The Department of State (DOS) established regulations effective January 2015 which require sponsors to identify English language proficiency for exchange visitors coming to the U.S. on J-1 visas. Sponsors must review evidence from an objective measure that demonstrates the exchange visitor has “sufficient English proficiency to perform their jobs, navigate daily life in the United States, read and comprehend program materials, understand fully their responsibilities, rights, and protections, and be able to obtain assistance.”  Georgia Tech requires evidence of English language proficiency to determine eligibility to participate in a specific Exchange Visitor program at Georgia Tech. The level of proficiency required aligns with the category and the type of activities the Exchange Visitor will engage in.

Minimum Proficiency

  • J-1 scholars must be rated at a minimum of High Beginner level proficiency
  • Student Interns must be rated at a minimum of Intermediate level proficiency


Assessment Process

The Georgia Tech Language Institute (GTLI) offers an assessment of English language proficiency that will meet this requirement. The GTLI receives a request for an assessment for a scholar or intern in iStart once the Georgia Tech host unit requests a DS-2019 from the Office of International Education. The GTLI contacts the prospective Exchange Visitor via e-mail to schedule the assessment.

The assessment is conducted online using Zoom. Scholars/Interns must have the following to complete the assessment:

  • A passport or any government-issued photo identification (must be in English or have an English translation)
  • A desktop or laptop computer with strong internet connectivity that has a webcam, microphone, and speakers/headphone capability (you cannot use a tablet or a cellphone for this assessment)
  • A quiet meeting place away from other people
  • A non-filtered, stable, live background

The test will take approximately 30-40 minutes and will assess listening and speaking skills through a series of speaking/listening tasks. The assessment costs $75 and can be paid by the host department OR the J scholar/student intern.

Within 3-5 days following the assessment, the GT Language Institute will upload a copy of the assessment report in iStart, which the Office of International Education will use in its decision to create a DS-2019. The GTLI will also send an e-mail to the sponsor with the assessment results and copy the scholar/intern.

Please note that if a scholar/intern missess a confirmed assessment appointment, the scholar/intern will need to schedule a new appointment and pay the $75 assessment fee.

Any changes in appointment times must be requested in writing at least 24 hours in advance of the confirmed assessment appointment time.