Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for teachers will grow over the next 10 years as more experienced instructors from the baby-boom generation retire. As a result, math, science, and bilingual education instructors will be in great demand.

This article will inform you about immigration visas for teachers to the U.S., types of teacher visas, U.S. teacher visa benefits, and teaching salaries in the U.S.

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Immigrate to the US as a Teacher

Types of U.S. Nonimmigrant Visas for Immigrant Teachers

1- H-1B Visa for Teachers

The H-1B visa program permits foreign employees in specialty occupations to reside and work in the United States temporarily. Meanwhile, Unlike other nonimmigrant categories, H-1B employees are not required to retain a residency in their native country during their stay in the United States. The H-1B visa is a “dual-purpose” visa that allows workers to apply for lawful permanent residence status.

A “specialty occupation” is defined under the Immigration and Nationality Act as an employment occupation that requires specialized knowledge and training and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the particular field (or its equivalent) as a minimum entry requirement.

The teaching profession must be a specialty occupation in order for the teacher to be qualified for an H-1B visa, which means that a bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent must generally be the minimum qualification for the post.

The instructor must also have the necessary education and experience for the specialist vocation, such as a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher or its international equivalent, or education, training, or experience in the specialty equal to the fulfillment of such degree. In addition, if state licensure is necessary for practice in the state, the teacher must get it or proof from the licensing board demonstrating that the instructor has completed all qualifications for the license except the holding of a visa or social security number.

The company that wishes to sponsor a foreigner as a teacher for an H-1B visa has to first get a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor, which includes basic information about the prospective H-1B employment, including pay, term of employment, and place of work. The company will also attest in the LCA to the H-1B employee’s salaries and working conditions, among other things.

The foreign teacher may be accepted for a three-year initial period with a three-year extension for a total of six years. In addition, an H-4 visa is accessible for the spouse and single children under 21, letting them live in the United States but not work.

65,000 H-1B visas are available each fiscal year in the H-1B category. Fiscal year filing begins on April 1 or six months before the fiscal year begins, which runs from October 1 to September 30. Several years ago, the H-1B quota was reached within the first week of filing.

Nevertheless, not all H-1B applications are subject to the cap. For example, the cap does not apply to employees hired by institutes of higher education, a linked or connected nonprofit corporation, a nonprofit research organization, or a governmental research agency.

The employer submits the H-1B petition on Form I-129. It is filed with the certified LCA, together with documentation that the employee qualifies as a specialized profession and proof that the beneficiary instructor possesses the necessary degree and license to practice the occupation.

2- J-1 Visa for Teachers

The J-1 visa is suited for a foreign individual who temporarily arrives in the United States for training, research, or education as part of an exchange visitor program.

To be eligible for a J-1 visa, a foreign teacher needs a sponsor who is authorized by the teacher exchange program. This program will screen and select the instructors and oversee their stay in the U.S.

Foreign instructors can work as primary or secondary school teachers and college or university teachers, and research scholars.

Foreign exchange teachers in the Teacher exchange program must be fully qualified to teach at an accredited primary or secondary school, have at least three years of experience teaching in primary or secondary schools, and be citizens of their home country. Teachers can stay in the United States under this program for three years.

Foreign citizens in the Professor category primarily teach, lecture, observe or consult at postsecondary authorized educational institutions. On the other hand, research Scholars work mainly at research centers, research facilities, and similar sorts of institutions, doing research, monitoring, or consulting on research studies. The maximum involvement term for Research Scholars and Professors has been extended from three to five years.

After completing the exchange program, the J-1 visa owner must return to their home country for two years before transferring to an H or L nonimmigrant category or applying for permanent residence. A waiver is allowed under specific situations if the two-year overseas residency requirement applies.

Note: A J-1 visa owner’s spouse is qualified for a J-2 visa, which allows them to work in the United States.

3- The P-3 Visa For Teachers

The P-3 visa category is for foreign people who are visiting America temporarily to perform, teach, or coach as an artist or entertainment as part of a culturally specific program. Thus, foreign citizen art teachers and trainers who deliver instruction or training through a culturally distinct curriculum may consider applying for a P-3 visa.

