J-1 Academic Training

Academic Training (AT) is a type of work authorization available for eligible J-1 students. It allows J-1 students to participate in part-time or full-time work, training, or experiences related to their field of study listed (as listed on the DS-2019). It may be authorized for employment that is either before or after program completion. 

A student knows they are authorized when they have a DS-2019 with Academic Training authorized by ISSA (via ISSAlink). 

Academic Training Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for Academic Training authorization, the student and employment have specific requirements.

The student must:

  • be maintaining valid J-1 status
  • be in good academic standing 
  • successfully complete at least one semester at Notre Dame before applying
  • apply for AT prior to the program end date on their DS-2019
  • provide evidence of funding for duration of AT (AT after program end date)

The employment must:

  • be directly related to the student's major (as listed on the DS-2019)
  • be documented in a written offer of employment prior to the application, as AT is employer, position, and time specific
  • start within 30 days of the program end date (Academic Training after program end date)

Because Academic Training is employer, position, and time specific, adding a new employer, changing employers or site of activity, or extending employment requires authorization in advance on the Form DS-2019. The process below must be followed for every work, training, or experience that needs AT authorization.

Academic Training (AT) Application Process
Review the Academic Training website and consult with ISSA if you have questions.

Obtain required documentation for requesting AT:

  • Confirmation of employment

This could be an offer letter, but it should be on company letterhead and include the following information:

    • Position Title
    • Position description (several sentences or bullet points detailing the responsibilities and duties of your role)
    • Employment start date and end date
    • Name and complete address of the employer

For post-completion AT, you must also include: 

  • Salary information or proof of personal funding to cover expenses for duration of AT period
  • Proof of health insurance that meets J-1 requirements
Submit the AT Application form in ISSAlink.

Ensure your academic/faculty advisor completes and submits their approval for the request e-form.

  • Once you submit the AT application, your academic advisor will receive a link to a recommendation eform. Note: ISSA cannot process until your advisor has completed this portion of the request.
ISSA processes the AT application request and issues new Form DS-2019 with AT Authorization and a letter of authorization confirming authorization details (documents issued via email).
Submit your AT evaluation in ISSAlink up to 30 days prior to the end of your AT End Date.

Current ISSA processing times are 8 business days after receiving the advisor recommendation, so please be sure to submit the application at least two weeks in advance.

Students who have applied for a 212(e) Rule waiver may not be eligible to apply for Academic Training, and they should consult with ISSA. 

Length of Academic Training

Students may be authorized for varying amounts of AT depending on the educational program:

  • Ph.D. students are eligible for up to 36 months of AT.
  • Non-Ph.D. students are eligible for up to 18 months of AT, though STEM students may be eligible for an additional 18 months.
  • Students in a program that is shorter than 18 months are eligible for a period of AT not to exceed the total program length.

More information about STEM majors and Academic Training can be found here.

All Academic Training is counted against the total aggregate as full time:

  • Example: A student eligible for a total of 18 months of Academic Training who is authorized for four months of part-time pre-completion Academic Training is eligible for only 14 additional months of Academic Training.

Lastly, earning more than one degree does not increase student’s eligibility for Academic Training at that education level.

Student Responsibilities During Academic Training

Students authorized for employment before the program end date must maintain full time enrollment for the duration of the AT and the employment must not delay program completion. 

Students authorized for Academic Training after their program end date must maintain their J-1 status and continue to abide by certain J-1 regulations, including:

  • Continue to report U.S. residential address ISSA within 10 days of any change (via ISSAlink)
  • Continue to monitor communications from ISSA
  • Work only for the employer and at the location authorized on your DS-2019 form
  • Apply for extensions of the Academic Training authorization on form DS-2019 before the expiration of the current authorization period
  • Maintain the required health insurance coverage for the J-1 and all J-2 dependents for the duration of the Academic Training period
  • Depart the United States or apply to change immigration status within 30 days of the completion of Academic Training
  • Report changes to status or permanent departures via ISSAlink

Important Notes

Though we encourage J-1 students to reach out to the ISSA team when completing the Academic Training request form, we advise that they review the information above and below to address the most frequently asked questions.

  • There is no fee to apply for AT
  • A student may have multiple employers while on AT
  • A separate application must be filed and approved for each employer and activity prior to the beginning the employment
  • Students may not return to the United States for Academic Training if they do not obtain employment authorization for Academic Training prior to their departure after the program end date listed on their DS-2019.
  • The student should not begin working until they receive confirmation of the authorization from ISSA AND the start date has been reached 
  • A letter, signature or verbal approval from another campus office—such as Center for Career Development or an academic advisor - DOES NOT constitute employment authorization for immigration purposes.