J-1 Academic Training

What is Academic Training?

Academic Training (AT) is employment that is integral to a J-1 student's academic program.  Academic Training may occur during and/or after completion of studies.  Such training may include, but is not limited to, internships, practicum, and field work, and may be part-time or full-time.  Academic Training may also be authorized for paid or unpaid positions.

How Long is Academic Training?

Authorization for Academic Training may be granted for pre-completion (prior to completion of a degree) or post-completion (after completion of a degree) employment for a maximum of 18 months.

There are some exceptions to this rule:

  • Academic training cannot exceed the length of the student's programs classroom time.  For example, if you are in a twelve-month program, your period of AT is limited to 12 months as well.  Internships, practicum, or field work, which are a mandatory requirement for all students in your degree program, are exempted from the 18-month limit. 
  • Pre-completion AT may only be authorized for 20 hours or less while school is in session.  Part-time employment for AT is counted at the same rate as full-time AT.
  • Doctoral students may be eligible for a second 18 months of AT, for a total of 36 months of AT.  The second 18 months can only be used for post-completion AT for qualified positions such as Postdoctoral fellowships.

Eligibility for Academic Training

J-1 students wishing to apply for Academic Traning must:

  • be in good academic standing and have made satisfactory progress toward their degree objective as indicated on their Form DS-2019
  • have an official written offer for training/employment.  The training must be integral to the degree objective as indicated on the Form DS-2019
  • maintain valid J-1 documents, including a valid passport, an unexpired Form DS-2019, and an electronic I-94 record annotated "J-1 D/S."
  • maintain health insurance coverage for themselves and any J-2 dependents throughout the entire period Academic Training
  • apply prior to the start of employment
  • certify that their primary purpose in the U.S. is to study, not to work

If applying for Post-completion AT, you must:

  • submit the application within 30 days of the program completion date
  • have a formal offer of training in your field of studies

J-1 Exchange Visitors who have obtained a waiver to the two-year home residency requirement prior to the anticipated start of the training period are not eligible for Academic Training.  If the two-year home residency requirement is waived during the Academic Training period, the exchange visitor is no longer eligible for an extension of the Academic Training.

How to Apply for Academic Training


Obtain an official letter from the prospectitive employer.  The letter must contain the following information:

  • job title and a job description
  • the start and end dates of the proposed training
  • the location/training site
  • the number of hours per week of employment
  • salary offered, if the position is paid
  • the name and address of your training supervisor


Obtain a recommendation letter from your Wesleyan Academic Advisor.  This letter must be addressed to GSS and must be provided on Wesleyan letterhead.  The recommendation letter must contain the following information:

  • the goals and objectives of the specific training program
  • a description of the training (based on the letter provided by your prospective employer)
  • describe how the training is directly related to your major field of study
  • why it is an integral or critical part of your academic program


Submit the "Application Academic Training Authorization" form to GSS.  Applications for Academic Training will be reviewed and processed withing 10 business days.  The application must include the following:

  • Employer's letter
  • Advisor's letter

Applications for Post-Completion Academic Training must also include the following:

  • Evidence of financial support in the amount of at least $2,000 per month to cover living expenses
  • Evidence of health insurance coverage for the post-completion academic period.  The coverage must comply with the xxx.

Upon receipt of the completed request, GSS will evaluate your application.  If eligible, an advisor will issue a work authorization letter and issue a new DS-2019 reflecting your academic training authorization information.

J-1 students may be authorized for multiple AT positions simultaneously, but must submit a job offer and advisor's letter for each position.