J-1 Employment

J-1 students are eligible for certain types of employment both on- and off-campus. Please refer to the links below for guidance in how to legally pursue employment in the U.S. while in J-1 status. Do not engage in any kind of employment until you are certain you have authorization.

On-Campus Employment

J-1 students may be employed at most on-campus jobs after requesting student employment permission from ISSS.  The employment must occur on the premises of the University and may not exceed 20 hours per week during the Fall and Spring semesters.  However, full-time (more than 20 hours per week) on-campus employment is allowed during the summer between semesters of study, and when classes are not in session during winter and spring breaks.

Important Note 

J-1 students who withdraw from classes, or who have otherwise failed to maintain status, must discontinue on-campus employment immediately.

If You Have a DS-2019) Not Issued by Florida International University 

If a J-1 program sponsor other than Florida International university has issued your DS-2019 (as noted in section 2 of your document), you must provide ISSS with a letter from your program sponsor that permits you to work on-campus at Florida International University.  Until you provide such a letter, or your document already specifies on-campus employment is required for your studies (e.g. Graduate Teaching /Research Assistants), you will not be permitted to accept on-campus employment.

Employment After Completion of Academic Program 

J-1 students who have completed their academic program are no longer eligible to work on campus, unless they have been issued and have processed a new DS-2019 to begin a new program and are registered for the next semester of study at Florida International University.  Otherwise, they may only continue working under Academic Training that is authorized by ISSS (or other sponsoring agency listed in section 2 of their DS-2019) for employment that is related to their field of study.

Off-Campus Employment

J-1 students may engage in off-campus employment under the options specified below.  You may not begin employment off-campus before obtaining written authorization from the ISSS.  Please contact your ISSS advisor if you have questions about any of the following options:

Academic Training (AT)

Degree-seeking J-1 students at FIU may participate in off-campus training that is directly related to their major field of study.  AT may take place both during study and after completion of studies.  However, there are time limitations as to when AT may begin and how long it may last.

AT is a benefit of J-1 student status that permits off-campus work, training or other experience, either paid or unpaid, that is directly related to the student’s field of study.  AT may take place either before or after completion of studies.

Non-degree-seeking exchange students (participating in exchanges through the Office of Study Abroad) are NOT permitted to engage in any Academic Training.

Note: The following information is only for J-1 students who have a DS-2019 issued by Florida International University.  If a third-party program sponsor (as stated in section 2 of your document) issued your DS-2019 for study at Florida International University , you must contact that sponsor regarding AT authorization.

Eligibility

To be eligible for Academic Training, J-1 students must:

  1. Be primarily in the United States to study rather than engage in Academic Training,
  2. Be participating in academic training that is directly related to their major field of study as stated in section 4 of their DS-2019,
  3. Be in good academic standing with Florida International University; and
  4. Receive written authorization in advance from an ISSS advisor for the duration and type of academic training.

Time Limitations 
The maximum period of AT that can be granted is 18 months in total.  However, if the total duration of your studies in the U.S. is less than 18 months, the period of AT will only be granted for as long as the duration of your program (e.g. 9 months of study will only allow 9 months of AT).  Exception: Additional time for AT is allowed to the extent necessary for a J-1 student to satisfy the mandatory requirements of their degree program in the U.S.

AT is deducted at the full-time rate, regardless of how many hours you work per week.  No distinction is made for part-time (20 hours or fewer per week).  Students may only engage in AT part-time while classes are in session.

Additional Time for Postdoctoral Training 
For post-doctoral training after completion of a U.S. doctorate degree, a limit of up to 36 months of AT is allowed.  This includes any previously authorized AT, and cannot exceed the total duration of studies in the U.S. Post-doctoral AT can only be granted up to 18 months at a time; therefore it is likely that two separate applications will be required for authorization of a long-term AT placement.

Applying for Academic Training 
You must apply for AT authorization from an ISSS advisor before you begin employment.  AT must be authorized for a specific employer, location and time period; therefore you must have a job offer at the time of application.  If there is a change of employer, job location, or dates of employment, you must reapply for AT before continuing to work.

You are given a 30-day grace period to remain in the U.S. following the completion date of your studies.  If you wish to engage in AT after completion of your studies, you must apply before the end of your program of studies in order to extend your stay.  You will lose your eligibility for AT if you leave the U.S. before receiving AT authorization.  Therefore, it is recommended that you find an AT placement well before the end of your program of  study to allow for a timely application.

A new DS-2019 must be issued to extend your J-1 program to cover the post-completion AT period.  If the compensation for the post-completion AT is insufficient to cover living expenses during the extended program period, you must provide proof of adequate financial support from another source (e.g. family or government) before post-completion AT will be authorized.  You must also continue to maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and your dependents.

