J-1 Academic Training Employment

1. Academic Training Overview

Academic Training (AT) is a type of employment directly related to your major field of study and is authorized by your international student advisor.
NOTE: If your J-1 visa is not sponsored by Princeton, you must apply for and obtain authorization for AT from the J program sponsor that issued your DS-2019. For example, if you are a Fulbright student, you must contact your advisor at the Institute for International Education (IIE) to apply for AT.

All J-1 students in degree programs may apply for AT either during the course of study or after completion of studies. Students may work part-time (20 hours or less per week) while school is in session and full-time during the summer and winter breaks. The summer break is considered the day following spring semester final exams through the day before fall semester classes begin.

AT can be unpaid or paid. In either case, AT must be approved in advance before the training/employment start date. The procedures for authorizing paid or unpaid AT are the same. If the training is unpaid, you must demonstrate ability to support yourself, and your J-2 dependent, if applicable, throughout your AT.

UNEMPLOYMENT for students with Academic Training is not allowed. You are allowed a 30-day grace period from the last date of employment or the end of the AT work authorization (whichever comes first) to depart the U.S., transfer your J-1 SEVIS record to a new program of study or to apply for a change of immigration status to another immigration category.

2. Academic Training Eligibility Criteria

  • You are primarily in the U.S. to study rather than engage in AT.
  • You are in good academic standing.
  • Non-degree J-1 students are NOT eligible to apply for AT. Only students pursuing a degree (Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate) at Princeton are allowed to apply.
  • Your proposed training or employment is directly related to your major field of study.
  • You receive written approval in advance from Davis IC for the duration and type of AT.
  • You must otherwise maintain your J-1 status throughout your AT period.
  • You maintain the required health insurance coverage for yourself and any J-2 dependents throughout your AT. You must make sure that the insurance meets the Department of State minimum criteria.  

3. Duration of Academic Training

  • Your AT employment may be authorized for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training, provided that the amount of time is approved by both your academic advisor/residential college dean and your international student advisor.
  • You may use AT during your studies or after completion of your studies.
  • For undergraduate and master's degree students, AT training may not exceed a total of 18 months, inclusive of any prior AT in the U.S., or the period of full course of study in the U.S., whichever is less.
  • For doctoral students, AT may not exceed a total of 36 months, inclusive of any prior AT in the U.S., or the period of the full course of study in the U.S., whichever is less.
  • For post-completion AT, the employment start date must begin no later than 30 days after your program completion date, but you must apply for AT prior to the expiration date of your DS-2019.
  • Part-time AT is deducted the same as the full-time rate against the 18 or 36 month-limit. 
  • AT before completion of studies will also be deducted from the total 18 or 36 months.

4. Academic Training Application

Students applying for post completion AT must apply before the ending date on their  DS-2019. Allow 10 business days for processing. To apply for AT, please submit items below to Davis IC through Docuport.

1. A job offer letter from your prospective employer that includes:

  • Your job title.
  • A brief description of the goals and objectives of your training (employment) program.
  • The dates and location of the employment, the number of hours per week and the salary.
  • The name and address of your employment training supervisor.
    Make sure that your employer's letter includes all of the above details and is on letterhead. (For convenience, refer your employer to this sample letter.)

2.  Academic advisor/dean's recommendation form. Give a copy of your job offer letter to your academic advisor (graduate J-1 students) or residential college dean (undergraduate J-1 students) for use in recommending the AT. Your advisor's recommendation must include the following:

  • 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, number of hours per week, and dates of the training.
  • How the training relates to the student's major field of study.
  • Why it is an integral or critical part of the student's academic program.

Your international student advisor will evaluate the AT program and decide whether it meets the regulatory criteria for Academic Training. If your application is approved, s/he will issue a new DS-2019 and write a letter of AT approval. Please allow up to 10 business days for processing. You will receive an e-mail from Davis IC when your approval is ready for pick up.

3. Proof of Funding

Your international student advisor must determine that you continue to have adequate financial support to maintain your extended J-1 status before we can authorize your AT. If you will receive a salary, that information must be included in the letter from your employer. If you will be participating in an unpaid internship, you must submit a bank statement, a letter from your home country government (if you are still receiving support), a letter from another organization, proof of family support, etc. 

A Note of Caution about off-campus employment:
Employment without proper work authorization is a serious violation of your status. Before you start any kind of employment, you must first consult with Davis IC - written approval is necessary in advance.