Academic Training for J-1 Students
Academic Training (AT) is a paid job or unpaid internship that directly relates to a J-1 student's major field of study.
Before you start AT including related orientation or training, you'll need an updated DS-2019 with AT authorization from ISSS.
If you're doing AT after you finish your J-1 program (post-completion AT), you'll need to get these approvals from ISSS before the end of your program or DS-2019 end date, whichever is earlier.
You can participate in AT if:
- You are primarily in the US to study rather than work;
- Your training is directly related to your major field of study (cannot be self-employed as must have an on-site local supervisor in the US);
- You are in good academic standing;
- You will maintain health insurance coverage while working; and
- You have written approval from your ISSS advisor for the duration and type of training.
For most degree-seeking J-1 students, AT can last up to 18 months.
If your program of study is shorter than 18 months, your AT can last only as long as your program length. For example, if you complete an MS degree in 12 months, you are eligible for only 12 months of AT.
PhD students can do up to 36 months of AT (or the period of their full course of study in the US, whichever is less).
Non-degree J students are limited to a 24-month stay, which includes study time and AT.
- An offer letter from your employer that includes:
- Job title
- Brief description of the goals and objectives of your employment
- Exact start date and end date for your employment
- Full physical address of your employment, including zip code
- Number of hours you are expected to work per week
- Name and email address of your supervisor
- Expected salary for your position
- A recommendation letter from your Emory University academic advisor or dean that includes:
- The goals of your training program
- Description of the training program, including its location, the name and address of your supervisor, the number of work hours per week, and start and end dates
- How the training relates to your major field of study
- Why it's an integral part of your academic program
- Evidence of your continuing health insurance coverage
- If your AT is post-completion and the position is unpaid or your salary is less than the cost of your living expenses: evidence of continuing financial support for yourself and your dependents ($2000 for yourself, $700 for your spouse, $350 for each child per month of requested AT)
- Gather all the required documentation. Give a copy of your employment offer letter to your Emory academic advisor or dean so that they can write your recommendation letter.
- Log in to ISSS Link and submit the academic training request e-form. You'll need to upload copies of your offer letter and recommendation letter, proof of insurance, and evidence of financial support.
- Your ISSS advisor will review your request. If your AT is approved, they will write an authorization letter and create an updated DS-2019 for you within 5 business days.
- After you get your authorization letter and updated DS-2019, you can begin your AT.
As a J-1 student, you don't have to pay social security or Medicare (FICA) taxes for your first 5 years in the US. If these taxes are deducted from your paycheck, contact your employer's human resources or payroll department.
Even though you don't have to pay those 2 taxes, you still need to submit other tax documents each year. Learn more >>
After you have spent 5 years in the US in J-1 status, you become a resident for tax purposes and have to pay FICA taxes. If you spend even 1 day in the US in J-1 status during a particular year, that year counts toward the 5-year limit.