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.
Employment Options for J-1 Students
J-1 Students are eligible to work on campus, please review the On Campus Employment page for details.
Academic training is work authorization that allows J-1 students to pursue off-campus employment that aligns with the major listed on the student’s DS-2019. Student must obtain academic training authorization (for both paid and unpaid employment) prior to beginning employment.
Students whose DS-2019 was not issued by UT Austin must work with their program sponsor directly to obtain academic training authorization.
- Degree-seeking students must complete at least one long (fall or spring) semester in J-1 status.
- For pre-completion academic training, student must be enrolled or a continuing student in good academic standing with the university.
- For post-completion academic training, student must complete their degree or exchange program in good academic standing with the university.
- Student must have an employment offer.
- Employment must be related to the student's field of study listed on the DS-2019.
Processing Time and Deadlines
- Regular processing time for academic training is 2 weeks.
- For pre-completion academic training, authorization must be obtained prior to the employment start date listed on the employment offer letter.
- For post-completion academic training, employment must begin within 30 days of the student's completion of study. Additionally, the authorization must be obtained prior to the completion of the student's studies, before the DS-2019 expires, AND prior to the employment start date listed on the employment offer letter.
Length of Academic Training
- The total amount of Academic Training is cumulative for a student's period of study in J-1 status.
- The period of academic training authorized cannot exceed the student's program length of study.
- Any approved pre-completion Academic Training will be subtracted from the student's post-completion Academic Training.
The maximum length of academic training is the duration of the exchange program.\
Exchange students should use the start and end dates on your DS-2019 to determine the duration of the exchange program.
The total duration of your program and academic training combined cannot be greater than 24 months.
Bachelor and Master degree students:
- The maximum length of authorization is 18 months or the length of the student's academic program, whichever is shorter.
- If the student's program was less than 18 months, the student will only be authorized for the amount of time spent enrolled in the program.
- Temporary initiative for J-1 Bachelor's and Master's students in a designated STEM field
- J-1 students whose DS-2019 expires before Dec. 31, 2024 and shows a "Subject/Field" code on this STEM-designated field list may be eligible for a period of up to 36 months of AT or the length of their academic program, whichever is shorter. ISSS will consider students in active J-1 status and with a DS-2019 end date before Dec. 31, 2024 to be eligible for this request. ISSS must submit a request to the U.S. Department of State to request the extension and cannot guarantee the outcome. J-1 students must email email@example.com at least one month prior to their DS-2019 expiration date to request this extension. For more information on this Department of State initiative, please review their website and this helpful fact sheet.
- The maximum length of authorization is 36 months.
- Students are eligible to use a maximum of 18 months during their studies (i.e., pre-completion).
- Upon completion of the program, the student is eligible for a total of 36 months minus any previous authorization used.
How to Apply for Academic Training
Students must submit an academic training request through their myIO portal, and allow a minimum of 2 weeks for processing.
The following is required for submission:
- Employment Verification Letter (preferred) or Employment offer letter on official company letterhead, and containing an original signature. Offer letter must indicate:
- Specific beginning and ending dates of employment
- Name and title of supervisor
- Address and phone number for where employment will take place
- Salary information
- Brief description of work to be performed
- Recommendation from academic or graduate advisor (exchange coordinator for exchange students)
- Your advisor will recommend your academic training in myIO
- For post-completion academic training ONLY: Proof of health insurance for student and any accompanying family members in J-2 status
- For post-completion academic training ONLY: Proof of living expenses for student and accompanying family members in J-2 status.
- For Reciprocal Exchange Students ONLY: Letter from the home institutions giving consent for the student to participate in academic training.
- For Sponsored Students ONLY: Letter from sponsor giving consent for the student to participate in academic training
Academic training authorization is “employer-specific.” If the student will change employers, a new authorization must be requested (same process as for the initial employment). In this case, the student should NOT begin employment with the new employer until the new authorization has been processed.
Showing Proof of Work Authorization to Your Employer
Once academic training is authorized, the student will receive an Academic Training Authorization letter from ISSS, which will need to be presented to the employer. Additionally, the student should present a valid passport, form I-94 and updated DS-2019. These documents 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 travel outside the United States during your academic training period, you will need a travel signature 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. It is recommended that you discuss your plans with an advisor at ISSS prior to leaving the country.
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:
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.