The Department of State requires J-1 Exchange Visitors 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 62.10(a)(2)]. Applicants whose first language is English and who are a citizen of a country in which English is the primary spoken language of daily life (e.g., Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom) are exempt from this requirement.

There are three ways to meet the above requirement:

  1. Providing a score from a recognized English language test, such as TOEFL or IELTS, received within the past two years. The minimum test score should be:
    • IELTS score — 5.5 overall
    • TOEFL score — 65
  2. Providing a Certification by English Language School where English language training course was completed. This certification must:
    • verify that the Exchange Visitor possesses English language proficiency high enough to function daily within the UAB research opportunity and within the local U.S. community;
    • be printed on the Institution letterhead;
    • be dated within the last six months; and
    • be signed by an institutional/school official.
  3. Documented passing score on UAB's J-1 Visiting Scholar English Language Proficiency Test (EPT). Click here to learn more about this test or to register.

ISSS must receive confirmation of any of the above three methods before issuing the DS-2019 document exchange visitors need in order to apply for a J-1 visa. If you choose option 3, please register for an interview. UAB's English Language Programs test is tied to IELTS and CEFR scores accepted worldwide as objective indicators of individuals' ability to use the English language.