J-1 Exchange Visitor Program English Language Proficiency Requirement

Per Subpart A final rule, program sponsors are required to determine not only that the prospective exchange visitor's English is sufficient but sufficient "to function on a day-to-day basis" outside of the direct program activity. The new Subpart A also requires a program sponsor to make their English language proficiency determinations using an objective measurement by one of the following three methods:

  1. A recognized English test such as IELTS or TOEFL, or
  2. Official documentation from an English language school or an academic institution where English is the primary language of instruction, or
  3. An interview conducted by the program sponsor. The interview must be documented and can be done in-person, via video conferencing, or by telephone (if video conferencing is not possible).

Program sponsors must also keep evidence on how they evaluated the exchange visitor’s English language proficiency and be able to provide the corresponding documentation to the U.S. Department of State upon request.

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