Academic Training (AT)
Academic Training 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; also, under certain circumstances, you may work full-time, for example while you are writing a thesis. For advice and for further information, please consult your international Student Advisor.
Your J-1 Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO)
To qualify for Academic Training, you must first obtain approval in writing from the Responsible Officer or Alternate Responsible Officer (RO/ARO) who represents your J-1 program sponsor and issues your Forms DS-2019. He or she must evaluate the proposed employment in terms of your program of study and your individual circumstances, and then decide whether it would be appropriate or not. If your J-1 sponsor is the University of Miami, you must apply at International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). If your J-1 sponsor is an agency (such as LASPAU, IIE/Fulbright, etc.), and if you are uncertain how to reach your J-1 RO/ARO, your ISSS advisor can help you find out how to contact your J-1 RO/ARO, but has no authority to grant employment permission to you.
The Application Procedure
- You are in the United States primarily to study rather than to engage in Academic Training.
- The proposed academic training must be directly related to your major field of study at the school listed on your Form DS-2019.
- You must be in good academic standing at the school listed on your Form DS-2019.
- Throughout your Academic Training, you must maintain your J-1 status and apply for extensions as necessary.
- You must maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and any J 2 dependents throughout your Academic Training.
- Limitations - General
- Your employment may be authorized for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training, provided that the amount of time is approved by both the academic dean or advisor and the RO/ARO. It may not exceed the period of full course of study or 18 months, whichever is shorter. If you receive a Ph.D., your post doctoral training may last as long as 36 months. Note that this 36-month training is available only for postdoctoral training under the supervision of an academic or research institution. It may not be used for general employment after completion of studies.
- Part time employment for Academic Training counts against the 18 or 36 month limit the same as full time employment.
- Earning more than one degree does not increase your eligibility for Academic Training.
- After Completion of your Program of Study
- Academic Training approved after completion of your program must be reduced by any prior periods of Academic Training.
- Academic Training following completion of your program of study must involve paid employment.
- Whether the other items in the application are ready yet or not, you must obtain a written offer of appropriate employment and present a copy to your J 1 RO/ARO no later than 30 days after the end of your program, or you will lose eligibility for Academic Training after completion.
- If you plan to leave the United States after you complete your program of study and reenter the country for J 1 Academic Training, you must obtain Academic Training authorization before you leave the U.S. If you do not obtain such authorization, you will have trouble reentering the U.S.
If you want to apply for Academic Training, you need to take the following steps:
- Obtain a letter of employment offer from your prospective employer that includes your job title, a brief description of the goals and objectives of your Training program (your employment), the dates and location of the employment, the number of hours per week, and the name and address of your training supervisor. Make sure that your employer's letter includes all of these details.
- Give a copy of your employer's letter to your academic advisor or dean for use in writing to your J-1 RO/ARO recommending the Academic Training. According to the text of the regulation, your advisor's letter must set forth:
Your advisor must also approve your Academic Training for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training.
- The goals and objectives of the specific Academic Training program;
- A description of the training program, including its location, the name and address of the training supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training;
- How the training relates to the student's major field of study; and
- Why it is an integral or critical part of the academic program of the student.
- When your academic advisor's recommendation is ready, provide the following application documents to ISSS:
Upon receipt of all required application materials, your J-1 RO/ARO must evaluate the Academic Training program and decide whether it is warranted and appropriate. If so, he or she will provide you with a letter of approval and an updated Form DS-2019. To authorize post-doctoral training, your J-1 RO/ARO will issue an updated Form DS-2019 for no more than 18 months at a time.
- Academic Training Request Form;
- Your original Form DS-2019;
- Your original Form I-94;
- Copy of passport pages (biographic data, photo, J-1 visa, and passport page with last entry stamp);
- A copy of your letter of employment offer;
- Your academic advisor's or dean's recommendation for Academic Training.
Authorization to work
A 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. Take your passport (if you are Canadian you may use another form of photo-bearing identification), Form I-94 Departure Record card, your Form DS-2019, and your J-1 RO/ARO letter of approval to an office of the Social Security Administration.
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 (or other photo-bearing identification if you are Canadian), Form I-94 Departure Record, Form DS-2019, and your J-1 RO/ARO letter of approval. Your employer, who keeps Form I-9, will make copies of the documents you submit, and return the originals to you. Form I-9 must be updated any time that you receive a renewal of your permission for Academic Training.
Health insurance through United Health Care
International students who are no longer enrolled at the University but remain in the United States to engage in post-completion J-1 Academic Training (AT) may still be insured under the Student Insurance policy if they originally purchased a plan that continues beyond the completion of their studies. To verify the termination date of your insurance plan, please call (800) 436-7709 or log on to www.myuhc.com. If your insurance is no longer in effect, you may enroll for continued insurance.
Enrollments for OPT students for 2014-2015 will be done via Wells Fargo Insurance Services.
- Complete the appropriate enrollment form and mail or fax to:
10940 White Rock Road, 2nd Floor
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
Fax: (877) 612-7966
- Enrollments can also be taken by phone by calling Wells Fargo Insurance Services at (800) 853-5899. Customer care representatives are available Monday – Friday, 8am-5pm (PST).
- Once your request is processed (approximately 3 weeks after sending the form), you will receive the insurance card in the mail. Once payment is accepted and enrollment has been competed, you will be able to print a temporary card at www.myuhc.com . You will need your United Healthcare subscriber number which can be obtained by calling (800) 436-7709. Please refer to group # 709872 when calling to obtain your subscriber number.
- Wells Fargo Insurance Services will verify your eligibility with the Office of International Students and Scholar Services, and if unable to verify will return any paid premium. (requires Form DS-2019 for J-1 students).
- Wells Fargo Insurance Services will notify you only if there is an issue with the form or if you are denied by sending you a cancellation letter and payment will be returned.
Social Security and other Taxes
Social Security Taxes.
Although insurance coverage can continue during Academic Training, access to the Student Health Service is limited to enrolled students. Expenses incurred off-campus will be subject to deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance. Please review the United Healthcare schedule of benefits for information on benefits, exclusions and limitations of coverage or contact the Student Health Service at email@example.com for additional information.
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 Service 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 15 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 are entitled to a refund.
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 to consult International Student and Scholar Services prior to starting any kind of employment.