J-1 Exchange Students

Programs Information

Please click on each tab below to view more detailed 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 U.S.?

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.

J-1 Exchange Student General Admission Requirements:

  • Completed an online J-1 Exchange Student Application Form. Follow the “How-To-Apply Instructions for J-1 Exchange Programs” page to create an account and fill out an application.
  • $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 U.S. Government or the government of their home country, or be supported substantially (more than 51%) 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 $25,316 USD (or $34,895 USD for bachelor’s programs or $31,688 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
  • Copy of Student’s passport ID page, including expiration date
  • Copy of passport ID page of each dependent that travels with Student to the U.S.
  • 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, (more detailed information on the “English Proficiency” tab)

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

No English proficiency is required

Student must meet one of the following:

Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) and Paper-based TOEFL (PBT)

  • 61 (iBT) or 500 (PBT)
  • More information about TOEFL

Academic IELTS

  • Overall score of 6.0 with all sub-scores 5.5 or higher
  • More information about Academic IELTS


First Language on the IGCSE or O-Level

An AP English Language or Literature/Composition Score

  • 3 (places into English 101 at BC (*))
    (*) Official exam result issued by the testing company is required for the placement into English 101.

An IB English A Exam With A Minimum Score

  • 4 (places into English 101 at BC (*))
    (*) Official exam result issued by the testing company is required for the placement into English 101.

Smarter Balanced ELA Score Option Available For US High School Students Only

  • 3 (places into English 101 at BC (*))
    (*) Official exam result issued by the testing company is required for the placement into English 101.

Successful Completion of the BC’s Intensive English (ESL) Program

Other College’s Placement Test Result(s)

A valid placement result from another college into the equivalent of BC’s English 101

U.S. High School or an International School

Two years of regular English courses (non-ESL) in a U.S. high school or international school with a cumulative 3.0 GPA or higher (reviewed on a case-by-case basis)

Public Diplomacy ESL-school of The US Embassy

Successful completion of the advance 5 with a passing grade (a verification letter from the school official is required) – reviewed on a case-by-case basis

Countries with English as Official or Primary Language

1. 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

Transferring to Bellevue College:

Students transferring from another US school to BC need to submit additional documents. Transfer students are strongly advised to submit their completed applications at least two weeks before their grace period ends. Transfer IBP students, contact Global Initiatives (GI) at 425-564-3185.

Transfer students also must upload/submit copies of the immigration documents:

  • A copy of J-1 visa page
  • A copy of current DS-2019 form
  • Most recent I-94 document (retrieve from i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home)
  • Completed and signed Transfer Eligibility form

Health Insurance Requirements & Program Cost

It is mandated by the U.S. Department of State that all J-1 Exchange Students and their dependents must have medical insurance coverage in effect for the entire period of their exchange visiting program and coverage with the following minimum benefits [22 CFR 62.14]:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness;
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000;
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visiting scholar to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000;
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

As a condition of participating in the Exchange Student program, J-1 Exchange Student visa holders on the BC’s DS-2019 are required to join the BC-Foundation arranged accident and sickness medical benefit plan every quarter including approved vacation (providing coverage was in effect the full term immediately prior to the approved vacation term) and first time Reduced Course Load (RCL) term. Please go to fiig-insurance.com/bellevue-college/ to learn about the eligibility and coverage information.  The plan does not cover dental and vision.  There is a pre-existing condition limitation which includes a six-month waiting period. 

Health Insurance Fee, if purchase through BCOne to Two WeeksThree to Four WeeksUp to One Quarter (3-month)One Year (12-month)
Student (Primary) (through age 64)$82$161$483$1,932
Student (Primary) (age 65 & up)$230$491$1,473$5,892
Spouse (through age 64)$313$690$2,070$8,280
Child(ren) (Up to 26 years-old)$161$339$1,017$4,068

College-Level, Int'l HS Completion, Intensive ESLBachelor ProgramsInternational Business Professions IBP
ExpensesQuarter (3 months)Academic Year (9 months)Quarter (3 months)Academic Year (9 months)12 months

$3,069(for Intensive ESL)

$9,208(for Intensive ESL)
Mandatory Medical Insurance$483$1,449$483$1,449$1,932
Books & Supplies$234$702$234$702$936
Computer / Other Fees $144

$116(for Intensive ESL)

$284(for Intensive ESL)
Transportation (Not paid to BC)$120$360$120$360$480
Room & Board (Not paid to BC)$4,100$12,300$4,100$12,300$16,400
Total (Estimated)$8,483

$8,122(for Intensive ESL)

$24,303(for Intensive ESL)
Required Amount shown on Financial Statements for DS-2019$25,316$34,895$31,688

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 U.S. 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 two years of a bachelor’s). These classes are often called “lower division” courses.
  • Then students can transfer to any four-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 U.S.

Last Updated May 31, 2023