Language Institute - English as a Second Language (ESL) | Georgia Tech Professional Education | Atlanta, GA

English Proficiency Assessments for Prospective J-1 Scholars and Interns


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 assessment is requested by a Georgia Tech host unit. The assessment is arranged by the HR administrator once they have been notified the J Exchange Visitor Program is the appropriate visa type and prior to beginning a DS-2019 request. The GTLI contacts the prospective Exchange Visitor via e-mail to schedule the assessment.

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

  • A passport or any government-issued photo identification (must be in English or have 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 assess listening and speaking skills. The assessment costs $75 and can be paid by the host department OR the J scholar/student intern.

The GT Language Institute will send an email to the sponsor, the Office of International Education, and the scholar which includes a copy of the assessment report two to three days following the assessment.