Federal visa regulations stipulate that international students are not allowed to work off-campus without prior authorization. Students on a J-1 exchange student visa can request authorization to engage in Academic Training during their studies or upon completing their degree. Academic training must be directly related to the student's field of study.
To be eligible, the student must be in good visa status. A student is permitted one month of Academic Training for every one month of completed study. The maximum length of Academic Training is 18 months. Pre-completion Academic Training can be approved for part-time employment (20 hours or less per week) during the academic term or full-time employment during official school breaks. Post-completion Academic Training can be approved for full-time employment upon completion of all degree requirements. A student must have a firm job offer before the end date listed on the DS-2019 document.
Academic Training may involve sequential or simultaneous activities, either paid or unpaid, with several employers, US or foreign, provided the application and approval procedures are followed for each employer and activity and the time limits are not exceeded.
- Obtain a job offer letter (printed on company letterhead) from your prospective employer that describes the nature and location of the employment, the start and end dates of the employment, the number of hours per week and the rate of pay (if applicable). It also must include the employer's physical address (not a PO Box or web address) and the name of your supervisor.
- Meet with your academic advisor to complete the Academic Training Recommendation Form.
- Submit your job offer letter and your recommendation form to the International Student Advisor for review. If approved, the Advisor will create a new DS-2019 for you that includes a Academic Training endorsement. The Advisor will keep the Academic Training Recommendation Form for his/her records. Please note that this process can take a few days.
- Sign your new DS-2019.
- Register for the practicum credits for the appropriate term(s).
- Your employer will require you to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN). For more information, see Obtaining A Social Security Number.