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.
- 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
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.