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J-1 Academic Training

There are two categories of employment available to J-1 students. One is student employment and the other is academic training. Please click on the link to the left for more information on J-1 Student Employment.

J-1 Academic Training (AT)

Academic Training (AT) offers employment to supplement your academic program in the United States. It is available before completion of your program of study as well as afterwards. As long as you stay within the stipulated time limits, it lets you work part-time while classes are in session and full-time during vacation periods; and, under certain circumstances, you may interrupt study to work full-time, for example while you are writing a thesis.

To qualify for Academic Training, you must first obtain approval in writing from your J-1 Responsible Officer (R.O.) or Alternate Responsible Officer (A.R.O.) in the Office of Visa and Immigration Services. We will evaluate the proposed employment in terms of your program of study and your individual circumstances. If appropriate, we will issue you a letter authorizing the employment for a specific period of time.

Eligibility for Academic Training

  1. Your primary purpose in the United States must be study rather than Academic Training.
  2. You must be in good academic standing and attending the school named on your Form DS-2019.
  3. The proposed employment must be directly related to your major field of study.
  4. Throughout your Academic Training you must maintain permission to stay in the United States, in J-1 student status, and apply for extensions as necessary.
  5. You must maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and any J-2 dependents throughout your Academic Training.

General Limitations

  1. Your employment may be authorized for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training. It may not exceed the period of full course of study, or 18 months, whichever is shorter. If you receive a Ph.D., however, your post-doctoral training may last as long as 36 months, as long as it is valid, supervised, post-doctoral research.
  2. Part-time employment for Academic Training counts against the 18 or 36-month limit the same as full-time employment.
  3. Earning more than one degree does not increase your eligibility for Academic Training.

Academic Training After Completion of Your Program of Study

  1. AT approved after completion of your program must be reduced by any prior periods of Academic Training.
  2. AT following completion of your program of study generally must involve paid employment.
  3. Whether the other items in the application are ready yet or not, you must obtain a written offer of appropriate employment and present a copy to the Office of Visa and Immigration Services no later than 30 days after the end of your program, or you will lose eligibility for AT after completion of your program.
  4. If you plan to leave the United States after you complete your program of study and reenter the country for AT, you must obtain employment authorization before you leave. You may be denied re-entry if you fail to do so.

Procedure

  1. Obtain a letter offering employment from your prospective employer that includes:
    • your job title
    • a brief description of the goals and objectives of your training program (your employment)
    • the dates and location of the employment
    • the number of hours per week
    • the name and address of your training supervisor
  2. Submit the employment offer letter and the advisor's letter to the Office of Visa and Immigration Services. If approved, the RO or ARO will write a letter of approval authorizing the AT. To authorize "post-doctoral training" your J-1 Responsible Officer must also issue you a new Form DS-2019, for no more than 18 months at a time.
  3. Click here to access the J-1 Academic Training application form. Complete this form.
  4. Submit the Academic Training application form and the employment offer letter to your immigration advisor in the Office of Visa and Immigration Services (OVIS). If approved, your immigration advisor, and enter the approval in the SEVIS system. He or she will also write a letter of approval authorizing the AT. To authorize "post-doctoral training" your J-1 Responsible Officer must also issue you a new Form DS-2019, for no more than 18 months at a time.

Other Important Information

Social Security Number. To put you on the payroll, your employer will need your Social Security number, which you can obtain by applying for a Social Security card. Please click here to access more information about applying for a social security number.

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 (or other photo-bearing identification if you are Canadian), electronic Form I-94 print-out (if you entered the U.S. by air or sea; your electronic Form I-94 can be accessed and printed here) or I-94 Departure Record card (if you entered the U.S. by land), the pink copy of Form DS-2019, and your J-1 Responsible Officer's written work authorization. Your employer, who keeps Form I-9, will make copies of the documents you submit, and return the originals to you. Form I-9 must be updated any time that you receive a renewal of your permission for "Academic Training."

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 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 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 taxes, and employers are required by law to withhold those taxes from your paychecks. Currently, the State of New Hampshire has no income tax, so there is no state tax levied against your earnings. By April 15, you must file an exempt statement and a federal income tax return covering the prior calendar year to determine whether you owe more taxes or have a refund coming. Please contact the Payroll Office to determine if you qualify for a tax treaty.

A Note of Caution

As a J-1 student you are eligible for a variety of work opportunities in the United States, but employment without proper authorization is a serious violation of your status. Remember that before you start any kind of employment, you must first consult with the Office of Visa and Immigration Services, and receive written approval in advance.

Last Updated: 5/1/13