J-1 Exchange Visitor Program Regulations English Proficiency
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has implemented a new provision within the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program regulations requiring all sponsors to document that their J-1 visitors/visa holders have sufficient English language proficiency. Effective January 5th, 2015, an objective measurement of English proficiency will need to be documented in order for a prospective visitor or employee to participate in our J1 program. Beginning on Monday, January 5, 2015, any new requests for J-1 visa documents (DS-2019 form, etc) will be subject to this requirement. A document is currently being reviewed and will be added to the J-1 visa information form that our J-1 visitors fill out to obtain their visa documents.
There is a short list of documents that we can collect that will exempt some J-1 scholars from any additional procedures related to this requirement. For example, if they have a passport from an English speaking country, a copy of a diploma from a U.S. university or foreign university where instruction was given in English, a letter from an English language school, or if they can submit scores from a recognized English proficiency test taken within the last two years, no other action will be necessary. If they do not possess one of the documents listed above, two other options will be available: 1) an English Proficiency Interview Assessment Report can be completed by the host laboratory/program, or 2) Human Resources can order an online English language proficiency exam for the prospective J-1 scholar from Mountain States Employers Council for a fee of $30 (an account key will be needed from the lab/program for the charge). If the lab/program opts for the interview assessment report, a template and scoring rubric will be provided.
Please note that this requirement does not impact foreign nationals coming to the U.S. on any other visa type (B-1,Visa Waiver Program, H-1B, TN, etc.).