To be qualified for a P-3 visa, a foreign citizen teacher must be traveling to the United States either alone or with a group to coach or teach a traditional or peculiar ethnic, folk, cultural, musical, dramatic, or artistic performance, art form, or presentation. Furthermore, they must be visiting the United States to take part in a cultural event or activities that will further the knowledge or development of their art form.

4- The O-1 Visa For Teachers

The O-1 visa category is reserved for foreign people with exceptional aptitude in science, art, education, business, or athletics. To be qualified for a U.S. O-1 visa, the foreign citizen must have demonstrated outstanding skill by sustained national or worldwide recognition. Extraordinary Ability in education refers to a degree of competence suggesting that the individual is one of a small fraction that has climbed to the very top of their field of endeavor. It is an extremely high bar, and only the most gifted persons will be granted an O-1 visa for instructors.

Foreign people with an O-1 visa might be accepted for up to three years at first. Foreign teachers may be granted visa extensions in one-year increments.

Spouses and single children under 21 of a foreign citizen teacher may gain O-3 status and go to school or college in the United States, but they cannot work.

5- R-1 Visa For Teachers

The R-1 visa type applies to foreign people who temporarily come to the United States to work as a religious minister or in a religious vocation or activity that incorporates professionals like teachers. It should be noted that the position must be religious. For example, teaching math at a religious school may not qualify.

To be qualified for a U.S. R-1 visa, the foreign citizen teacher must have been a member of a religious denomination with a legitimate nonprofit religious organization in the United States for at least two years before filing the petition.

6- Q-1 Visa For Teachers

The Q-1 visa category is reserved for USCIS-approved foreign cultural exchange programs. For example, a foreign citizen teacher may be qualified for the Q-1 visa if they want to engage in a cultural exchange program that provides technical learning or employment while also sharing the history, culture, and customs of the foreign national teacher’s home country.

Among other things, the employer must demonstrate that the program will take place in a public environment for the culture to be shared with the public. A language instructor is an instance of a position that could qualify for the Q-1.

Types of U.S. Immigrant Visas (Green Card) for Foreign Teachers

1- EB-1 Visa For Teachers

Foreign citizens with exceptional talent in science, art, education, business, or athletics and excellent academics and researchers may be eligible for a green card under this visa. The EB-1 preference is for “priority employees.” The labor certification requirement does not apply. Under this category, you cannot find any waiting time for an immigrant at the moment.

2- EB-2 Visa For Teachers

The EB-2 category allows for categorizing two sorts of workers: extraordinary ability immigrants and advanced degree professionals. Except for inhabitants of certain countries, the EB-2 category is typically less backlogged than the EB-3 category.

In most cases, a labor certification is necessary. Unless the alien seeks an exception from the job offer requirement by applying for a national interest waiver, the I-140 petition is filed by an employer. If the waiver is deemed to serve the interests of the United States, the exemption from the job offer standard and labor certification standard will be granted.

3- EB-3 Visa For Teachers

Professionals having only bachelor’s degrees in their areas are eligible for the EB-3 visa category. This group also includes skilled employees who have at least two years of job experience or training and unskilled workers who have less than two years of practice or experience.

Teachers must have labor certification and an employment offer from a U.S. firm. As a result, the EB-3 category has a longer waiting list than other employment-based categories.

The visa application must be supported by confirmation that the foreign teacher has a bachelor’s degree in the United States of America or a comparable foreign degree. The vocation needs a bachelor’s degree for entrance.

Basic Requirements for Immigration to the US as a Foreign Teacher

  • They must first receive official teacher training from a recognized university to qualify for an American Bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degrees equal four years of study. They exceed the educational requirements if they have an equivalent US Masters or Ph.D. degree.
  • The teachers must next find a competent employer willing to hire them as teachers.
How to Immigrate and work in the U.S. as a Teacher?

