English Proficiency Requirement for Prospective J-1
Beginning January 5, 2015, the U.S. Department of State will implement new English language proficiency requirements for prospective J-1 Exchange Visitors (scholars). The new provisions require the use of one of the following “objective measurements of English language proficiency” to determine language proficiency:
A recognized English language test;
Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school; or
A documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option.
The Department of State requires exchange visitors (scholars) to 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 62.11(a)(2)]. To comply with the U.S. Department of State’s regulation, the International Student and Scholar Services will require Certification of English Language proficiency to be submitted with all requests for J-1 sponsorship. Acceptable evidence of English language proficiency may consist of one of the following:
 Recognized English Language Test
A recognized English language test with a copy of the test score. The test must have been taken within the past 4 years reflecting the following scores:
TOEFL: Minimum score 86 (iBT), 567 (PBT)
IELTS: Overall band score of 7 or above
 Certification by an Academic Institution or English Language School
A signed letter/certificate certifying that the exchange visitor possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language to successfully participate in his or her program at Stevens and to function on a day-to-day basis at Stevens and within the local U.S. community. Letters must be on letterhead, issued within 6 months of the expected program participation date, signed by a designated school official, and dated.
 Certification by the Sponsoring Faculty Member/Professor.
The sponsoring faculty member may conduct a documented interview either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option attesting to the applicant’s English language proficiency and describing the “objective measurement” used to determine said proficiency. The sponsor must complete the Certification of English Language Proficiency form, and attest under penalty of perjury that he/she has conducted the interview, and that the prospective exchange visitor possesses the requisite English language proficiency to function on a day-to-day basis at Stevens and within the local U.S. community. Evidence of the objective measurement used to make such determination must be submitted.
Research Scholar/Professor: For the purposes of the Exchange Visitor Program, a research scholar is defined as “An individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research project at research institutions, corporate research facilities, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions. The research scholar may also teach or lecture, unless disallowed by the sponsor” (22 C.F.R. § 62.4(f)). Professor is defined as “An individual primarily teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting at post-secondary accredited educational institutions, museums, libraries, or similar types of institutions. A professor may also conduct research, unless disallowed by the sponsor” (22 C.F.R. § 62.4(e)).
Professors and research scholars can be authorized to participate in Stevens’ Exchange Visitor Program for the “length of time necessary to complete his or her program” (22 C.F.R. § 62.20(i)(1)). The minimum length of program duration permitted is 3 weeks and the maximum length of stay is limited to 5 years, including any previous continuous time spent at other institutions. Minimum qualifications of the exchange visitor include; earned bachelor degree with extensive experience in the field of intended research.
Short-term Scholar: A short-term scholar is defined as a “A professor, research scholar, specialist, or a person with similar education or accomplishments coming to the United States on a short-term visit for the purpose of lecturing, observing, consulting, training, or demonstrating special skills at research institutions, museums, libraries, post-secondary accredited educational institutions, or similar types of institutions” (22 C.F.R. § 62.4(b)). The maximum length of stay is limited to six months, including any previous continuous time spent at other institutions. There is no minimum length of stay requirement for short-term scholars. Minimum qualifications of the exchange visitor include; earned bachelor degree with extensive experience in the field of intended research.
Bars to J Exchange Visitor Program Participation
12-Month Bar: Potential EVs in the professor and research scholar categories may be ineligible to participate in Stevens’ exchange visitor program if they spent time in the U.S. in any J status, including J-2 dependent status, during the 12 months immediately preceding the EV’s proposed program begin date. This “12-month bar” does not apply if the EV is transferring to Stevens from another program sponsor, if the EV was present in J status for less than 6 months, or if the EV was in J status as a short-term scholar. Please contact the designated ISSS advisor if you have any questions as to whether or not a potential EV would be affected by the 12-month bar.
24-Month Bar: Any individual who participates in the Exchange Visitor Program as either a professor or research scholar becomes subject to a “24-month bar” on “repeat participation” in those categories upon completing his/her program. The EV becomes subject to this bar regardless of whether they completed the maximum five years available per program in the professor/research scholar category, or if their program was completed in less than 5 years. Participation as a short-term scholar after time spent as a research scholar/professor is not prevented by the 24-month bar, nor does it make an EV subject to the 24-month bar should they seek to participate in the exchange visitor program as a research scholar/professor after time spent as a short-term scholar. Please contact the designated ISSS advisor if you have any questions as to if a potential EV would be affected by the 24-month bar.