ISSS is responsible for issuing the Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 Status (Form DS-2019), which you will need in order to apply for a J-1 visa (ISSS does not issue visas—only the Department of State can do that). All documents must be submitted a minimum of two months in advance of the desired start date. To issue your Form DS-2019, we will proceed in three steps:

Step #1 – English proficiency

Department of State regulations requires J-1 exchange visitor sponsors, such as UAB, to document English proficiency sufficient to “function on a day-to-day basis in the [academic] environment” for all visitors who are non-native English speakers or who are not residents/citizens of a country where English is an official language.

Acceptable methods of English verification for J-1 purposes outlined by the Department of State are:

  • Proof of graduation from a four-year institution where the curriculum was conducted in English
  • Signed documentation from an English language school confirming speaking, writing, reading and listening comprehension proficiency. The certification must:
    • Be issued on the English Language School letterhead
    • Be issued within the last 6 months
    • Include signature from the school official
  • Evidence of passing a recognized English language exam within the last 2 years, such as TOEFL, IELTS or PTEA. The minimum score are:
    • TOEFL – minimum iBT of 77
    • IELTS – minimum 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 on each section
    • PTEA – minimum 51
  • Skype assessment by one of UAB’s professional teachers of English as a Second Language – EPT.
More Information on English Proficiency Test →

Step #2 – Collecting the forms and documents

Which category?Forms required
Short-Term Scholar
Research Scholar
Student Intern
  • Background Information Form with supporting documents
  • Proof of health insurance (see below)
  • Internship agreement OR a letter from your home institution certifying that the internship is a requirement for your degree.

Proof of Health Insurance

Both US federal regulations and UAB policy require all J-1 exchange visitors and their J-2 dependents to obtain proper health insurance and to present proof to ISSS office.

The US Department of State imposed specific requirements related to the minimum amounts covered by the insurance as described below:

The minimum coverage required by the US Federal J-1 Exchange Visitor Program regulations:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with medical evacuation to your home country in the amount of $50,000
  • Deductibles not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

UAB requires receiving proof of compliant health insurance before issuing the DS-2019.

More Information on Health Insurance Requirements →

Step #3 - Medical clearance with UAB Occupational Medicine Department

IMPORTANT NOTE – this step must be completed before the arrival on campus.

As a matter of Public Health, UAB requires international scholars to show proof of immunizations/vaccinations (learn more information about the policy). The UAB Occupational Medicine is responsible for verifying this, not ISSS.

The Department and the faculty sponsor are responsible for confirming that the scholar has completed the proper immunizations appropriate for his/her research environment. Before arriving on campus, the scholar must complete an enrollment form with the help of his/her supervisor at UAB.

Please note that the TB screening must be conducted in the US.

Any communication or questions should be emailed to Occupational Medicine department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our office is not an expert and cannot give any instructions other than the ones listed on the form.