International students in J-1 status are eligible in most circumstances to obtain employment authorization for Academic Training. Academic Training is a type of employment authorization defined as work, training, or experience that is directly related to the student’s major field of study listed on form DS-2019. Academic Training may be part-time or full-time and may be authorized before or after completion of the program of study.
To be eligible for employment authorization for Academic Training, all of the following conditions must be met:
- Student’s primary reason for being in the United States must be to study rather than to engage in Academic Training.
- Student must be in lawful J-1 status and in good academic standing.
- Pre-completion Academic Training must not interfere with progress toward the educational objective.
- Academic Training must be directly related to the major field of study listed on form DS-2019.
- Student’s academic advisor, director of graduate studies or dean must recommend Academic Training in writing.
- Academic training must be done with a specific employer at a specific location or training site.
- Academic Training may be paid or unpaid. Post-completion Academic Training is generally paid.
- Students may be authorized for varying amounts of Academic Training depending on the educational program.
- Ph.D. students are eligible for up to 36 months of Academic Training.
- Non-Ph.D. students are eligible for up to 18 months of Academic Training.
- Students in a program that is shorter than 18 months are eligible for a period of Academic Training not to exceed the total program length.
- All Academic Training is counted against the total aggregate as full time.
- Example: A student eligible for a total of 18 months of Academic Training who is authorized for four months of part-time pre-completion Academic Training is eligible for only 14 additional months of Academic Training.
- Earning more than one degree does not increase student’s eligibility for Academic Training.
- Academic Training may be authorized for consecutive or simultaneous periods with multiple employers. A separate application must be filed and approved for each employer and activity prior to the beginning the employment.
- Academic Training must be authorized before the program end date on form DS-2019.
- Employment for Academic Training must commence within 30 days of the program end date on form DS-2019.
To apply for employment authorization for Academic Training, students should complete the following steps:
- Students are required to consult with an ISSA advisor before they may apply for Academic Training.
- Obtain a written offer of employment from a U.S. employer. The offer letter must be printed on company letterhead and must provide a detailed description of the duties, location and dates of the proposed employment for Academic Training.
- Meet with your academic advisor, director of graduate studies or academic dean. Once the above letter is prepared by your prospective employer, you must review the position with the appropriate faculty member. During this appointment the faculty member will evaluate the proposed employment experience.
- Complete the Academic Training Request eform in ISSAlink. You will be asked to upload a copy of your employment offer letter.
- Your Academic Advisor will receive an email with a link to the Academic Training Advisor Recommendation eform. It is your responsibility to ensure the advisor completes and submits this eform.
- The current ISSA processing time is 1-3 days.
- There is no application fee.
- Documentation of employment authorization is in the form of an endorsement on the student’s DS-2019 form. Though no longer required by regulations, the employment authorization will also be reflected in a letter issued to the student.
Students authorized for Academic Training remain in J-1 status and must continue to abide by certain J-1 regulations to maintain lawful immigration status and employment authorization. J-1 students must continue to meet the following requirements while authorized for Academic Training:
- Continue to enroll in a full course of study as required during the fall and spring semesters. *Pre-completion Academic Training only.
- Continue to report U.S. address to the university by emailing email@example.com within 10 days of any change.
- Work only for the employer and at the location authorized on your DS-2019 form. Adding a new employer, changing employers or site of activity requires authorization in advance on form DS-2019.
- Apply for extensions of your Academic Training authorization on form DS-2019 before the expiration of the current authorization period.
- Maintain the required health insurance coverage for yourself and all J-2 dependents for the duration of the Academic Training period.
- Depart the United States or apply to change immigration status within 30 days of the completion of Academic Training.
- Notify ISSA in writing if you permanently depart the United States.
- Notify ISSA immediately if your immigration status changes and provide documentation by fax or email.
Students who have applied for or are approved for Academic Training remain in J-1 status. Students on pre-completion Academic Training follow the same travel procedures as other enrolled J-1 students. Students on post-completion Academic Training must present the following documents to be eligible to re-enter the United States in J-1 status:
- Valid passport
- Valid J-1 visa
- Unexpired DS-2019 endorsed for Academic Training and endorsed by program Responsible Officer within the preceding 12 months
- Written verification of employment from employer for whom student is authorized to work
- Students may not return to the United States for Academic Training if they do not obtain employment authorization for Academic Training prior to their departure.
Students must continue to enroll in a full course of study during the academic year while authorized for employment for pre-completion Academic Training.
Employment may not begin until student receives a new DS-2019 from ISSA that contains an endorsement for Academic Training, and the start date has been reached.
A letter, signature or verbal approval from another campus office—such as The Career Center or an academic department or advisor—DOES NOT constitute employment authorization for immigration purposes.