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Academic Training

Academic training involves work, training, or experience related to a student’s field of study. 

If this type of training is your first employment in the U.S., you will also need to apply for a Social Security Number

Such positions may be paid or unpaid, but must not violate any labor laws and must not be a paid position for which you “volunteer“ to do without payment.  Further details and requirements are available at the U.S. Department of Labor.    

How to Get a Job

The student should see his/her academic adviser/graduate program director for advice.

What makes a J-1 student eligible for academic training?

  • The student’s primary purpose for being in U.S. is studying;
  • The student must be in good academic standing;
  • The student must have a specific employer/job offer;
  • The job offer must be related to the student’s field of study;
  • The student must obtain a written approval from his/her academic advisor; and
  • The student must obtain a written approval from the International Student & Scholar Center (ISSC).

Time limitations

Degree Program Students

Academic training may last for the same number of months as the program of study, and is not to exceed 18 months. Time spent in academic training cannot exceed the time spent in the program of study. 

Exception for degree programs only: Additional time for Academic Training may be allowed if necessary for a J-1 student to satisfy mandatory requirements of the degree program.  

Non-degree Program Students

Academic training may last for the same number of months as the program of study; time spent in academic training cannot exceed the time spent in the program of study.  Also, non-degree students are limited to a total stay of 24 months, inclusive of all study time and any authorized academic training.  

Post-doctoral Training

After completing a U.S. doctoral degree, the student may perform academic training for up to 36 months total – including any previously authorized AT; and it cannot exceed the total duration of studies in the U.S.  Authorization is given only for 18 months at a time.  

Other things to consider

  • Part-time vs. Full-time: Part-time academic training is allowed; but, it is counted at the same rate as full-time.  
  • More than one sequential job or simultaneous jobs may be allowed with permission of the ISSC.  
  • Start date:
    • Job offer and academic training application process with the ISSC must be completed not more than 30 days after completion of study (sooner is better);
    • If the student starts academic training right after the study program ends, the 30-day grace period will be preserved for use after academic training; if the student waits the 30 days before starting academic training then the student will have to leave the United States immediately after the end academic training.
  • Where can the student work?
    • The student can undertake academic training anywhere in the United States, as long as the work is related to the field of study; the student must notify the ISSC of any address changes so the student’s SEVIS record can be updated.

Applying for Academic Training

A student applying for AT must make an appointment to meet with the ISSC staff.  Before this meeting, the student should gather the following documents:

  • A letter from the employer (the student must have a job offer when applying for AT).  This letter must describe the student’s position, the activity to be performed, the location where the student will work, the start and end dates, and the payment or volunteer agreement;
  • An Application for Academic Training signed by the student’s academic advisor;
  • Current I-94, visa, and DS-2019.

Applying for Academic Training After Completion of Studies

Although it is preferable to make academic training arrangements sooner rather than later, (for example, during the final semester before you complete your program) you have up to 30 days after you complete your academic program to find and arrange a position.  You will lose your eligibility for AT if you leave the U.S. during the grace period before receiving AT authorization. Avoiding Immigration Scams

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