Academic training is the name the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program uses for employment training or practical experience related to your field of study. It is fairly flexible and offers a variety of paid and unpaid, full-time or part-time, training or employment situations, with one or more employers, to supplement your academic program in the U.S.
Academic training is available at any stage of your academic program, either while you are enrolled in school or after you complete your academic program, as long as you maintain valid J-1 status, follow the appropriate application and approval procedures, and stay within the stated time limits.
If you are considering academic training, your authorization must be processed before your official academic program completion date. In addition, the academic training/employment must begin within the first 30 days after the official academic program completion date.
You are eligible for academic training if all of the following criteria are met:
- You are in the U.S. primarily for study in a full-time academic program
- You are in good academic standing
- You must apply before the completion of your academic program
- You are participating in academic training that is directly related to your major field of study
- Your employment/training must take place with the specific employer or employers who are noted on the academic training authorization letter
- You must receive an authorization letter, in advance, for the duration and type of academic training, from International Student Advisor in ISSS. This authorization must be processed before the end date on the Form DS-2019 or before the official date of the degree program completion, whichever comes first.
- You have a valid Form DS-2019 that enables you to remain in the U.S. in J-1 student status. You must apply for extensions as needed and in a timely manner.
Length of Academic Training
- Students who complete a degree program are permitted an overall academic training period of 18 months. This includes all academic training, whether before or after completion of studies. Source: 22CFR § 514.23(f)(4)
- The total employment/training period may not exceed the amount of time spent in full course of study. For example, if you are a Masters student who completed a program in 12 months, you are only eligible for 12 months of academic training.
- Completing more than one degree program at the same time does not increase your academic training period.
- Any pre-completion academic training period is deducted from your total allowable academic training period when calculating post-completion academic training.
Exceptions to the 18-Month Period Limit
There are exceptions to the 18-month time limit, if you meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Your degree program requires a training period longer than 18 months.
- After completing a Ph.D. program, you are eligible for an additional 18 months of post-doctoral training, for a total of 36 months of academic training.
- If you are enrolled in a non-degree program your stay in the U.S., including academic training, is limited to a total of 24 months. The term of your academic training would then be the time period remaining after you complete your non-degree program.
- A period spent in part-time employment under academic training will count as full-time academic training and will be deducted from the 18 or 36 months of post completion academic training.
How to Apply for Academic Training Authorization
Step 1: Find an Academic Training opportunity.
This could be a job, internship, cooperative education position, volunteer position, etc. It must be closely related to your studies at UO. The training position must start either pre-completion of your program or no later than 30 days after you complete your program.
Step 2: Submit the Following Documents to ISSS
- A copy of your job/internship offer
- Completed Academic Training Request Form (Note: Exchange students do not need to provide a letter from an academic advisor; an ISSS advisor will take care of this)
Your ISSS advisor will review your application and, if approved, will issue a new DS-2019 notated with your Academic Training authorization. Allow 7-10 business days for ISSS processing.
Authorization to Work
A Social Security Number
To put you on the payroll, an employer must have your Social Security number, which you can obtain by applying for a Social Security card. If you do not already have a Social Security Number, take your passport (if you are Canadian, you may use another form of photo-bearing identification), your I-94 Arrival Record, the DS-2019, and the J-1 Responsible Officer's written work authorization to an office of the Social Security Administration. Your Social Security card may be stamped "Valid Employment only with DHS approval." In the case of J-1 "Academic Training," this stamp means that the Social Security card is valid for working only if accompanied by a properly completed DS-2019 and a valid I-94 Arrival Record.
Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification
When you begin work, you and your employer must complete Form I-9 which requires you to document your identity and work authorization according to directions on the back of the form. Of the various items acceptable as documentation, you may find that the most convenient combination is your passport, I-94 Arrival Record, the DS-2019, and the J-1 Responsible Officer's written work authorization. Your employer, who keeps the Form I-9 on file, may make copies of the documents you submit and should return your original documents to you.
Social Security and other Taxes
Social Security Taxes
In general, as a J-1 student, you will be exempt from Social Security (F.I.C.A.) taxes for your first five (5) years in the United States, as long as you continue to declare non-resident status for tax purposes (see Internal Revenue Service Publication 519, "U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.")
Federal, State, and Local Income Taxes
Unless you qualify under a tax treaty between the United States and your home government, your earnings as a J-1 student will be subject to applicable federal, state and local income taxes, and employers are required by law to withhold those taxes from your paychecks. By April 15 of each year, you must file a federal income tax return and a "Required Statement" covering the prior calendar year to determine whether you owe more taxes or if you have a refund coming.
Note of Caution!
J-1 students are eligible for a variety of work opportunities in the United States, but employment without proper authorization is a serious violation of status. Remember that before starting any kind of employment, you first must consult your J-1 Responsible Officer, whose written approval is necessary in advance. This information is adapted from material produced by NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
Rights and Protections
If you encounter any problems at your workplace, know that you have rights and can get help. The website below informs you of your rights as a nonimmigrant visa holder in certain employment- and education-based categories. The U.S. government created this pamphlet at the prompting of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (Public Law 110-457), which reaffirms and strengthens the U.S. government’s commitment to fight human trafficking and labor abuses. Visit the U.S Department of State's Rights and Protections page for details in your own language.