J1 Visa Employment Authorization - Academic Training



As a J-1 visa holder, you are authorized to work on-campus up to 20 hours during the regular semester, and up to 40 hours during the summer semester if your Responsible Officer (RO) approves. However, you will also be able to work off-campus if you have the employment authorization from the USCIS. There are three type of employment authorization to work off-campus.

Academic Training (AT)

Incidental Employment

Employment Authorization due to Economic Hardship


Related Links
  J1 - Academic Training
  J1 - Incidental Employment
  J1 - Economic Hardship
  J2 - Working Permit




Your dependent (spouse or dependent children) are also allowed to work off-campus as long as he / she gets the authorization from the USCIS.

Employment Authorization for J2 dependent visa holder

In this section we will discuss the Academic Training (AT)

Definition

Eligibility

Restriction

Pre-completion AT v. Post-completion AT

How to obtain an Academic Training (AT)?

Tax and SSN

Travel

 

Definition

Academic Training (AT) is an employment authorization available for J1 visa holder, provided that the employment is integral to the applicant’s field of study. It can be obtain before the completion of your study or after the completion of your study.

The limit of Academic Training for pre-completion AT is 18 months or the time you have been a full time student, whichever shorter. The limit of post-completion AT is 18 months or the time you were a full time student, whichever shorter. If you are in a PhD program, upon graduation you may get up to 36 months AT if (post-doctoral training) if your academic advisor supervise your training.

Since you are a J1 visa holder, before you apply for an AT you need to get an approval from your Responsible Officer (RO), who issues your DS-2019 form and most likely is a representative from your sponsor (financial aid provider).

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Eligibility

You are eligible to apply for an AT if:

  • You maintain your valid J-1 status (e.g. currently enroll as a full-time student)
  • You perform well academically
  • Your DS-2019 is still valid
  • You intend to work in a field that is in accordance with your field of study (and degree)
  • You must have an employment offer letter before completion of your study
  • You have the approval from your Responsible Officer (RO) in writing

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Restriction

  • Non-degree student may not be eligible for AT. If you enroll as a non-degree student, please check with you RO if you are eligible for an Academic Training
  • You cannot apply for an AT within the 30-days grace period after the completion of your study. You should do it before the completion of your study.

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Pre-completion AT v. Post-completion AT

Pre-completion AT

  • Under the pre-completion AT, during the regular semester you can only work part time (up to 20 hours per week). During the school vacation, you are allowed to work part time or full time (up to 40 hours per week).
  • Even if you work part-time during the regular semester, it will be counted as full time to determine the remaining AT time that you have (unlike the case of OPT for F1 visa holder).
  • You should apply for an AT at least 10 days before the anticipated starting work date

Post-completion AT

  • Under the post-completion AT you may work part-time or full-time.
  • You can start applying for your AT 60 days before the completion of your study. You cannot apply for an AT within the 30-days grace period after the completion of your study.
  • For the post-doctoral training, your 36 month will be partitioned into two 18-months AT, you should apply and get an approval for the second 18-months before the first 18-months expires.

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How to Obtain an Academic Training?

Submit the following documents to the issuer of your DS-2019 (which can be your International Student Office):

  • Valid DS-2019
  • Passport
  • I-94 form
  • Job offer letter from the potential employee
  • Proof of funding for the new DS-2019 for the duration of your AT
  • Support letter from the academic advisor showing that the training is in accordance with your field of study
  • Administrative fee (you should contact your international student office regarding the current administrative fee)

If your application is approved, they will give you a letter of permission to work, which you can show your employer, and renew your DS-2019.

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Tax and SSN

As an international student you are not eligible for social security benefits. Therefore, you are not required to deduct the social security tax (FICA) from your paycheck while you are working under OPT. However, you should pay the Federal tax, State tax, and City tax. In order to do so, you need to have a Social Security Number.

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Travel

In the middle of your AT, you are eligible to travel out of the US given that you have:

  • Valid US Visa (J-1)
  • Valid DS-2019 signed by your RO (recertified DS-2019)
  • Letter of permission to work from your sponsor
  • Letter from your employer showing that you will continue to work after you are traveling out of the US

However, you are traveled at your own risk, which means, there is no guarantee that you will be able to re-enter the US.

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