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Hiring J-1 Students

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International students can be valuable contributions to any company or organization as they may bring different perspectives or insights to your workplace. J-1 students are eligible for an off-campus work authorization called Academic Training (AT). This authorization does not place any additional burden on a company or organization beyond the normal hiring practices of an employee.

Academic Training is an off-campus employment authorization benefit for J-1 students to gain practical experience in their field of study. This employment authorization is available to J-1 students who are completing a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree. J-1 students can participate in AT for 18 months or for a period equal to the length of their degree program, whichever is shorter. For students in post-doctoral degrees, AT duration may be extended for 18 additional months for a total of 36 months.

J-1 students must receive a job offer from an employer before they can apply for AT. The proposed work must meet this eligibility criteria:

Must be related to their field of study as listed on their DS-2019. This will be approved by the student’s Academic Department and by the ISSC.

Must not be an unskilled occupation as defined by the U.S. Department of State.

Must start work no later than 30 days after their program completion date (typically the date of graduation).

Additional characteristics of the work include: 

  • May be paid or unpaid
  • May work for several employers at one time
  • Amount of hours per week is not prescribed 

Please note that approval for Academic Training is limited to a specific job and/or company.  If a student wishes to perform a new job or work for a new company, they must submit a new AT application to the ISSC at least 30 days before the end of their current position or employment, and before their new position or employment begins. 

The ISSC asks students to submit the following documents required for an AT application:

  • Written offer of employment. (Sample included here) 
  • AT Request and Academic Recommendation form (provided to Academic Department)
  • Copy of valid passport
  • Copy of I-94
  • Valid proof of funding or financial guarantee for living expenses (for unpaid or volunteer positions)
  • Valid proof of health insurance, that meets U.S. Department of State requirements (the minimum requirement is listed on the second page of their DS-2019).
    1. If your company or organization does not offer your employees a health insurance plan then the student will need to purchase their own plan.  Additionally, if the offered health insurance plan does not meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of State, the student will need to purchase an additional plan.   

As noted earlier, there is no additional burden on a company or organization when hiring a student on AT. The approval of the AT listed on a student’s DS-2019 serves as a student’s work authorization.  An example of the documents a student on AT could present to satisfy the I-9 requirement could be:

  • Category A: Foreign Passport & I-94 Form
  • Category C: DS-2019 with AT approval, which falls under #7: Employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security

*Student’s on AT do not receive an EAD card.

Students must end their employment with your company or organization by the last date listed on their DS-2019.  

The AT authorization is contingent upon students maintaining their J-1 Exchange Visitor status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Students must obtain health insurance for the entire period of the AT authorization. Their participation in the exchange visiting program shall be terminated if they willfully fail to maintain the required insurance coverage during their AT.