Guidance from the Utah State Board of Education - USBE:
Bringing Relatives or Friends from Other countries to Utah to Attend School:
Sometimes individuals living in the State of Utah wish to bring a school-aged relative or close friend who lives in another country to live with them and attend school here. There are a host of immigration matters one must address in order to do that legally. Federal immigration laws do not authorize foreign students in the United States on short-term tourist visas to enroll in public school, and foreign students in grades K-8 are not eligible to attend public school in the United States as international exchange students. Only students in grades 9-12 are eligible to attend public school in the United States as foreign exchange students (details below). The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) has no authority over immigration matters and is not able to provide individuals with advice regarding immigration issues.
The Utah public school systems must enroll all students residing in their geographic boundaries, regardless of their immigration status. However, each student and his/her family are subject to federal immigration law. Students whose status is not clear could face deportation or other consequences from federal authorities. The USBE recommends consulting with a competent and experienced immigration attorney in order to pursue bringing a relative or friend to the United States to attend school properly and legally.
Attending High School as an International Exchange Student on a J-1 Visa:
Students from other countries who are in grades 9-12 may want to consider the option of attending school in the State of Utah for one year as a foreign exchange student. Parents or guardians who wish to send their student to the United States to study for a year as a foreign exchange student on a J-1 visa are advised to visit the website of the Council on Standards in International Educational travel at www.CSIET.org for a list of organizations that provide international educational travel services. The USBE no longer monitors foreign exchange organizations and recommends that schools and parents work only with organizations that have a full listing with CSIET. These organizations charge a fee for their services, but they should handle the J-1 visa, placement with a public-school district/charter and with a host family and should provide ongoing support for the foreign exchange student throughout the duration of their program.
Local public-school districts/charters have jurisdiction to determine whether or not to accept foreign exchange students and how many to accept per year based on the quota or allocation from the USBE. If schools are over-crowded, or if funding cuts have resulted in larger class sizes than the local public-school district/charter feels is in the best interests of students, the public school district/charter may choose not to accept foreign exchange students for a period of time, or may limit the number. In addition, public school districts/charters have the right to determine with which foreign exchange organization they work. However, if the student is presently residing in the school district, the school district must enroll the student regardless of immigration status.
J-1 FOREIGN EXCHANGE STUDENT APPLICATIONS MAY BE SUBMITTED TO WCSD, VIA MAIL OR HAND DELIVERY, BEGINNING APRIL 1, 2023 TO:
Washington County School District (WCSD)
Attn: Department of Student Services
121 W Tabernacle St.
St. George, UT 84770
The following High Schools (grades 10-12) are open for enrollment:
- Desert Hills High School
- Pine View High School
- Snow Canyon High School