English Language Proficiency for J-1 Exchange Visitors

Per U.S. Department of State federal regulations, scholars must have "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." [22 CFR 62.10(a)(2)]

Documentation of English Proficiency  

The U.S. Department of State provides three ways to verify and document a scholar's English language proficiency:

1) An objective, recognized English language test

The following scores are acceptable to fulfill the English proficiency requirement. Host departments may choose to require different scores and validity dates of scores specific to their programs.

2) Signed documentation from the scholar's academic institution or English language school

To satisfy the U.S. Department of State criteria, the certification by an academic institution or English language school must include the following on school letterhead stationery. Use the recommended template letter:

  • Name of scholar
  • Issue date
  • Title of school official
  • Printed name of school official
  • Signature of school official such as a Chair, Professor, Dean, PI, Academic Advisor, or English language instructor.
  • Statement that the scholar has, "sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate successfully in his or her program AND to function on a day-to-day basis."

3) A documented interview conducted by the UCB faculty sponsor/host department designee

The interview should be conducted by someone who has the authority to evaluate the scholar's credentials for success in their program. This might include, but is not limited to, the UCB PI/Faculty Sponsor, Director, Dean, Human Resources Personnel, or Program Manager. This individual must be able to justify the scholar's English language ability to the U.S. Department of State.

To satisfy the U.S. Department of State criteria, the documented interview must include the following on UC Berkeley letterhead stationery. Use the recommended template letter:

  • Name of scholar
  • Date of interview
  • Title of UCB faculty sponsor/host department designee
  • Printed name of UCB faculty sponsor/host department designee
  • Signature of UCB faculty sponsor/host department designee who conducts interview. 
  • Statement describing that the interview was conducted in one of the following ways: 
    1)
     in-person, 2) by videoconferencing or, 3) by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option.
  • Statement that the scholar has, "sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate successfully in his or her program AND to function on a day-to-day basis."