High School Exchange

There are two ways to complete a short-term high school exchange programme in the US: arranging your own placement directly with a school, or participating in an established exchange programme.

Arranging Your Own Placement

Students with an immediate family member living in the US who is a US citizen or permanent resident and acts as his/her legal guardian may directly enrol in a public (state-funded) or private school. These students would follow the procedures described on the families moving to the US page; however, you may need to pay tuition. All other students would need to arrange a placement with a private boarding school.

Exchange Programme

Short-term exchange programmes last for a summer, semester or academic year and may include a "homestay" where the student lives with a host family for the duration of the programme. Most students find it easier logistically to complete a short-term exchange to the US after they have completed GCSEs or as a year after A-levels. On an exchange programme, you pay a programme fee to a sponsor organisation to arrange your school placement, visa (likely a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa) and possibly homestay. 

Here is a list of organisations that sponsor exchange programmes:


UK students travelling with their families should enter the US under the visa status of their parents. 

Students planning to live with a legal guardian residing in the US (who is a US citizen or permanent resident) should apply to the nearest US consular office for a family-based immigration visa.

Students planning to travel to the US without their parents should apply to the nearest US consular office for an F-1 Student Visa or an J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa.

Our staff is not trained to handle specific enquiries related to visas in the US. For such enquiries, information is available on the US Embassy in London website. Alternatively, you may call the US Embassy at 020 3608 6998 (Operator Assisted £1.20/minute) between the hours of 7 am - 7 pm Monday - Friday.