J-1 Student Employment - Academic Training

On Campus Employment

J-1 Students are eligible to work on campus, please review the On Campus Employment page for details.

Academic Training

If you’re a J-1 student exchange visitor, you're eligible to apply for academic training, which can be either paid employment or an unpaid internship related to your field of study. You must receive academic training authorization (for both paid and unpaid opportunities) prior to beginning employment.

  • Academic training can take place either during the time you are enrolled as a student or after you complete your course of study. Academic training that takes place after you have completed your course of study is called post-completion academic training.
  • Post-completion academic training must be authorized before you complete your studies and before your DS-2019 expires. You must have a job offer in hand before the completion of your studies.
  • Your academic training period cannot be longer than your program of study.
  • Academic Training is cumulative for your entire period of study in J-1 status.
    • Exchange students: The maximum length of academic training is the duration of your studies. You can use the start and end dates on your DS-2019 to determine the duration of your studies. The total duration of your program and academic training combined cannot be greater than 24 months.
    • Bachelor and master degree students: The maximum amount of authorization is 18 months. If you were in a program for less than 18 months, you will only be authorized for the amount of time you spent enrolled in your program.
    • Doctoral students: The maximum amount of authorization is 36 months. You are eligible to use a maximum of 18 months during your studies. Upon completion of your program, you are eligible for a total of 36 months minus any previous authorization used.

How to apply for academic training

Make an appointment to meet with International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS).

Bring the following documents to your appointment:

  • Passport
  • Form I-94
  • Proof of health insurance for yourself and any accompanying family members in J-2 status
  • Recommendation letter describing the goals and objectives of the training.
    • Degree seeking students: The letter must come from your academic advisor. The letter should clearly indicate that the work to be performed is directly related to the degree program/course of study completed and must include:
      • Beginning and ending dates
      • Number of hours per week
      • Name and address of the training supervisor
      • Physical location of the training
      • Detailed description of the training program and work responsibilities
    • Exchange students:
      • If you are a general exchange student, the Exchange Coordinator will issue the letter during your appointment.
      • If you are an MBA, BBA or Law exchange student, you must have a letter from your UT department coordinator.
  • Offer letter (on official company letterhead and containing an original signature) from your prospective employer indicating:
    • Specific beginning and ending dates of employment
    • Name and title of your supervisor
    • Address and phone number of where you will be working
    • Salary information
    • Brief description of work to be performed
  • If you intend to do academic training after you’ve completed a degree or course of study you will need to submit proof that you have sufficient funding to support your living expenses during the training period.
  • Reciprocal exchange students will also need to have their home institution’s study abroad coordinator send an email to exchangeadvisor@austin.utexas.edu giving consent for the student to participate in academic training.
  • Sponsored students may need approval from their sponsor to participate in academic training.

Changing Employer After Approved

Academic training authorization is “employer-specific.” If you plan to change employers, you must request a new authorization (same process as for the initial employment), and you may not begin employment with a new employer until authorized to do so.

Showing Proof of Work Authorization to Your Employer

The letter authorizing your academic training issued to you during your appointment with ISSS, your valid passport, Form I-94 and Form DS-2019 should be sufficient evidence of employment eligibility for the completion of the Form I-9 (Certification of Employment Eligibility) required of all new employees.

If you have been in the U.S. as a student for less than five years, you may be exempt from Social Security and Medicare tax. See IRS Publication 519.

Travel

If you travel outside the United States during your academic training period, you will need an endorsement by an ISSS advisor on your DS-2019 and a valid J-1 visa to return to the United States. If you need a new visa, please see Visa Information. Be aware that it may be risky to travel during post-completion academic training. It is recommended that you discuss your plans with an advisor at ISSS prior to leaving the country.

Economic Hardship

If your program sponsor is not The University of Texas at Austin, the sponsor who issued your DS-2019 must authorize you for economic hardship employment. Economic hardship authorization is limited to 20 hours per week and can be authorized for a maximum of 12 months. To apply for off-campus employment due to economic need, make an appointment and bring the following to ISSS:

  • Passport
  • Form I-94
  • Proof of health insurance for yourself and accompanying family members
  • Letter requesting permission to work off-campus. The letter must describe your current financial situation in detail and explain how your financial circumstances have changed since acquiring J-1 status.
  • Reciprocal exchange students will also need to have their home institution’s study abroad coordinator send an email to exchangeadvisor@austin.utexas.edu giving consent for the student to participate in employment based on economic hardship.

If the request is approved, you may begin to look for employment. Once a prospective employer has been found, make an appointment to meet with an International Student Advisor. In addition to the documents listed above, please also bring the following:

  • Offer letter from prospective employer indicating the specific beginning and ending dates of employment, the name and title of your supervisor, the address and phone number of where you will be working, salary information, and a brief description of work to be performed. The letter must be on official company letterhead and contain an original signature.

An international student advisor will then issue an authorization letter for the employment based on economic hardship.