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Academic Training

Exchange students on J-1 visas have the ability to apply for off-campus work authorization in ways that are both similar to and different from that of F-1 students.  Off campus employment is for J-1 students is called academic training. 

The Basics

  • Academic training is available only to J-1 students
  • J-1 students are immediately eligible to apply for academic training
  • Employment must relate directly to your major field of study.
  • You can use academic training before or after the completion of your academic program
  • You are eligible for an amount of academic training equal to the length of your program – ie 4 months for single semester students and 8 months for full year students.

Applying for academic training

  • Timing
    • There is no waiting period, so you technically could being academic training as early as the first day of classes.

How to apply

  • The first step is to obtain an offer of employment. 
  • Submit to OIS an employment letter, which must:
    • be on official company letterhead
    • include a specific start date and a specific end date
    • have your supervisor’s name, title and contact information
    • include the complete street address where your work will be performed
    • have the number of hours per week you will work
    • describe what it is you will be doing
    • be signed and dated by your employer
  • Submit to OIS a letter of support from your academic advisor.  This letter should include:
    • The goals/objectives of your proposed employment
    • A description of the employment
    • How the employment relates to your major field of study
    • Why it is an integral or critical part of your academic program
  • Once approved, OIS will update your SEVIS record with the details of the academic training and will print a new DS-2019 reflecting this experience.
  • If your academic training will occur after your program has ended, eg during the summer, OIS will also extend the program end dates on your SEVIS record.

FAQs for Academic Training

  • What is Academic Training?
    • Academic training is the ability of J-1 students to be able to do paid internships either while classes are in session or after their program end dates.
  • What is the waiting period?
    • None!  You are eligible to do academic training as of the first day of classes.
  • How much time can I work?
    • One semester exchange students can work for four months.  Full year exchange students can work for eight months.
  • Are there examples of this happening at Vassar?
    • Yes!  One student worked as a docent at the DIA museum in Beacon every Friday during one semester.  Another got a summer internship.
  • How many hours per week can I work?
    • You can work a combined 20 hours per week, including on campus employment, while classes are in session.  There is no restriction during academic breaks such as the summer.
  • Does it cost anything to apply?
    • No!
  • How long after my program ends must I begin my authorized employment?
    • You must start employment within 30 days of your program completion date.
  • My DS-2019 ends at the end of the semester.  Can I stay longer?
    • Once your academic training is approved, OIS will extend your program end dates to include the period of employment.
    • You will be issued a new DS-2019 with these dates.
  • Does the internship have to be paid?
    • No.
  • What if I depart the US before completing my post-completion internship?
    • Notify OIS and we will update your record accordingly.
  • How long can I stay in the US after my post-completion internship ends?
    • You will have a 30-day grace period following the end date of your academic training experience.