Visiting Scholar English Language Requirements

The Department of State recently announced a new rule with an effective date of January 5, 2015 that affects many aspects of UC’s J-1 exchange visitor program.
Part of the rule requires all J-1 exchange visitors to have a documented proficiency in English. Previously, we only had to certify that we felt the exchange visitor possessed sufficient proficiency in English language.  Now we must document the English proficiency of any J-1 exchange visitor prior to issuing visa documents. This is a Federal requirement.   
English language requirement for visiting scholars can be satisfied in 3 ways: test result, degree/ transcript or a personal interview.
1. Ask applying visitor if he/she can provide one of the below:

  • A recognized English language test (the minimum scores needed are: TOEFL score of 66; IELTS score of 6.0; PEARSON score of 46);
  • Transcript or degree from an academic institution that teaches in English or an English language school  (if the visitor has a degree from the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand etc.)

2. If available and test/degree acceptable, submit. Proficiency is established.
If neither is available:

3. Conduct a documented interview to establish English proficiency
Interview must be conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by videoconferencing (Skype), or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option.
The types of questions to be asked are as follows:

  • Please state your name.
  • Please explain your current job duties.
  • Please explain why you want to be an exchange visitor at the University of Cincinnati.
  • Please indicate the dates you would like to come to the University of Cincinnati.
  • Please explain what you hope to accomplish with the skills and experience you gain at the University of Cincinnati.
  • Please explain how you learned the English language.

4. Write a letter detailing the interview/web discussion with the applicant.  See attached sample letter. If interview is successful, the proficiency is established. Submit the letter.
Questions about these changes can be directed to Ron Cushing at or 556-2879.