English Proficiency Requirement for J-1 Scholars

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

Option 1:Recognized English Language Test

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

  • Internet Based TOEFL  (iBT)
  • TOEFL paper-based test
  • IELTS
  • Institutional/Campus based English Tests are NOT recognized.

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

Option 2:Diploma 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 3:English 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
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.