When a Middlebury department and/or faculty/staff member wants to host and/or hire a Foreign National and it is determined that the Foreign National will need to be sponsored by Middlebury in the J-1 Exchange Visitor category, then the hosting/supervising department/professor must agree to the following as is required by the  J Exchange Visitor federal regulations for J program sponsors:

1. Monitor the individual’s progress and welfare.
2. Provide any assistance or advice needed to facilitate the successful completion of the program.
3. Help ISSS reinforce to the individual that they must have health insurance that meets/exceeds the federal requirements for J Exchange Visitors and any of their dependents for the duration of their program as listed on the DS-2019 visa document.
4. Ensure that the individual will check in with ISSS upon arrival to campus.
5. Notify ISSS when the individual leaves the College or Institute.

How to request a J Exchange Visitor to come to Middlebury

If you have hired and/or invited a Foreign National to come to Middlebury to to engage in periods of paid or unpaid research, teaching, or other academic activity in the interest of international educational and cultural exchange, you will be required to submit a Department Sponsorship Request.  This form can also be found on the Forms and Resources page under the “International Faculty and Staff” section.

The Department Sponsorship Request form provides ISSS with required information from the hosting/hiring department to create the DS-2019 form. There is a separate form for the foreign national to complete. Please direct the person to the DS-2019 Application for International Staff and Faculty (also found on the Forms and Resources page under the “International Faculty and Staff” section.)

English Language Proficiency Requirement

Prior to issuing a Form DS-2019, the program sponsor must determine that the prospective J-1 Exchange Visitor has “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 [22 CFR 62.11(a)(2)]”.

This English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirement applies to any participant intending to enter the U.S. as an Exchange Visitor, regardless of the length or purpose of their program. The U.S. Department of State wants to ensure that all Exchange Visitors possess sufficient English proficiency to:

  • perform their J-1 program objectives;
  • navigate daily life in the United States;
  • fully comprehend and understand their responsibilities and rights; and
  • know how to request assistance, if needed.

The recommended/preferred English standards for Middlebury are described below.  The levels we use are from the “ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Guidelines 2012” which is the most current version to date.  Departments may use discretion in determining what level is sufficient but should be able to explain and document their requirement should we be asked to do so for the U.S. Department of State.

For Middlebury College and Institute Professors: The Exchange Visitor is required to interact with the Middlebury students and colleges as well as the Middlebury and Monterey town communities and surrounding areas depending on where they end up living.  Therefore, an Advanced level of English is recommended. 

Speakers at the Advanced level engage in conversation in a clearly participatory manner in order to communicate information on autobiographical topics, as well as topics of community, national, or international interest. The topics are handled concretely by means of narration and description in the major times frames of past, present, and future. These speakers can also deal with a social situation with an unexpected complication. The language of Advanced-level speakers is abundant, the oral paragraph being the measure of Advanced-level length and discourse. Advanced-level speakers have sufficient control of basic structures and generic vocabulary to be understood by native speakers of the language, including those unaccustomed to non-native speech.

For Middlebury College and Institute Research Scholars and Short-term Scholars: The Exchange visitor may or may not be required to interact with the Middlebury students and colleagues at the level a Professor would be expected to interact in.  Though they would need to be able to sufficiently function in the community in which they live.  Therefore, an Intermediate High Level of English is recommended depending on how much interaction in English is required for their purpose.

Intermediate High speakers are able to converse with ease and confidence when dealing with the routine tasks and social situations of the Intermediate level. They are able to handle successfully uncomplicated tasks and social situations requiring an exchange of basic information related to their work, school, recreation, particular interests, and areas of competence.

Intermediate High speakers can handle a substantial number of tasks associated with the Advanced level, but they are unable to sustain performance of all of these tasks all of the time. Intermediate High speakers can narrate and describe in all major time frames using connected discourse of paragraph length, but not all the time. Typically, when Intermediate High speakers attempt to perform Advanced-level tasks, their speech exhibits one or more features of breakdown, such as the failure to carry out fully the narration or description in the appropriate major time frame, an inability to maintain paragraph-length discourse, or a reduction in breadth and appropriateness of vocabulary.

Intermediate High speakers can generally be understood by native speakers unaccustomed to dealing with non-natives, although interference from another language may be evident (e.g., use of code-switching, false cognates, literal translations), and a pattern of gaps in communication may occur.

As part of the Exchange Visitor application process, the below documentation must be by the requesting department to indicate how an applicant’s English language proficiency has been verified.  The Department Sponsor form incorporates this into the request.  The U.S. Department of State regulations outline the allowable ELP documentation. One of the following objective measurements of English language proficiency must be used for this determination:

  • A recognized English language test;

  • Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school; or,

  • A documented interview conducted by the sponsoring department either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option.

Please reach out to ISSS if you have further questions about the ELP requirements at isss@middlebury.edu.

Funding Requirements

Federal regulations require verification of evidence of financial support for the scholar and any dependents who will accompany him/her in J-2 status for the entire length of their J program. The minimum level of funding is as follows:

For J scholars and dependents that will be located in Vermont:

  • J-1 Primary: $3100/month or $37,200/year
  • J-2 Spouse: $1200/month or $14,400/year
  • J-2 Child: $900/month or $10800/year (per each child)

For J scholars and dependents that will be located in California or Washington, DC area:

  • J-1 Primary: $3700/month or $44,400/year
  • J-2 Spouse: $1400/month or $16,800/year
  • J-2 Child: $1000/month or $12,000/year (per each child)

Sufficient financial evidence can come from multiple sources.  Types of funding may include but is not limited to:

  • All documentation must must be in English or translated officially to English.
  • All documentation must be no older than 1 year from the requested start date of the J program.
  • All funding must be accessible and available for the time period of the requested J program.
  • A Middlebury contract or invitation letter that details the funding being provided for the prospective J-1 visitor.  Funding can include the salary or stipend being provided as well as any estimated costs for travel, insurance, room and board or a per diem, etc.
  • A personal bank letter or statement in English on the financial institution’s letterhead. The money can be in any currency as ISSS can convert the currency to U.S. dollars.
    • A personal bank letter or statement from a third party sponsor such as a relative or friend is acceptable.
    • The third party sponsor will also need to provide a sponsor letter that is dated and signed and confirms they are willing to sponsor the person, the length of time they are willing to sponsor and for how much total they will fund the person.
  • An employer’s letter confirming the person will receive their salary while in they are in the U.S. and how much that salary is.  It must be on the employer’s letterhead and signed by a supervisor or a human resource/payroll staff person of the employer.
  • A funding letter from an organization or a governmental agency providing funding or a scholarship.  The funding letter m on the organization’s or agency’s letterhead and detail the amount of funding, what the funding will cover, and the length of time for the funding.

For further information and inquiries on departmental hires of international employees, please email the International Student and Scholar Services office at isss@middlebury.edu.

Last updated 05/23/2023 by Kas

Find the latest travel updates and other information.

News and Events

Meet the team and let us know how we can help.

Contact Us