English Proficiency Requirement for J-1 Scholars

As of January 5, 2015, U.S. regulations require all new faculty, researchers, postdoctoral scholars (and some students) in J-1 immigration status to demonstrate proficiency in English.

Before a DS-2019 can be issued for a new J-1 exchange visitor, ISSO needs to receive a completed DS-2019 Request Form and ONE of the following pieces of documentation:

Option 1Recognized English Language Test

The scholar must have taken the test within the last five years:

  • TOEFL iBT
  • TOEFL paper-based test
  • IELTS

A copy of the score(s) should be attached to the DS-2019 Request form.

Option 2Diploma from English-speaking Country

Scholars must have graduated in the last 10 years with a bachelor’s or graduate degree in residence from a recognized institution of higher learning in the United States or another country where English is the first official language.

A copy of the diploma(s) should be attached to the DS-2019 Request form.

Option 3English Language Proficiency Interview

Hosting departments can document a scholar's language proficiency by recording a personal interview with the scholar, either in-person or by videoconference.

  • The interviewee’s face must be visible in the video recording
  • The spoken words of both interviewer and interviewee must be audible
  • Questions asked and answers provided must be in English.
  • Any video recording format is acceptable. We recommend Adobe Connect or Skype to record video conferences.
The assessment of language proficiency must be reported on the English Language Proficiency form, and a video recording of the interview must be provided to ISSO.

ISSO does not review recordings to assess English language proficiency, but verifies that the interview was conducted in English.

The DS-2019 Request Form and ONE of the above pieces of documentation must be received by ISSO before the DS-2019 can be issued for a new J-1 exchange visitor.