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International Students and Scholars

Academic Training for J-1 Visa Students

"Academic Training" is the name used by the Department of State for certain types of study-related employment. This applies only to J-1 students. Certain conditions must be met in order to qualify for "Academic Training," and the steps to apply must follow.

"Academic Training" is flexible in its format and offers a variety of employment opportunities to supplement a J-1 student's academic program in the United States. It is available both before and after the completion of an academic program of study. As long as students stay within the stipulated time limits, "Academic Training" allows them to work part-time while classes are in session and full-time during vacation periods; and, under certain circumstances, a student may interrupt study to work full-time, for example while writing a thesis. J-1 students in non-degree programs are also eligible for "Academic Training."

Your J-1 Responsible Officer:

To qualify for "Academic Training," students first must obtain approval in writing from their J-1 Responsible Officer, an individual who represents their J-1 sponsor and who issues their Form DS-2019. S/he must evaluate the proposed employment in terms of study and individual circumstances and then decide whether the employment is appropriate or not. For UW sponsored J-1 students, they may contact their Responsible Officer through International Students and Scholars in the Cheney International Center, Suite 5. For students sponsored by other agencies (Fulbright, USAID, etc.), they must contact the agencies directly, for only their representatives can approve "Academic Training."

Eligibility:

  • Student's primary purpose in the U.S. must be to study rather than be employed.
  • Student must be in good academic standing at the school named on the Form DS-2019.
  • The proposed employment must be directly related to a student's major field of study.
  • The academic training must have the approval of the academic advisor and the RO.
  • Throughout the "Academic Training" period, the student must maintain permission to remain in the U.S. (maintain J-1 student status) and apply for extensions as necessary.
  • Student must maintain health insurance and medical evacuation/repatriation coverage for him/herself and any J-2 dependents through the "Academic Training" period.
  • Student must always keep their current address on file with the Responsible Officer.


General Limitations:

Academic training for undergraduate students and other pre-doctoral level students may not exceed 18 months. The 18 month count is cumulative and would include any academic training that occurred during the program of study. In addition, time spent doing "part-time" academic training during the course of student is deducted from the 18 month total at the full-time rate; it is not prorated. A student may not be granted academic training for a period longer than the program of study. For example, a student whose full course of study lasted 12 months would be eligible for a maximum of 12 months of academic training.

J-1 students engaged in post-doctoral training may receive up to 36 months of academic training, but it must be granted in increments of 18 months or less.

Earning more than one degree does not increase a student's eligibility for "Academic Training."

After Completion of a Student's Program of Study:

For academic training done after completion of the course of study, a student must apply to the RO no later than 30 days after completion of the studies.

If students plan to leave the United States after completing their programs of study and reenter the country for J-1 "Academic Training," they must obtain employment authorization and a new Form DS-2019 before leaving. If this is not done, there is no basis for being eligible for readmission.

The Application:

  1. A student must obtain a letter of offer from a prospective employer that includes: a job title, a brief description of the "goals and objectives" of the "Training Program" (i.e., employment), the dates and location of the employment, the number of hours per week, the name and address of the "training supervisor" and the salary amount to be paid to insure that personal living expense obligations can be met. 
  2. All elements must be present in order for the employer's letter to be acceptable. 
  3. Employer's letter must be presented to a student's academic adviser for use in writing to UW's J-1 Responsible Officer recommending the "Academic Training." The adviser will then write a letter of support tying the request for "Academic Training" to the student's educational objectives at the University of Wyoming. According to the text of the federal regulations, the academic adviser's letter must set forth: the goals and objectives of the specific training program, a description of the training program, including its location, the name and address of the training supervisor, the number of hours per week, and the dates of training, how the training relates to the student's major field of study, and why the training will serve as an integral or critical part of the student's academic program.

    The academic adviser must also approve "Academic Training" "for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training." 
  4. When the academic adviser's recommendation is ready, the study should make an appointment with the J-1 Responsible Officer and bring the offer letter, adviser's letter, passport, I-94 card, and DS-2019 to the appointment. 
  5. The J-1 Responsible Officer must evaluate the "Academic Training" program and decide whether it is warranted and appropriate. If so, a letter of approval will be written that will serve as the official work authorization document. At this same time, an extended DS-2019 will be issued. 
  6. "Academic Training" must be applied for and approved no later than 30 days after completion of studies and BEFORE the J-1 student begins his/her employment.

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