Transfer Policy


The Cordell Hull Foundation, based in New York City, has a non-transfer policy for K-12 foreign exchange teachers in J-1 visa status.

Taking part in cultural exchange, adjusting to working and living in a different country, is an adventure full of hurdles and challenges that often makes you step out of your comfort zone.  However, the Cordell Hull Foundation’s policy is that you not transfer schools, that you try to adapt and remain committed to the school that has invited you to live and work in the United States. This is sometimes difficult during the 2nd and 3rd stages of Culture Shock (Oct.-March), but most teachers manage to adapt and get past the challenges of adjusting to a new culture and a new teaching environment during these six months, which leads to transformation, becoming bi-cultural, able to adapt to new environments and ways of thinking.

This video explains possible exceptions but it does not mean you are automatically entitled to transfer just by alleging that any of these conditions exist:

Cordell Hull Foundation Non-Transfer Policy from CHF on Vimeo.

Rarely, there are extraordinary circumstances in which we might consider a transfer. Of course, teachers must contact the Cordell Hull Foundation in advance – no less than two weeks in advance but preferably sooner – to check if an exception applies to you.  Teachers cannot make a transfer without our permission and without contacting us in advance.

Five possible circumstances:

  • First, if the school has closed.  The school must have actually closed for this to apply. Or if the school has phased out your job or class due to declining enrollment, financial difficulties, etc.
  • Second, if the school or school district fails to pay a teacher´s salary
  • Third, if a teacher can prove that your working environment is detrimental to your health, safety and welfare which you have to prove in writing per OSHA guidelines.

Note:  This exception does not apply alone during a pandemic when the health and safety of everyone in the country is threatened by a contagious infection, such as Covid.

  • The 4th possible reason to transfer – depending upon circumstances – occurs when new management is installed after a teacher is already working or has already signed a contract.  There may be additional demands or conflicts that arise as a result of new policies which you did not sign off on originally.  Teachers must present a written statement as evidence.
  • The 5th absolute reason (not subject to our approval) would be if the Cordell Hull Foundation discovers that the foreign teacher is not paid the equivalent salary of other American teachers working in the same school who have the same education and years of teaching experience at the K-12 level, irregardless whether that experience has been gained in another country or in the US. If the teacher sends us the salary scale and a copy of their paycheck reflecting less than the number published on the school website.

Bear in mind that the teacher must talk directly to the Cordell Hull Foundation, or email to dir@cordellhull.org, to get permission. A transfer is subject to CHF consideration and is not automatic unless it is the 5th reason, non-equivalent salary. If the teacher is not being paid the equivalent salary, there is no question as to whether they can transfer.

The J-1 visa regulations require the current school to write the support letter for a 4th to 5th year extension. The teacher should be extending with the same school unless the circumstances are unusual.

Note: Under no circumstances is a teacher sponsored in J-1 visa status by CHF allowed to transfer twice during the 1-5 year term.

If we decide to consider a transfer, the teacher must reimburse the school for the sponsorship fee if they leave during the year. The new school must sign a contract with CHF to host the teacher exchange program, if there is not already an existing teacher exchange.

Write to dir@cordellhull.org if you are a teacher or school currently sponsored by CHF and have questions about our considering a transfer in your particular circumstances.  The decision is usually determined within 10 business days.