Academic Training

What is Academic Training?

Academic Training is work in the U.S. (paid or unpaid) in your field of study and conducted as an integral part of your academic program.

Who approves the Academic Training?

The Responsible Officer (RO) or the Alternative Responsible Officer (ARO) of the sponsor institution listed in Section 2 of your DS-2019 approves the Academic Training in writing. An employment authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is NOT required.

When can I engage in Academic Training?

While you are taking courses:

  • Before completion of your program of study: 
    Part-time (20 hours/week) while classes are in session. 
    Full-time (usually 40 hours/week) during vacations and holidays
  • After completion of your program of study: Full-time

How long is the Academic Training?

You may engage in academic training for 18 months or the equivalent of the time you were a full-time student, whichever is shorter. This time includes all academic training, before and after graduation, full-time or part-time.

Are there any extensions of Academic Training beyond 18 months?

If you receive a doctoral degree at the completion of your J-1 student program and you engage in postdoctoral research (or its equivalent of postdoctoral training is not required or common in your field of study), you are eligible for an extension up to 18 months, for a maximum total of 36 months.

Do I have to have a job offer before receiving approval for Academic Training?

Yes. In order to engage in academic training, you must have a written job offer at least two weeks before your graduation date and well before work is scheduled to commence.

What documentation is required for approval of Academic Training?

The following documents must be presented to the Responsible Officer prior to beginning employment:

  • Letter from the academic advisor (the form is available online)
  • Written letter/job offer from your employer which includes, at least, the following information:
    • Annual salary, position title, and a brief description of your duties.

After receiving this information, the Responsible Officer reviews the letters and if the information is satisfactory, the RO then issues a written letter of approval for Academic Training. Approval is not guaranteed or automatic and depends largely upon the type of work proposed.

What do I show my employer to prove that I am eligible to work in the United States?

Valid DS-2019 and I-94 card (marked J1 - D/S) 
Written letter of approval for Academic Training from the Responsible Officer

Academic Training Package and Instructions