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English Language Program

English Proficiency Requirement

The exchange visitor possesses 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.  A sponsor [Kansas State University is considered the sponsor when we issue the DS-2019] must verify an applicant’s English language proficiency through a recognized English language test, by signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school, or through a documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option.

(From: Government document: 22 CFR 62.10 (a) (2), Requirements for J-1 Sponsorship)

Options to document English Proficiency

1.  Submit scores from one of the following English tests.   Scores cannot be more than 2 years old and must meet the following minimum requirements. (See table below.)

English Test

Minimum Scores

English Proficiency Test (EPT)

46 on Listening with interview

Internet Based TOEFL (IBT)

15 on Speaking and Listening sections

Paper-Based TOEFL (PBT)

48 on Listening with interview


5.5 on Speaking and Listening sections

Pearson Test of English (PTE)

44 on Speaking and Listening sections

Cambridge English First (FCE)


Cambridge English Advanced (CAE)



Combined score of 550

Official test scores are provided by the administering company.  If the Exchange Visitor has taken an English proficiency test that is not listed above, he/she can submit the results and the English Language Program (ELP) will evaluate it.  It must be a standardized test and the information interpreting test scores must be published and easily accessible.


2.  A J-1 will be considered proficient in English if:

  • He or she received a degree from a university in an English speaking country, (such as the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados or Bermuda) within the last 5 years.
  • He or she taught at an accredited American school, international school, or school whose language of instruction is English within the last two years.  The school would need to provide the documentation.
  • He or she provides certified documentation (no more than 5 years old) of a Common European Framework (CERF) of B1.

3.  If the Exchange Visitor cannot provide any of the above, the ELP can provide an oral assessment through a Zoom interview.  The conversation would be conducted according to the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) guidelines.  (Learn more about the Oral Proficiency Interview.) Hosting department personnel are welcome to sit in on the interview or they can view the recorded Zoom conversation at a later time.  In addition, the department may contribute questions for the interview. Learn how to schedule an interview.