J-1 Academic Training

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Academic Training is flexible in its format and offers a variety of employment situations to supplement your academic program in the United States. It is available before completion of your program of study as well as afterwards. As long as you stay within the stipulated time limits, it allows you to work part-time while classes are in session and full-time during vacation periods; and, under certain circumstances, you may interrupt study to work full-time, for example, while you are writing a thesis. J-1 students in degree or non-degree programs are eligible for Academic Training. For further information, consult with an ISSS international student advisor.

Your J-1 International Student Advisor

To qualify for academic training, you must first obtain approval from a Responsible Officer (RO)/Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO). The RO/ARO referred in the regulation is an International Student Advisor at the University of Louisville. For further information, consult with an ISSS international student advisor.



  1. Your primary purpose in the United States must be to study rather than Academic Training.
  2. The proposed employment must be directly related to your major field of study.
  3. You must be in good academic standing at the University of Louisville.
  4. Throughout your academic training you must maintain permission to stay in the United States, in J-1 student status, and apply for extensions as necessary.
  5. You must maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and any J-2 dependents throughout your academic training.
  6. While you are on academic training, you are still responsible for notifying your ISSS international student advisor with any change in address, telephone number, email address, or any issues to do with your academic training within 10 calendar days of the change.


The student is authorized to participate in academic training for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training, provided that the amount of time for academic training [Source: 22 CFR. § 62.23(f)(4)]:

  1. Is approved by the academic dean or academic advisor and approved by a responsible officer;
  2. For undergraduate and pre-doctoral training, does not exceed 18 months, inclusive of any prior academic training in the United States, or the period of full course of study in the United States, whichever is less; except that additional time for academic training is allowed to the extent necessary for the exchange visitor to satisfy the mandatory requirements of his or her degree program in the United States;
  3. For post-doctoral training, does not exceed a total of 36 months, inclusive of any prior academic training in the United States as an exchange visitor, or the period of the full course of study in the United States, whichever is less. Additional “Academic Training,” beyond the 18 or 36-month limit, is allowed only if it is required for the degree.
  4. Part-time employment for Academic Training counts against the total limit available the same as full-time employment.
  5. Earning more than one degree does not increase your eligibility for Academic Training.

Applying for Academic Training 

  1. Academic Training with a start date after completion date of your program will be reduced by any prior periods of Academic Training.
  2. You must obtain a written offer letter of appropriate employment from your future employer, recommendation from your academic advisor and obtain approval from the ISSS international student advisor prior to the end date listed on your DS2019.
  3. Your employment start date of your Academic Training cannot be any later than 30 days after the end of your program.
  4. If you plan to leave the United States after you complete your program of study and re-enter the country for J-1 Academic Training, you must obtain employment authorization before you leave and obtain your new DS2019 form. Be sure to obtain a travel signature on your new DS2019.


  1. Obtain a letter from your prospective employer on their letterhead, signed and dated that includes your job title, a brief description of the goals and objectives of your “training program” (your employment), the start and end dates and location of the employment and the number of hours per week that you will be working. The letter should have the name and address of your training supervisor as well as their telephone number and email address. 
  2. Give a copy of your employer’s letter to your UofL academic advisor or dean for use to complete the “Academic Advisor Authorization" form. This letter must set forth:
    1. The goals and objectives of the specific training program;
    2. A description of the training program, including its location, the name and address of the training supervisor, their telephone number and email address, number of work hours per week, and dates of the training;
    3. How the training relates to the student’s major field of study; and
    4. Why it is an integral or critical part of the academic program.
  3. When your academic advisor’s recommendation is ready, send it to your ISSS International Student Advisor, with a copy of the employer’s letter.
  4. The International Student Advisor must evaluate the Academic Training request and decide whether it is warranted and appropriate. If approved, the advisor will authorize the Academic Training and issue you a new DS2019 Form.
Evaluation requirements. The employer must evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of the academic training in achieving the stated goals and objectives in order to ensure the quality of the academic training program. The academic training sponsor must complete the following evaluation form. You may submit it to an advisor or email it to isss@louisville.edu.

Authorization to work

Social Security Number:  To put you on the payroll, your employer will need your Social Security number, which you can obtain by applying for a Social Security card if you do not already have.  Take your passport, I-94 information sheet, your DS2019 form, and your International Student Advisor’s written work authorization and letter of employment from your employer to the Social Security Administration.  Your Social Security card may be stamped “Not Valid for Employment.” That stamp will not make you ineligible to work; it means only that no funds will ever go into the Social Security account represented by that number.

Form I-9, “Employment Eligibility Verification”:  When you begin work, you and your employer must complete Form I-9, which requires you to document your identity and work authorization according to directions on the back of the Form. Of the various items acceptable as documentation, you may find that the most convenient combination is your passport, I-94 Departure Record card, and a copy of DS2019 form. Your employer, who keeps Form I-9, will make copies of the documents you submit, and return the original to you. Form I-9 must be updated any time that you receive a renewal of your permission for Academic Training.

Social Security and Other Taxes 

Social Security taxes:  In general, as a J-1 student you will be exempt from Social Security (F.I.C.A.) taxes for your first five years in the United States, as long as you continue to declare non-resident status for tax purposes (see Internal Revenue Publication 519, “U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.”)

Federal, state and local taxes:  Unless you qualify under a tax treaty between the United States and your home government, your earnings as a J-1 student will be subject to applicable federal, state and local taxes, and employers are required by law to withhold those taxes from your paychecks.  By April 15th you must file a federal income tax return and a “Required Statement” covering the prior calendar year to determine whether you owe more taxes or have a refund coming.

A note of caution:  As a J-1 student you are eligible for a variety of work opportunities in the United States, but employment without proper authorization is a serious violation of your status.  Remember that before you start any kind of employment, you must first consult your International Student Advisor in the ISSS whose written approval is necessary in advance.