TN Visa Status for Teachers Limited...H-1B Alternative

Question: My daughter graduates from teacher's college this spring and wants to know if she is allowed to teach in the US. If so, what does she have to do to obtain her work Visa? She has a four year undergraduate degree as well.

Answer: In order to apply for a TN under the Teacher category, your daughter will have to obtain a job offer through a University, College, or Seminary. The TN category for Teachers isn’t available for teaching at the High School or Elementary school levels. If she wants to teach at this level, she’ll need to file for an H-1B.   Compare TN to H-1B.

The problem with the H-1B is that they’re only available starting in October 2008. You also need to file for one in April 2008 and there’s no guarantee you’ll get one. H-1Bs are subject to an annual numerical cap and they always run out. Last year so many people applied for an H-1B the government had to set up a lottery to determine which applicants would even be considered for an H-1B.

One advantage your daughter may have is that a High School or Elementary school may be exempt from the H-1B numerical limitation and the April / October time frames. Generally, if the school has a student teaching program with a university or college, the school may be exempt. This means that your daughter could apply for the H-1B at any time and start working as soon as it is approved (2-3 months normal processing / 2 weeks expedited processing for an additional $1,000).