Important 
While the regulations that govern the J-1 student category do provide opportunities for employment, working without authorization is a serious violation of your immigration status.  Therefore, please consult your ISSS advisor before accepting any employment so that you can be properly advised as to your eligibility.

Application Procedures

You must meet with your ISSS advisor to apply for AT.  Please complete the following steps well in advance of the date you wish to begin employment

  1. Arrange an AT placement with an employer.  Obtain a letter(Link to SAMPLE EMPLOYER’S LETTER) describing the activity of the placement, your position, location where you will work, and the start and end dates of the training.  If the AT will take place after you complete your studies, the letter must also include salary/wages to be paid.
  2. Meet with your academic advisor or Dean to review your placement letter.  You must obtain a letter approving the AT. (Link to SAMPLE LETTER FORM ACADEMIC ADVISOR/DEAN)
  3. Schedule an appointment to meet with your ISSS advisor two to four weeks before the start of your proposed employment.  Bring the following to your appointment:
    • Employer’s Letter (Must include salary information if applying for AT after completion of studies)
    • Advisor/ Dean’s Letter
    • For academic training during studies, proof of enrollment in internship/co-op/field experience course is required if academic training is not a required part of the program.
    • Current DS-2019, and any previous DS-2019s
    • Passport and I-94 card (do not bring copies)

Important: You cannot lawfully begin employment until an ISSS advisor has approved your application and issued you a letter authorizing your Academic Training.  If your AT will take place after you complete your studies, you will also be issued a new DS-2019.  You should present this letter, along with your DS-2019 and passport, to your employer.

Economic Necessity

Students experiencing unexpected financial difficulties through circumstances beyond their control that are affecting their ability to continue studying in the United States may be eligible to obtain authorization for off campus employment. Please read the eligibility requirements carefully:

Off-campus employment permission due to economic necessity does not have to be related to a student’s field of study, but is restricted to 20 hours per week while school is in session.  However, any hours already being used during a semester toward employment under the terms of a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship, or any on-campus employment will count against this limit.

J-1 students who can establish that they are experiencing serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic circumstances which have arisen since acquiring exchange visitor status, may apply at ISSS for off-campus work permission.  Such circumstances may include: loss of financial aid or graduate funding without fault on the part of the student, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student’s source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.

After work permission is granted, a J-1 student is allowed to work off-campus for up to one year at a time (part-time up to 20 hours per week during the semester and full time during the summer or official university breaks).  However, the student must continue to maintain a full course of study.  Work permission becomes invalid as soon as the student interrupts or completes the academic program, is suspended or withdraws from the school, or in any way violates J-1 status.

Important: Any hours already devoted to employment under the terms of a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship, or any on-campus employment, will be deducted from the 20-hour weekly limit, except during the summer or official university breaks.  (e.g. If a student is already working on-campus 10 hours per week during the semester in the school library, only 10 hours will be allowed for Economic Necessity off-campus.)

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for work authorization due to economic necessity, you must:

  • Be in good standing as a student and be carrying a full course of study;
  • Demonstrate that acceptance of employment will not interfere with your full-time study; and
  • Demonstrate that the employment is necessary due to unforeseen economic circumstances that have arisen since acquiring exchange visitor status, and that you will otherwise be unable to continue in your program without additional means of income to supplement your funding.

Applying for Work Permission Due to Economic Necessity 
You must contact ISSS to apply for work permission due to economic necessity.  If approved, ISSS will grant authorization by issuing you an employment authorization letter.  It is illegal to begin employment before you have been authorized by ISSS.

You must meet with your ISSS advisor in an appointment in order to receive authorization to work off-campus due to economic necessity. Please prepare and bring the following items to your appointment:

  • Personal Letter – You must explain the circumstances of your financial hardship, and that they were unforeseen and beyond your control.
  • Supporting Documentation – This is necessary to prove the existence of your hardship and how it was unforeseen. (Examples: signed affidavit from sponsor(s) explaining why they can no longer provide financial support, your current budget, recent newspaper articles, medical bills, recent exchange rate reports, etc.)
  • Current Form DS-2019 and any previous DS-2019s
  • Passport and I-94 Card (do not bring copies)

ISSS Authorization 
Once your application is approved, the ISSS will give you a letter authorizing off-campus employment permission due to economic necessity.  It is illegal to begin employment before you receive authorization from ISSS. Once authorized, you may work off-campus only within the dates specified in the letter, and you must abide by the hourly restrictions while school is in session.

Renewing Work Authorization 
In order to renew work authorization due to economic necessity, you must follow the procedures above and demonstrate continued hardship.  Authorization cannot extend beyond your program of study.