English Language Proficiency for J-1 Scholars
The U.S. Department of State requires all J-1 program sponsors to ensure that “The exchange visitor possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language, as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency, successfully to participate in his or her program and to function on a day-to-day basis.” ISSS must receive documentation demonstrating a prospective J-1 Scholar’s English proficiency before we can issue the requisite DS-2019 form. In order to comply with this requirement, scholars have the following options:
1) Scores from one of the following English tests that are not more than 2 years old and meet or surpass the listed minimum test score.
ECCE, ECPE, MELAB, or MET
Note: these scores have been determined to be the minimum required to meet the U.S. Department of State’s regulations for J-1 Exchange Visitors. ISSS encourages departments to additionally conduct their own analysis of the visitor’s English language ability to determine whether the visitor possesses the proficiency level needed to successfully engage in the proposed activities.
2) Evidence the visitor has completed a Bachelor’s or graduate degree within the past 10 years at a recognized institution of higher learning in the U.S. or a country where the language of instruction is English.
a. For U.S. degrees, a diploma or transcript indicating degree conferred
b. For non-U.S. institutions, a transcript in English showing degree conferred. If transcript does not note English as the language of instruction, an official letter from the institution’s registrar confirming the visitor attended the institution and the medium of instruction was English must be submitted as well.
3) Evidence the visitor, within the last 5 years, has taught at an accredited U.S. school, international school, or a school where language of instruction is English. If the is not in the U.S. or in an English language-speaking country, the school would need to provide documentation.
4) Evidence the visitor is a citizen or lawful permanent residency holder of a country where the official language is English as documented by a passport or LPR card. See list of countries below.
Anguilla Cayman Islands Lesotho St. Kitts & Nevis Swaziland
Antigua and Barbuda Dominica Liberia St. Lucia Tanzania
Australia Fiji Malawi St. Vincent & Tonga
Bahamas Gambia Malta the Grenadines Trinidad & Tobago
Barbados Ghana Mauritius Seychelles Turks & Caicos Is
Belize Gibraltar Micronesia Shetland Islands Uganda
Bermuda Grenada Montserrat Sierra Leone United Kingdom
Botswana Guyana Namibia Singapore Vanuatu
British Virgin Islands Ireland New Zealand Solomon Islands Wales
Cameroon Jamaica Nigeria South Africa Zambia
Canada (except Quebec) Kenya Papua New Guinea Zimbabwe
5) Evidence that, within the past 5 years, the visitor has been employed for at least 2 years by a firm that conducts business exclusively in English. Employer would need to provide documentation.
6) If the visitors currently holds J-1 status and is transferring to UNC from another institution it will be presumed that they have met the English proficiency requirement already.