International Office

Employment Issues: J-1 Status

To engage in any type of employment as a J-1 student, you must first obtain written authorization from the responsible Officer (RO) or an Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO).

Employment is any work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, books, supplies, room and board, or any other benefit or compensation. Only if you will receive absolutely no benefit or compensation of any kind at any time is an activity considered by the USCIS to be "unpaid volunteering."

Unauthorized employment is a serious violation of student status. Please contact the International Office if you have any questions or doubts about whether you are authorized to accept employment.

The following two types of employment are explained below:

  1. Student Employment
  2. Academic Training

1. Student Employment

You may work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full time during the summer and winter break as long as:

  • your -DS-2019 is valid
  • you have written authorization from your RO/ARO
  • you are in good academic standing
  • you are enrolled full time.

Note: Enrollment is not required during winter break or summer session, but you must be eligible to enroll for the following semester.

  • Student employment includes:
  • Employment required by a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship
  • On-campus jobs unrelated to study
  • Off-campus jobs if necessary because of serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic circumstances that arose after you arrived in the United States.

2. Academic Training

Academic training is employment in the field of your academic program in the United States. The maximum length of time allowed for both pre- and post-completion Academic training authorization is either 18 months or the number of months you are a full-time student, whichever is shorter (unless the employment is required in order for you to graduate, in which case you are eligible for 36 months or Academic Training). Part-time Academic Training counts the same as full-time toward your maximum allowance.

You are eligible for Academic Training authorization:

  • Before completion of your program of study. You may work part-time while classes are in session and full-time during vacation periods. Under certain circumstances, you may interrupt study to work full time (e.g., while you are writing your thesis.)
  • After completion of your program of study. You may work if you can present your J-1 Responsible Officer with documentation of an offer of appropriate employment and a letter of support from your academic adviser within 30 days of completing your program.

Refer to the "Academic Training for J-1 Students" packet for more information.