English Language Proficiency

REGULATORY CHANGES TO THE J‐1 EXCHANGE VISITOR PROGRAM

The US Department of State recently announced regulatory changes to its J‐1 Exchange Visitor Program.
These changes went into effect on January 5th 2015.
Of particular importance to the hosting departments and all Brown affiliated hospitals is the new English
language proficiency requirement. Effective immediately, all new J‐1 applications for scholars and
students at Brown must include a signed English Language Proficiency Certification. We have included a
sample letter below. This form will need to be completed BEFORE any DS‐2019 forms for J‐1 scholars
and students can be issued at Brown.
Below is a highlight of the new changes and how they will impact J‐1 scholars and students, as well as
hosting departments and Brown affiliated hospitals:

English language proficiency

Under the new regulations, the State Department requires that J‐1 sponsors verify that J‐1 exchange
visitors have sufficient English fluency to:

Perform their J‐1 activities or complete their academic program;

Navigate daily life in the US;

Read and comprehend program materials;

Understand fully their responsibilities, rights, and protections; and

Know how to get help if needed.

The State Department allows 3 options to verify English language proficiency:

1.) A documented interview by Brown's hosting department with the J‐1 exchange visitor, either in person
or by videoconference; (sample letter provided [see English Language Certification J-1 below])

2.) A recognized English language test (TOEFL or IELTS); or,

3.) Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school.
If a new scholar chooses to take an English language test, these are the minimum scores:
TOEFL (paper) TOEFL (internet) TOEFL (computer)  IELTS      Pearson
550                          79                                213                                   6                   59