J-1 Exchange Students

Programs Information

What is J-1 Exchange Student program?

This is a program primarily for foreign students coming to the United States to pursue a full-course of study at the accredited post-secondary educational institution in the United States (22 CFR 62.23).

Who Should Apply as a J-1 Exchange Student?

You should apply for a J-1 Exchange Student, instead of an F-1 full-time student, when you are substantially supported by any source other than personal or your family funds or when you meet the funding requirements outlined in 22 CFR 62.23(c)(4). The funding source could be a scholarship, fellowship, or other funding program from an external source, like Bellevue College, your home government, or an international corporate sponsor that the United States is a member by treaty or statute.

What are the differences between J-1 Exchange Student visa and F-1 International Student visa?

J-1 Exchange Student Visa/Status


F-1 International Student Visa/Status

Funding must come from a source other than personal or family funds. Funding can be financed directly or indirectly by the U.S. government, the government of their home country, an international organization of which the United States is a member by treaty or statute.

Source of Funding

Funding can come from any source.
J-1 Exchange Students in good academic standing are eligible for on-campus employment authorization. On-Campus employment is limited to part-time while school is in session and may be full-time during the official school breaks or the student's authorized vacation term.
Employment must be approved by the Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternative Responsible Officer (ARO) in the OIEGI office in advance and prior to working.

On-Campus Employment

F-1 Students in good academic standing can work on-campus part-time while school is in session and may work full-time during school breaks or on an authorized vacation term.
J-2 dependents can study part-time or full-time in the U.S.

Can Dependents (J-2 or F-2) Study in the US?

F-2 minors can attend Kindergarten through 12th grade full time. F-2 dependents may now study part-time in any post-secondary or language schools.
  • Completed an online J-1 Exchange Student Application Form
  • $50 Non-Refundable application fee, due with application
  • Per J-1 Exchange Student (ES) immigration regulations, an ES must be financed directly or indirectly by the US Government or the government of their home country, or be supported substantially by funding from any source other than personal or family funds. Official bank statement and financial supporting documents, in English, with a minimum total balance of $29,420 USD (or $38,520 USD for Bachelor’s programs or $38,360 USD for IBP program)
    • An additional $5,000 is required per dependent (spouse/child)
    • Financial statement and support documents must be dated within six (6) months of application
    • If there is a sponsor within the US, both bank statement and Affidavit of Support (I-134) form are required. (Download the I-134 form from https://www.uscis.gov/i-134)
  • Copy of Student’s passport ID page, including expiration date
  • Copy of passport ID page of each dependent that travels with Student to the US
  • Official transcript in English from current or previous school
  • Proof of English language proficiency for International Business Professions (IBP) program, Associate & Certificate programs, and Bachelor’s programs
     - Associate & Bachelor's Level
    - Int'l High School Completion (IHSC)
    - Int'l Business Professions (IBP)
    Bridge Pathway ProgramLearning English in Action Program (LEAP)
    Internet-based TOEFL (IBT) and Paper-based TOEFL (PBT)61 or 50058 or 493N/A
    Academic IELTSOverall band score of 6.0 with all sub-scores above 5.55.5 with 5.0N/A
    First Language on the IGCSE or O-levelA "C" or higherN/AN/A
    An AP English Language or Literature/Composition score3 (places into English 101 at BC*)N/AN/A
    IB English A examwith a minimum score
    Option available for US high school students only
    4 (places into English 101 at BC*)N/AN/A
    Smarter Balanced ELA score
    Option available for US high school students only
    3 (places into English 101 at BC*)N/AN/A
    Successful completion of the BC’s Intensive English programA grade of “A-“ in Integrated Skills 5
    and “B-“ in all other courses taken that quarter
    Grade of "C" or higher in Integrated Skills 5 and all other classes that quarterSuccessful completion of the BC's Intensive English level 3 OR placement into the BC's Intensive English level 4 by ELI placement test
    Successful completion of the BC’s Bridge Pathway programA minimum grade of “C-“ in the English 93 courseN/AN/A
    Other College’s placement test result(s)A valid placement result in to the equivalent of BC’s English 101 or success completion of the equivalent to BC’s English 93 (one level below English 101) from an accredited collegeN/AN/A
    U.S. high school or an int’l schoolTwo years of non-ESL English courses with recommended GPA of 2.5 or higher (reviewed on a case-by-case basis)N/AN/A
    Public diplomacy ESL-school of the US embassySuccessful completion of the advance 5 with a passing gradeN/AN/A
    Countries with English as official or primary language1. Anguilla, 2. Antigua and Barbuda, 3. Australia, 4. Bahamas, 5. Barbados,
    6. Belize, 7. Bermuda, 8. Botswana, 9. British Virgin Islands,
    10. Cameroon, 11. Canada (except Quebec), 12. Cayman Islands,
    13. Dominica, 14. England, 15. Fiji, 16. The Gambia, 17. Ghana,
    18. Gibraltar, 19. Grenada, 20. Guyana, 21. Ireland, Northern, 22. Ireland, Republic of,
    23. Jamaica, 24. Kenya, 25. Lesotho, 26. Liberia, 27. Malawi, 28. Malta, 29. Mauritius, 30. Montserrat,
    31. Namibia, 32. New Zealand, 33. Nigeria, 34. Papua New Guinea,
    35. Scotland, 36. Seychelles, 37. Sierra Leone, 38. Singapore,
    39. Solomon Islands, 40. South Africa, 41. St. Kitts and Nevis,
    42. St. Lucia, 43. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 44. Swaziland,
    45. Tanzania, 46. Tonga, 47. Trinidad and Tobago, 48. Turks and Caicos Islands,
    49. Uganda, 50. United Kingdom, 51. Vanuatu,
    52. Wales, 53. Zambia, 54. Zimbabwe
    Successful completion of appropriate level at these schoolsN/A* ELS Language Centers’ intensive level 109.

