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English Proficiency Requirements for J-1 Scholar Sponsorship

Prior to issuing a DS-2019 the OIS is required by regulation to ensure that every J-1 Exchange Visitor (EV) possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language, as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency, to participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis. The Faculty Sponsor must verify each applicant's English language proficiency using one of the following accepted procedures.  

Option 1: Recognized English Language Test

Results of TOEFL or IELTS that meet or exceed the following minimums.

TestMinimum ScoreValidity


Paper-based Version: 600
Internet-based Version: 100

Exam date must have been
within the last 2 years*
IELTSScore of 7 or aboveExam date must have been
within the last 2 years*


*revised 4/2018

Option 2: Documented English Proficiency Interview:

The Faculty Sponsor may conduct an interview *in English* with the EV, and document that interview by completing the J-1 English Proficiency Interview Form and submitting it to the OIS.  

The Interview form was updated in February 2019.  We will continue to accept previous versions of the form until 3/15/19.  

Option 3: Completion of Bachelor's or Higher Degree Where English is the Language of Instruction

The OIS will waive the English Proficiency Test/Interview requirement for an EV sponsorship application that is accompanied by a diploma or transcript showing an earned bachelor's or higher degree from any Institution in the following countries: 

Antigua and BarbudaGuyanaSt. Helena
AustraliaIrelandSt. Kitts and Nevis
BahamasIsle of MannSt. Lucia
BarbadosJamaicaSt. Vincent and the Grenadines
Canada (except Quebec)MalawiTrinidad-Tobago
Cayman IslandsNamibiaTurks and Caicos Islands
DominicaNew ZealandUganda
FijiNigeriaUnited Kingdom
GambiaSierra LeoneUnited States
GrenadaSouth SudanZimbabwe


If you have questions about the English proficiency requirement, please contact the OIS at