Benefits of Immigration to the US as a Foreign Teacher

Depending on your professional objectives and preferred workplace culture, there are several advantages to being a teacher. For example, teachers are often eligible for health insurance for themselves and their families, including medical, dental, and vision care. Teachers are also given sick leave and paid time off.

The work schedule is another advantage of becoming a teacher. While many instructors work on projects for their courses outside of regular school hours, teachers can usually expect a predetermined schedule of when they’ll need to be in a classroom and when they’ll have to attend office hours. In addition, there are often lengthy breaks for students and staff for elementary, middle, and high school instructors, including summer vacation and spring break.

Teachers may no longer be obliged to dwell in a single area, thanks to online capabilities. Some online schools and classes allow teachers to teach from any location on the planet.

Salary of Teachers in the U.S.

SchoolAverage Salary
Elementary School Teacher$65,420
Elementary School Teacher$64,990
School Counselor$62,320
Child and Family Social Worker$52,370

What U.S. States Have the Best Teaching Salaries?

The highest-paying states for teachers are determined by several criteria: demand, living costs, and state teacher certification requirements. Kindergarten and elementary level teachers (except special education) are in the top five highest-paying states in 2020, according to the BLS, followed by middle school and secondary school teachers (except career and technical education):

  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts

Note: Also, in 2020, California placed in the top five states in terms of salary for elementary school teachers and middle and high school teachers.

The Best-Paying States for High School Teachers

The U.S. stateSalary
New York$88,890
New Jersey$78,900

What are the Eligibility Requirements to Immigrate to the USA as a Teacher?

Foreign teachers must satisfy specific requirements to become qualified for teaching jobs. These requirements are:

  • Fluency in spoken and written English
  • A university degree from your native country that is comparable to a four-year bachelor’s degree in the United States. A Master’s degree improves your chances of admission. The university, as mentioned earlier, the degree must correspond to the topic you wish to teach when you arrive in the United States. As an example:
    • A Chemistry Education Degree is required to teach Chemistry. It cannot be substituted for a Geography or Mathematics Degree.
    • Geography is a subject that requires a degree in Geography; a degree in Special Education will not suffice.
    • To teach French, one is required to be a native French speaker or hold a degree in French Teaching.
  • Your stated university degree must include a component of teaching. For example, you must have finished pedagogy, teaching techniques, psychological development, a teaching internship, etc.
  • After receiving your bachelor’s degree, at least two years of classroom teaching experience is necessary.
  • A valid driver’s license and at least two years of driving experience are required.
  • Official good behavior certificate from your local police station or Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
  • You should be in good health overall.
  • A sponsoring organization in the United States. For teachers from Kenya, the Foreign Academic and Cultural Exchange Services is now the only sponsoring organization for teachers to move to the United States (FACES). You will live and work in South Carolina if you immigrate via FACE.

What are the Most Sought Subject Areas to Immigrate to the U.S. As a Teacher?

Though the most desired subjects will differ from sponsor to sponsor, the most preferred subjects are below:

PhysicsMathematicsSpecial Education
BiologyElementary EducationChemistry
Foreign languages – Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish, German, etc

Let’s Sum Up

The United States of America is the largest immigrant country in history. Isn’t it preferable to achieve the great American dream, especially as a teacher, when you obtain fully compensated employment with a salary scale comparable to your other peers and the chance to bring your dependents with you?

Foreign national instructors who seek to teach in the United States have several visa alternatives. Foreign instructors and the schools, institutes, and colleges who want to hire them in the United States can use the above unconventional visa possibilities to deal with even the oddest scenarios.

This essay looked at the various types of U.S. teacher visas, teachers’ salaries in top states, benefits of teaching in America, etc.

If you want to know more about other types of U.S. work visas, check the sidebar on the right.


  • They must first receive official teacher training from a recognized university.
  • The teachers must next find a competent employer willing to hire them as teachers.
  • EB-1
  • EB-2
  • EB-3
  • H-1B
  • J-1
  • P-3
  • O-1
  • R-1
  • Q-1

Before you may teach in most states, you must first get a teaching license.

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