    * Kaplan International English’s High Intermediate.

    * ALPS Language School’s SIRWS 5 with a grade of 75% or higher AND a minimum score of 69 on the CaMLA EPT exit exam at ALPS Language School.

    * Successful completion of the highest level at an intensive English school (must submit a verification letter from the school official and considered on a case-by-case basis).

*** Admission documents sent outside the US must be sent by express mail via eShipGlobal.

Programs Offered

BC Programs that J-1 Exchange Students can apply:

Bellevue College (BC) offers several programs for J-1 Exchange Students. Depending on which program you are interested, the requirements are different.

Click on the “Non-Degree Programs” or the “Degree Programs” option below to see its programs list. For more information about each program requirements, cost, insurance, dates, etc., check out the Application Booklet.

Intensive English Program (ESL):

This program helps students work on their English proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, writing and grammar. This program prepares students to enter the US colleges and universities.

International Business Professions (IBP)

The International Business Professions (IBP) is a full-time, 12 months program that starts in Fall and Spring. Students design their own study and career plan that aligns with their interests by taking a wide range of college-level subjects and practical English support courses for one academic year to prepare them for an internship in their field of interest.

College Associate & Certificate Programs:

Students can choose variety program to attend and earn an Associate (90 credits) transfer or professional/technical degree or a Certificate (45 credits or less).
– Our transfer associate degrees are intended for students wishing to pursue a bachelor’s degree at a four year university.

  • A transfer associate degree is the freshman + sophomore year of a bachelor’s degree (the first 2 years of a bachelor’s). These classes are often called “lower division” courses.
  • Then students can transfer to any 4-year university or college in the US. That is when students complete the junior + senior year. These classes are often called “upper division” courses.
  • We offer a variety of transfer associate degree programs
  • For general requirements of each program, visit the transfer associate degrees website.

– Our professional/technical degrees/certificates are intended for students wishing to learn and be prepared specific skills and knowledge to be ready to join workforce. Majority of professional/technical programs are not transferrable to a four year university. Students in some professional/technical programs can continue and earn a Bachelor’s degree at our Bellevue College.

Bachelor’s Programs:

The baccalaureate degree programs are designed for individuals who have already met the lower division requirements such as an Associate degree. Students applying for admission to the bachelor of applied art or science program must complete two (2) applications.

Application 1 = J-1 Exchange Student Application

Our office (Global Initiatives department) handles general J-1 exchange students’ admission only.

Application 2 = Academic Department Application
  • Please work directly with the respective academic department (bachelor’s program) for their admission processes. Academic departments require that you are admitted as an J-1 exchange student AND to the respective bachelor’s program.
  • Each academic department sets their own admission requirements, deadlines, tuition and fees, and admission selection processes.
  • Admission is competitive, and applicants are highly encouraged to start from the associate program level at BC or in the US.

Last Updated December 3, 2020