J1 Visa Incidental Employment Authorization

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 authorizations to work off-campus.

Academic Training (AT)

Incidental Employment

Employment Authorization due to Economic Hardship

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 Incidental Employment for J1 visa holder

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

How to obtain an Incidental Employment Authorization?

Tax and SSN



Incidental Employment Authorization is an employment authorization available for J1 visa holder, given that the employment is in accordance with your exchange visitor program, incidental (e.g. giving lecture occasionally), and will not delay the completion of your exchange visitor program.


How to Obtain an Incidental Employment Authorization?

Meet with your J-1 Responsible Officer (RO), who issue you the DS-2019, and submit the following documents:

  • Employment offer letter from your prospective employer, which shows your employment’s term and condition (your job description, the field or subject, the number of hours you will be working, the start and end date of your employment, and the amount of compensation)
  • Support letter from your department head or supervisor, which shows that the employment is going to enhance your performance in the exchange visitor program, will not delay the completion of your program, and recommend the RO to give you the authorization.

Your RO will conduct a review to ensure that you are eligible for the incidental employment authorization. If you are eligible and:

  • If you will be working as an incidental independent contractor, your RO will issue you a permission letter to engage in the incidental employment. You can show this letter to your employer as a proof of work authorization.
  • If you will be working as an incidental employee (e.g. giving lecture in another university for a particular semester), your RO will issue you a new DS-2019, which shows your employer name and the amount of compensation you will be getting. Your RO, then will send a copy of your DS-2019 to the Department of State as a notification that you have been authorized an incidental employment.


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 CPT. 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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