage only; family coverage may be significantly more expensive). Source: Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) — 05/12/2019
    • Estimates for food: 11.7% of household budget (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
    • Housing: 33.3% of household budget (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
    • Local transportation costs: 15.1% of household budget (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
    • Expected work-related deductions:

    This varies by school district and will be provided to the exchange teacher by their host school/school district at the time that the exchange visitor is accepted into the program and prior to the exchange teacher signing their contract. Estimated work-related deductions can include but may not be limited to:

    • Federal withholdings (Federal Tax) — range between 10–25% of gross income (total of all income from whatever source prior to deductions, money left after deductions is referred to as net income), rate dependent upon allowable deductions. Please note that some countries have applicable tax treaties with the United States, while others do not. Exchange teachers may wish to contact a professional tax return preparer to better understand their tax obligations or for guidance on how to prepare and submit their annual U.S. federal and state tax returns Virtual Exchange Toolkit for Teachers . State withholdings (State Tax) — 5.1% of gross income
    • Medicare tax — 1.5% of gross income
    • Social Security tax — 6.2% of gross income
    • Union dues — contact host school for more information; average cost is $650 per academic year

    Massachusetts Educator License Exemption: Traditional PreK–12 public school visiting teachers on J-1 visas are exempt from having to obtain a Massachusetts educator license; however, exchange teachers employed by a Charter School are subject to Charter School Regulations and may be required to obtain a MA license, endorsement, and/or pass MTEL tests to be legally employed. Please note that even if exempt, a hiring school district may require an exchange teacher to hold a MA educator license.

    Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement Requirement: While visiting teachers on J-1 visas may be exempt from having to obtain a Massachusetts educator license, they are not exempt from the Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement requirement. **As of July 1, 2016, school districts must ensure that ELLs are assigned to core academic teachers who have obtained the SEI Endorsement or (if assigned an ELL) are required to obtain the Endorsement within a year of the assignment. As such, exchange visitors who are hired in the role of a core academic teacher and are assigned an ELL would need to obtain the SEI endorsement within a year of the assignment of the ELL student. Information on how to obtain the SEI endorsement can be found at: Sheltered English Immersion Endorsements (SEI).

    Exchange Visitor Resources

    Last Updated: May 10, 2022

    Contact Us

    Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

    Voice: (781) 338-3000
    TTY: (800) 439-2370


    Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.