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HarryHonolulu

Spanish Teacher looking to teach in the US

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Greetings-

 

My girlfriend is a Spanish national currently teaching elementary school children in London, England.

 

She would like to teach in New York or New Jersey. She has a 3 years Bachelor's Degree from a Spanish university, speaks fluent English, Spanish, Italian and French.

 

What, if any, might the most successful strategy be for her to come here?

 

I was told a J1 is an option - but why not an H1-B?

If she applies for a J1, would she need to find employment prior to requesting the J1 Visa itself?

how likely would it be for schools in NY/NJ to sponsor her J1 or H1-B or offer her a job pending her Visa approval?

 

appreciate the assistance,

 

HH

 

 

 

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It is J1 for teachers, and it is not a permanent visa. 

This website (official) has info on how the program works as well as a link to find sponsors for the visa. 

https://j1visa.state.gov/programs/teacher

 

I’m guessing if it works out well for you while she’s here you will marry and she can adjust status to get a green card, then it will be permanent.

 

edit: she will need to confirm her 3-year degree is equivalent to a US bachelors degree. This can vary by country, some are but some are not equivalent. She won’t be able to teach if it isn’t.

Edited by SusieQQQ

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7 minutes ago, HarryHonolulu said:

would she need to find employment prior to requesting the J1 Visa itself?

J1 is the only real option.  Follow the link above.  Here in Arizona school districts actual recruit from the Philippines.


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2 minutes ago, SusieQQQ said:

It is J1 for teachers, and it is not a permanent visa. 

This website (official) has info on how the program works as well as a link to find sponsors for the visa. 

https://j1visa.state.gov/programs/teacher

 

I’m guessing if it works out well for you while she’s here you will marry and she can adjust status to get a green card, then it will be permanent.

I looked at that website as well. I just don't understand the difference between Sponsor (as listed on the link you sent me), and Employer as it relates to the J-1.

 

Does one need a Sponsor lined up BEFORE reaching out to Employers? or vice-versa? and why can't the Employer directly sponsor the petitioner? 

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Public school is unlikely to participate in sponsoring a visa for someone. Can you imagine how the taxpayers would react, especially when schools are already underfunded, when they hear that upwards of $10,000 has been spent by the school district to bring in a teacher from overseas. Also cap-exempt H1B is for higher education professionals, not elementary school teachers (professors, etc). 

 

My ex-husband's cousin moved to the US as a teacher. She is a chemistry teacher at a private girl's school. The school is a private catholic girl's school that wanted a female chemistry teacher who is also catholic. Apparently female science teachers are hard to find so they brought one in from overseas. But this was a private school that doesn't have to answer to the taxpayer. 

 

What qualifications does she have? 

Edited by JFH

 

 

 

 

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The vast majority of non-tourist visas require a sponsor, you don’t self-apply as such.

 

the first step in obtaining a J-1 visa is to submit a Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. This form will be provided by your sponsoring agency. You should work closely with the officials at your sponsoring agency who will be assisting you through this process.  An official who is authorized to issue Form DS-2019 is known as a Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO). Your RO or ARO will explain to you what documents are needed in order to be issued a DS-2019. 

 

https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/students-and-exchange-visitors/exchange-visitors

 

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2 minutes ago, JFH said:

Public school is unlikely to participate in sponsoring a visa for someone. Can you imagine how the taxpayers would react, especially when schools are already underfunded, when they hear that upwards of $10,000 has been spent by the school district to bring in a teacher from overseas. Also cap-exempt H1B is for higher education professionals, not elementary school teachers (professors, etc). 

 

My ex-husband's cousin moved to the US as a teacher. She is a chemistry teacher at a private girl's school. The school is a private catholic girl's school that wanted a female chemistry teacher who is also catholic. Apparently female science teachers are hard to find so they brought one in from overseas. But this was a private school that doesn't have to answer to the taxpayer. 

 

What qualifications does she have? 

That all makes sense. How did your ex-husband's cousin come across that position? It sounds like SUCH a specific opportunity. That's what I am having trouble with- narrowing down the options to schools that would actually need someone like her.

 

Her qualifications: BA in Early Childhood Education from a top University in Spain, some childhood psychology courses in the US (at Stanford), fluent in 4 languages (English, Spanish, Italian and French)

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Just now, HarryHonolulu said:

That all makes sense. How did your ex-husband's cousin come across that position? It sounds like SUCH a specific opportunity. That's what I am having trouble with- narrowing down the options to schools that would actually need someone like her.

