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J-1 Exchange Visitors - Regulatory Update

To:         Binghamton University Faculty, Staff, and Administrators

From:    The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

Date:     January 19, 2015

Re:         Memorandum on New English Language Proficiency Requirement for J-1                              Exchange Visitors

Effective January 5, 2015, the U.S. Department of State issued a new rule concerning the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, which brings hundreds of visiting international professors, researchers, and other types of short term scholars to Binghamton University every year.

University departments must now determine that prospective exchange visitors possess "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)]

The new rule requires the sponsoring department to use one of the following objective measures of language proficiency:

  • A recognized English language test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS)
  • Signed documentation from an Academic Institution or English Language school; or
  • A documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by video conferencing, or by telephone if video conferencing is not a viable option.

Finally, sponsors are required to retain evidence of how they measured the applicant's English language proficiency so that it may be made available to the U.S. Department of State upon request.

To facilitate compliance and ensure that evidence of English proficiency is centrally retained, the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) has modified the J-1 DS-2019 Request process, adding a form to verify how English proficiency was determined.

Instructions for completing the DS-2019 request form can be viewed here.

Please contact the ISSS ( or 607-777-2510) for assistance with these matters and with any questions you may have concerning issues affecting international Exchange Visitors.


Last Updated: 12/18/17