The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program operates under the auspices of the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. Each Exchange Visitor Program has a program description under which that program must operate and designates an individual or individuals as the staff responsible for the administration of the particular J-1 program. The Responsible Officer (RO) at Middlebury and MIIS is the Director of International Students and Scholar Services (ISSS), and the Alternate Responsible Officers (AROs) are the ISSS advisers.

To learn more about the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program please visit

J-1 Students

J-1 student status allows you to remain in the U.S. for the duration of your full-time academic program. To apply for a J-1 visa and to enter the U.S. as a J-1 student, you must obtain a Form DS-2019 from Middlebury College (undergraduate and Teaching Assistant) or Middlebury Institute of International Studies (graduate). ISSS will reach out to you once it is time to start the DS-2019 application process.  This usually starts 2-4 months before your program start date, so please watch for an email from

To maintain J-1 student status, students must primarily:

  • Exchange Students must engage in a full course of study -
    • take at least three courses in fall and spring, and one over the winter term. (Middlebury College)
    • take 12-16 credits per semester for length of exchange program (Middlebury Institute)
  • Degree Students must engage in a full course of study (Middlebury Institute). 
  • Non-Degree Students (not on Exchange programs) must engage in the prescribed course of study for their program.
  • Teaching Assistants must take, and successfully complete, one course in the fall and one in the spring in addition to their teaching assistant responsibilities.
  • J-1 students are not permitted to register and engage in more than 3 credits of on-line courses in any one term.

Please see further details about maintaining your status in the Maintaining Status section of the website as there is information there for both J-1 and F-1 visa students.

J-1 student status permits you to work on-campus as a student employee and off-campus as part of academic training. You’ll need to obtain permission from your J-1 sponsor, Middlebury College, prior to starting on-campus or off-campus employment.

English Language Proficiency (ELP) Requirement

The U.S. Department of State updated the regulations for its J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. Effective January 5, 2015 all sponsors of J-1 Exchange Visitor programs are required to determine that the Exchange Visitor has sufficient proficiency, “as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency” to successfully participate in the program and “to function on a day-to-day basis.”  [22 CFR 62.11(a)(2)].

Exchange Visitor sponsors, including Middlebury, are required to verify English language proficiency through one of the following methods:

  • A recognized English language test,
  • signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school, or
  • through a documented interview conducted by the sponsor either in-person or by videoconferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option.”

    [22 CFR 62.11(a)(2)]

Sponsors also need to retain documentation that J-1 visa applicants have demonstrated the required level of English language proficiency.

All J-1 students must meet or exceed Middlebury’s ELP requirements for their programs.  Each program’s ELP requirements may vary.


Please contact International Student and Scholar Services by emailing us at or by calling our office at (802) 443-5858.

updated 1/19/2022

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