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J-1 Language Requirement
All visitors selected to participate in a J-1 program at Cornell must provide proof of sufficient English language knowledge.
The academic department must certify that ...
"The prospective exchange visitor has the English language skills sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in the United States." Functioning on a day-to-day basis is defined as being able to successfully communicate with the local community, such as negotiating with a landlord, explaining symptoms to a physician, understanding emergency instructions from police or fire departments, etc.
- "The prospective exchange visitor has the English language skills sufficient to conduct his/her proposed academic activities (research, teaching, internship, etc.) in the exchange activity environment." The prospective visitor must be able to efficiently communicate and understand academic concepts in English, including safety issues and instructions in a lab context.
This regulation impacts incoming J-1 visitors and those currently in J-1 status. Visitors whose initial DS-2019 forms were issued before January 5, 2015, are not required to demonstrate English proficiency.
English proficiency may be demonstrated in one of several ways ...
- Through an objective interview conducted in English.
- By valid test score meeting the following standards: TOEFL (79 or above) or CEFR (B1/B2).
- By documentation (for example, a letter of certification from an academic institution or English language school).
- The exchange visitor is a native speaker of English and/or from a country with English as an official language (see list below).
- The exchange visitor received education in a country with English as an official language and the language of instruction in higher education.
Countries with English as an Official Language
British Virgin Islands
Canada (except Quebec)
Northern Ireland (Republic of)
Papua New Guinea
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands