J-1 Academic Training

Academic Training is a period of authorized, off-campus employment* directly related to a student’s field of study. J-1 students may participate in Academic Training either before or after graduation

*The term “employment” encompasses both paid positions as well as unpaid internships. Volunteering (defined as donating time with an organization whose primary purpose is charitable or humanitarian in nature, without remuneration or any other type of compensation) does NOT require work authorization.
NOTE: J-1 students sponsored by another program (i.e Fulbright, CONACYT, etc.) should contact their program sponsors regarding academic training eligibility requirements.

Attend a Academic Training Workshop for more information!

Available dates at: Academic Training Workshops

Academic Training (AT) Eligibility

  • Open to J-1 degree-seeking and Education Abroad Program (EAP) students
  • Must be in valid J-1 status and have a valid passport and DS-2019
  • Must have completed at least one quarter in J-1 status
  • Can be used for paid or unpaid internships or jobs off-campus
  • Can be used before or after completion of program
    • Pre-completion AT can be part-time during the academic year (fall, winter, and spring quarters) or full-time in the summer. Students on pre-completion AT are required to enroll as full-time students during the academic year.
    • Post-completion AT can be part-time or full-time
    • Part-time employment is still counted on a full-time basis when calculating the duration of your AT  (e.g., 6 months of work at 20 hours per week is still counted as 6 months of AT used, not 3 months of AT used)
  • Must have a job offer in hand BEFORE applying for AT
  • Employment must begin within thirty (30) days of the program completion date (for post-completion AT). However, time authorized for AT will begin counting the day after program completion.
  • Allows for more than one job at a time, as long as all are related to the student’s field of study and separate AT request forms are submitted.
  • IMPORTANT: If you have received a recommendation for a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement, you are NOT eligible for an extension of your DS-2019 to participate in post-completion AT. However, you may still participate in pre-completion AT.

Duration of Academic Training

  • Available for a total of eighteen (18) months or for a period equal to the length of the study program, whichever is shorter.
    • Example: if you are on a 6-month program, then you are eligible for only 6 months of AT. If you are in a 24-month graduate program, then you are eligible for only 18 months of AT.
  • Post-completion PhD students in J-1 status are allowed to apply for a maximum total of thirty-six (36) months of AT. Students may apply for an extension at any time before the expiration of their initial 18 months of AT.

Application Process & Timeline

Because it takes the International Students & Programs Office at least 10 days to process Academic Training requests, please turn in your request to the International Center before beginning employment. Applications must be submitted to the International Students & Programs Office before the program completion date:

  • Undergraduate Students/EAP Students: Last day of the quarter
  • Graduate Students: Filing date of thesis/dissertation with UCSD Office of Graduate Studies

□ STEP #1: Attend a J-1 Employment Workshop.

□ STEP #2: Meet with your academic or department advisor regarding your plans. If you are an EAP student, please meet with an International Student Advisor.

□ STEP #3: Gather all documents for the Academic Training application package.

□ STEP #4: Submit Academic Training package to the UCSD International Students & Programs Office for review. Allow 10 working days for processing. The International Students & Programs Office will issue a new DS-2019 and Employment Authorization Letter.

□ STEP #5: DO NOT begin employment until you receive the updated DS-2019 and employer verification letter; once received, show your DS-2019 and Employment Authorization to your employer to verify your work authorization in the USA.

Application Requirements

To apply for academic training, you must submit the following to the International Students & Programs office at least 10 business days before the end date on your DS-2019.

□ Complete the Academic Training Recommendation Form.

  • EAP students: Ask your UCSD college academic advisor
  • Undergraduate or GLI students: Ask your UCSD college academic advisor or program coordinator 
  • Graduate students: Ask your department chair

□ Obtain a job offer letter. Employment start date must be within 30 days of completing your program.

□ Print and submit a copy of your Academic History from Tritonlink to the International Center

Some students may need to submit the following:

□ Written verification (a screenshot or print-out) of your major at your home university (EAP students only)

□ DS-2019 Request Form to extend your stay in the USA (for students applying for post-completion Academic Training)

□ Updated Health Insurance Memorandum of Understanding (for students applying for post-completion Academic Training)

□ Current bank statement or financial support letter from sponsor (for students applying for unpaid employment or post-completion Academic Training)

Academic Training Approval

Students approved for academic training will receive an updated DS-2019 showing Academic Training Approval and an employment authorization letter. Both the letter and DS-2019 will show the duration of your academic training approval based on your application and job offer letter.

Extending your Academic Training

To extend Academic Training, please do the following and allow 10 days for processing:

  • Submit an updated Academic Training Application Form to the International Center at least 30 days prior to your current authorization end date.
  • Attach an updated job offer letter to your application form (if applicable) 

NOTE: If you have received a recommendation for a waiver of the two year home residence requirement, you are NOT eligible for an extension of your DS-2019.

Travel and Reentry While on Academic Training

Students on post-completion Academic Training are still in J-1 student status. To reenter the USA, you must have:

  • Current passport that is valid up to six months after reentry date
  • Current J-1 visa
  • Current DS-2019 with valid travel signature on page 1
  • Original employment authorization letter issued by the UCSD International Students & Programs Office
  • Original job offer letter or verification of employment from employer

When you receive Academic Training, you are extending your J-1 student status in the USA. It does not include an extension of your J-1 visa. Students will need to apply for a J-1 visa renewal if they plan to travel outside of the USA and their current visa has expired. 

IMPORTANT: Students with expired visas on post-completion Academic Training may find it extremely difficult to renew their J-1 visa for academic training purposes. You are required to establish non-immigrant intent every time you apply for a non-immigrant visa. Speak with an ISPO advisor before planning a trip abroad while on AT.

Maintaining Status While on Academic Training

SEVIS Reporting Requirements

While on Academic Training, you are in J-1 student status and must continue to report certain information about your stay. Please contact the UCSD International Students & Programs Office within 10 business days if you:

  • Change your name
  • Change your address in the USA
  • Complete your training early
  • Enroll in a new degree program or transfer to another academic program
  • Decide to return home permanently
  • Complete and submit the Post-Academic Training Report at the end of your Academic Training 

Changing Employers

If changing employers while on AT, there cannot be a gap in employment dates. After your current employment has ended, your next employment must start the following day.

Enrolling in Classes

Students on post-completion Academic Training are not allowed to pursue a full course of study with a degree or certificate objective. Gaining admission to another school in the USA or enrolling full-time will end your Academic Training period because your SEVIS record will be transferred to the new school. However, students can enroll in classes that are incidental (i.e. one or two classes) as long as their primary purpose in the USA continues to be full-time employment.

Health Insurance, SSN, & Taxes

Health Insurance

As a J-1 student, you are required to have adequate health insurance during your stay in the USA. If you will be continuing with AT beyond the end of your UC SHIP coverage, please contact your employer or a health insurance provider directly for information regarding their policies and rates.

Spring graduates only: If you are enrolled in the UC SHIP for spring quarter and complete your academic program in the spring quarter, you are eligible for continued coverage through the summer, up to the start of fall quarter.

Social Security Number (SSN)

All persons must have a Social Security number to be employed in the USA. This is not the Campus ID number assigned by UCSD. To apply for a Social Security number, you will need to present a valid passport, I-94, DS-2019, employment authorization letter from the International Students & Programs Office to any local Social Security office. The nearest offices to UCSD are located in Kearny Mesa or downtown San Diego. Visit www.ssa.gov to find the nearest Social Security office to you.


Students in J-1 status are exempt from Social Security tax (FICA), however they are generally subject to federal and state income taxes. Tax forms are available from February through April of each year. Check the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov for federal tax information and the CA Franchise Tax Board at www.ftb.ca.gov for California tax information. The International Center also provides tax support information from February through April of each year.

Completion of Academic Training

30-Day Grace Period

After completing your Academic Training period, you have a 30-day grace period to remain in the USA and:

  • Complete and submit the Post-Academic Training Report at the end of your Academic Training 
  • Prepare to depart the USA
  • Change your I-94 status
    NOTE: Notify the International Students & Programs Office by providing a copy of your I-797 Receipt Notice.
  • Transfer to another school in the USA
    NOTE: Notify the International Students & Programs Office and request a transfer of your SEVIS record to the new school.

During your 30-day grace period, you can remain in the USA, but you cannot work in the USA unless you obtain additional employment authorization under another I-94 status. Once you depart the USA, your grace period ends—even if you had time remaining. To reenter the USA, you must have a valid visa and corresponding I-94 status that corresponds with your primary purpose in the country.