International Students and Scholars Office

English Language Proficiency Requirements for J-1 Scholars

In January 2015, federal regulations began requiring that J-1 Exchange Visitor program sponsors must determine that prospective J-1 Exchange Visitors have sufficient, verifiable English language skills to participate in the program and to function on a day-to-day basis.

Departments wishing to sponsor a J-1 Exchange Visitor will submit evidence to the ISSO documenting how English language proficiency was measured. Supporting documentation for proof of proficiency should be dated and less than one year old.

How to Prove English Language Proficiency

Departmental hosts can use one of the following objective measurements to document English language proficiency.

  • Recognized English language test
    • TOEFL iBT score of 80 with no less than 20 on each section
    • IELTS score of 6.5 with no less than 6 on each band score
  • Documented interview
    • Documented interview by the faculty sponsor conducted via: in-person; by videoconferencing; or by telephone
  • English as native language 
    • Confirmation that the exchange visitor is from a country where English is both the only official language of the country and the language of instruction (such as United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada)
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