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J-1 Student Employment Options

Employment is considered to be the rendering of services for compensation, financial or other (any type of reimbursement for transportation, books, etc.). For J-1 nonimmigrant student visa holders, employment is a "benefit" for which the student must qualify and where certain rules and restrictions apply. Working in the United States without proper authorization (working without prior written authorization, working for more hours than permitted, etc.) is considered to be a serious violation of the J-1 status which may result in deportation. All students should consult directly with the Office of International Student Services (OISS) if they are considering any type of employment in the United States.

For J-1 students, there two types of employment categories available: general Student Employment, and Academic Training. Both categories are described in this handout.

Student Employment (Three Types in Total)

  • On-campus Employment (on the premises of Regent University);
  • Employment Related to Scholarships, Assistantships, and Fellowships;
  • Off-campus Employment for Unforeseen Economic Circumstances

In order to qualify for one of the three types of Student Employment listed above, the following conditions must exist:

  • The student must be in lawful J-1 immigration status and must maintain good academic standing at all times.
  • The student must continue be enrolled full-time during the fall and spring semesters.
  • Specific employment must be approved in advance and in writing from the Office of International Student Services (OISS). The "J-1 Student Employment Request and Authorization Form" can be located on the OISS website.
  • The employment must not total more than 20 hours/week during the fall or spring semesters.
  • Authorization can be only be granted for 12 months at a time.
  • Any employment authorization will be withdrawn automatically when the academic program ends or the student withdraws.
  • To qualify for Off-Campus Employment for Unforeseen Economic Circumstances, the student must be able to provide evidence that there is a "serious, urgent and unforeseen" need.
  • The 20 hour/week limit is applied cumulatively to the 3 types of Student Employment listed above. This means that a J-1 student who has written authorization to work in the library for 10 hours/week can only be granted written authorization to work for an Assistantship for an additional 10 hours/week.

Academic Training (for Paid or Unpaid work, training or internship experiences):

  • The J-1 student may apply for Academic Training at any stage of the student's academic program.
  • The student must be in lawful J-1 status and in good academic standing in order to qualify.
  • Academic Training must be done with a specific employer or training site and must be directly related to the student's major field of study which is listed on the DS-2019.
  • Authorization for Academic Training must be granted in advance and in writing from the Office of International Student Services.
  • The application takes approximately 1-2 weeks for the OISS to process once all required documents have been submitted.
  • Students who wish to apply for Academic Training must first attend an Information Session in the same semester they plan to apply for the training authorization.
  • For degree students, Academic Training generally cannot exceed 18 months or the amount of time spent on the academic program, whichever is shorter. (up to 36 months of post-doctoral Academic Training are available to students following the completion of a PhD.)
  • For non-degree students, the total training period may not exceed the amount of time spent on the full course of study. (Students in a 3 month academic program will be entitled to up to 3 months of Academic Training.)
  • All Academic Training is counted as full time. (2 months of part-time work is counted as 2 months of full-time work.)
  • Training may involve sequential or simultaneous activities, for pay or no pay, with several different employers; but a separate application must be filed and completed for each employer or training activity.
  • Health insurance coverage for the J-1 student and all J-2 dependents must be maintained during the entire duration of the Academic Training period.

J-2 Dependent Employment

  • J-2 dependents of J-1 Exchange Visitors may apply for employment authorization to work in the United States.
  • The application is completed and mailed to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by the J-2 dependent. Application instructions are available in the OISS.
  • The USCIS takes approximately 2-3 months to process the application and there is a fee involved.
  • An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) must be issued by the USCIS prior to the start of the employment.
  • Full-time authorization is granted on the EAD for one year intervals.
  • The purpose of the employment must not be to support the J-1 principle visa holder.

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