 

Her qualifications: BA in Early Childhood Education from a top University in Spain, some childhood psychology courses in the US (at Stanford), fluent in 4 languages (English, Spanish, Italian and French)

There is a list of sponsors in the link I attached above, including in the states your girlfriend is interested in. Suggests she contacts them as a first point to see what they have available and what they require. (Not sure why you are trying to narrow down the options when placement is part of what they do. Go to the sponsor page, select “teacher” under type of program, and start enquiring of the sponsors. Well this should be your girlfriend doing this bit anyway, not you?)

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2 minutes ago, SusieQQQ said:

There is a list of sponsors in the link I attached above, including in the states your girlfriend is interested in. Suggests she contacts them as a first point to see what they have available and what they require. (Not sure why you are trying to narrow down the options when placement is part of what they do. Go to the sponsor page, select “teacher” under type of program, and start enquiring of the sponsors. Well this should be your girlfriend doing this bit anyway, not you?)

I'm going to get her to reach out once I know what the strategy is - I am much more familiar with immigration woes in the US than she is (currently awaiting my Green Card). And even then, as you can see, it's always a new step into the dark!

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1 minute ago, HarryHonolulu said:

I'm going to get her to reach out once I know what the strategy is - I am much more familiar with immigration woes in the US than she is (currently awaiting my Green Card). And even then, as you can see, it's always a new step into the dark!

Well, except that it’s an exchange visitor visa you’re looking at here, not an immigrant visa.

are you aware that some J visas require the person to spend 2 years back in their home country before returning to the US (other than as a B visitor?) you’d need to check she doesn’t end up with one of these given your presumed goal is to have her present in the US as long as possible.

 

and as with any other non-immigrant visa, it can be refused for having immigrant intent, which could be an issue in this situation. 

 

 

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Looking at the Sponsor List now. 

Does the state they are in determine which schools they would place the petitioner in?

In other words: would contacting a Sponsor in Ohio limit a teacher to only being considered for positions in Ohio?

Or are they simply offices that operate out of states but have national reach?

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Well here’s a clue, Chicago public schools will be in Chicago ;) (yes there are public schools on the list)

 

and again please start by confirming her degree equivalency to know if she can even do this. A number of countries with 3 year degrees require further formal study to be considered equivalent to a US 4-year bachelor. I don’t know specifics for Spain. 

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I was told by one of the sponsors that my girlfriend was "not qualified". I was not given any further information. 

I fear that you are on the right track re: the discrepancy between her 3 year Spanish BA  and a 4 year American BA.

I always assumed a BA is a BA.

the only other issue in the eligibility requirements for the J1 would be "Meet Department of Education eligibility and certification standards of the U.S. state in which they will teach" which she currently does not.

 

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11 minutes ago, HarryHonolulu said:

I was told by one of the sponsors that my girlfriend was "not qualified". I was not given any further information. 

I fear that you are on the right track re: the discrepancy between her 3 year Spanish BA  and a 4 year American BA.

I always assumed a BA is a BA.

the only other issue in the eligibility requirements for the J1 would be "Meet Department of Education eligibility and certification standards of the U.S. state in which they will teach" which she currently does not.

 

No, I know for my country and Australia among others, you need a 4th year “honors degree” after the 3-year BA to be considered equivalent to a US bachelors. And yes she’d need state certification, I don’t think that’s  usually a huge obstacle to get but having a US bachelors equivalent is (afaik) a prerequisite for even applying for that anyway.

 

Do you guys have a plan B?

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Just now, SusieQQQ said:

No, I know for my country and Australia among others, you need a 4th year “honors degree” after the 3-year BA to be considered equivalent to a US bachelors. And yes she’d need state certification, I don’t think that’s  usually a huge obstacle to get but having a US bachelors equivalent is (afaik) a prerequisite for even applying for that anyway.

 

Do you guys have a plan B?

 

well, I should point out that this is a very recent romance and we are running on enthusiasm and on the fact that she is not happy with her current teaching position. as stated earlier, I am helping her to a certain point but then it's up to her to take the lead if she truly wants to make this happen. 

 

my plan B if she doesn't take the initiative is to find myself a new girlfriend in America since I live in Brooklyn. 

 

I mean... we could get married, but then what? from what I can tell, as the spouse of a Green Card holder she wouldn't be allowed to work in the US anyway.

 

Regardless: I am so grateful for your assistance! It's so great to see people still want to help each other out. yay humanity. :)

 

 

5 minutes ago, SusieQQQ said:

No, I know for my country and Australia among others, you need a 4th year “honors degree” after the 3-year BA to be considered equivalent to a US bachelors. And yes she’d need state certification, I don’t think that’s  usually a huge obstacle to get but having a US bachelors equivalent is (afaik) a prerequisite for even applying for that anyway.

 

Do you guys have a plan B?

I imagine getting an additional degree that can qualify her for the J1 is a pain in the bum, especially since she's not in her native country...

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