Although there are no costs involved with applying to the FACES Exchange Visitor Program, you will incur expenses while an exchange visitor teacher. The only expense you will incur prior to arrival in South Carolina is the application fee for obtaining a J1 Visa (a non-refundable $180 USD nonimmigrant application processing fee). Each exchange visitor who applies for a visa at a U.S. embassy, or consulate, must pay the current nonimmigrant visa $180 application processing fee. Read more about current fees for State Department services. Visit Bureau of Consular Affairs on how to apply for a J visa.
Anticipated cost of living
The following monthly expenses are approximate $USD depending on lifestyle choices and based on 1 person (no family members). Based on 12 months, FACES teachers can earn a $2,700 to $5,200 per month before any taxes, or withholdings. Salaries vary depending on verifiable experience and earned degrees.
- Housing - $400 to $600 depending on location, number(s) of bedroom(s), amenities, etc. This expense can be reduced with sharing rent with a roommate. Some accomodations come furnished.
- Food - $200 to $300 depending on your appetite
- Utilities (electric and water) - $175 - $125 depending on amount of use. Some utility expenses are included in the housing rent.
- Cell phone service - $50 - $175 depending on the usage and various carrier packages.
- $300 - $400 installment payments for financed loan repayments on used automobile costing $8,000 - $14,000.
- Repair and fuel costs depend on vehicle use (approximately 10% of auto purchase).
- $100 - $300 insurance premium depends on extent of coverage limits, type and age of vehicle acquired.
- Income Taxes (Federal and State) - 16% of gross earned income. Some countries have tax treaties with the United States whereby income is exempt for 24 months for first-time exchange visitor teachers. Click here to check if your country is tax-favored.
- Other Federal Taxes - 7.65% for Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) includes Social Security Tax and Medicare Tax for resident aliens. Upon arrival in the U.S. you are a nonresident alien. After approximately two years, your tax status changes to resident alien.
- Health Insurance - $120 - $150 depending on insurance plan and coverage benefits. Optional Medical/Accident insurance is provided at no cost by FACES.
- Other expenses - Entertainment, clothes, personal hygiene and other "cannot do without" items are determined by individual needs, or desires.
In addition, should you invite any immediate family member(s) to come stay with you, consider the extra expenses you will likely incur.