J-1 Academic Training

Academic Training (AT) 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.

  • AT is required for both paid positions and unpaid internships.
  • AT is NOT required for volunteering. Volunteering is defined as donating time with an organization whose primary purpose is charitable or humanitarian in nature, without remuneration or any other type of compensation.
  • J-1 students sponsored by another program (i.e Fulbright, CONACYT, etc.) should contact their program sponsors regarding Academic Training eligibility requirements

 Before Applying for Academic Training:

Check your 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
  • Must be related to your field of study
  • 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 must be a minimum of 20 hours/week
    • 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.

Determine Duration of your 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.

Review the Application Timeline

  • It takes the International Students & Programs Office (ISPO) at least 10 business days to process Academic Training requests
  • Please submit your request to ISPO at least 10 business days (2 weeks) before beginning employment.
  • Applications must be submitted to ISPO before the program completion date:
    • Undergraduate students/EAP students: completion date is the last day of the quarter
    • Graduate students: completion date is the filing date of thesis/dissertation with UC San Diego Office of Graduate Studies

Review the Application Process

  • STEP 1: Gather all documents for the Academic Training application package.
  • STEP 2: Submit Academic Training package to the ISPO for review.
  • STEP 3: Pick up an updated DS-2019 and Employment Authorization Letter at ISPO.
  • STEP 4: Begin employment AFTER you receive your updated DS-2019 and Employer Verification Letter.
  • STEP 5: Show your updated DS-2019 and Employment Verification Letter to your employer to verify your work authorization in the US.

Applying for Academic Training

Compile your AT Application

  • Submit the Academic Training DS-2019 Request in iPortal
  • Obtain a job offer letter. Employment start date must be within 30 days of completing your program.

Additionally, some students will need to submit the following:

  • Confirmation of payment for the $100 Post-Completion Academic Training Administrative Processing Fee (only if applying for post-completion Academic Training). Additionally, a $3.00 credit card processing fee may apply. Fees subject to change without prior notification.
    • For students who have not been offered a Postdoctoral Scholar position at UC San Diego for your Post Completion AT period submit payment for AT Administrative Processing fee
    • For students who have accepted Postdoctoral Scholar position at UC San Diego for your Post Completion AT, your department will pay the fee for you. Please direct your hiring department to Employing International Students for instructions for how to complete this fee payment on the postdoc's behalf.
    • NOTE: If requesting post-completion AT authorization for multiple employers at once, the $100 Post-Completion Academic Training Administrative Processing Fee must only be paid once.
  • Updated Health Insurance Requirement (only if applying for post-completion Academic Training)
  • Proof of insurance coverage OR waiver approval from Garnett-Powers & Associates, Inc.
  • Current bank statement or financial support letter from sponsor (only if applying for unpaid employment or post-completion Academic Training)

Submit your AT Application

Submit all required documents to iPortal at least 10 business days before the end date on your DS-2019

Pick up your Updated DS-2019 and Employment Authorization Letter

When ISPO approves your AT, an updated DS-2019 showing Academic Training approval and an Employment Authorization Letter will be issued to you. You will be notified by email to pick up both documents at our front desk. Alternatively, you can authorize another person to pick up your documents on your behalf by emailing us the name of this person, or you can arrange your documents to be mailed to you.

Both the letter and DS-2019 will show the duration of your academic training approval based on your application and job offer letter.

Extend your AT

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

  • Submit an updated Academic Training DS-2019 Request in iPortal at least 30 days prior to your current authorization end date.
  • Attach an updated job offer letter to your application form (if applicable) 
  • If you are only adding a new employer to an existing, authorized segment of post-completion Academic Training, you do not need to pay the $100 Post-Completion Academic Training Processing Fee again. However, if you need to extend your DS-2019 to accommodate any new post-completion Academic Training, you are required to pay this fee again.
    • You can pay the fee here: Cvent

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.

Maitaining J-1 Status during Academic Training:

Report any Employment Changes to ISPO

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 ISPO 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.

Maintain 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 refer to the Health Insurance Memorandum of Understanding instructions to purchase health insurance through Garnett-Powers & Associates, or to purchase your own and obtain a waiver.

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.

Learn about Social Security Number and Taxes

Social Security Number (SSN)

All persons must have a Social Security number (SSN) to be employed in the USA. This is not the Campus ID number assigned by UC San Diego. To apply for an SSN, you will need to present the following documents to any local Social Security office:


The nearest offices to UC San Diego 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. For basic tax guidance, please visit our Taxes page.

Travel while on Post-Completion AT

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

  • Current passport that is valid up to six months after reentry date
  • Valid J-1 visa
  • Current DS-2019 with valid travel signature on page 1
  • Original Employment Authorization Letter issued by ISPO
  • Original job offer letter or verification of employment from employer

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

IMPORTANT NOTE: Students with expired visas on post-completion Academic Training may find it 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.

Complete your AT

At the end of your Academic Training, you must complete and submit the Post-Academic Training Report to ISPO.

Furthermore, if you are completing post-completion Academic Training, you have a 30-day grace period to remain in the US and do one of the following:

  • Prepare to depart the US.
  • Change your I-94 status. NOTE: Notify ISPO by providing a copy of your I-797 Receipt Notice.
  • Transfer to another school in the US. NOTE: Notify the ISPO and request a transfer of your SEVIS record to the new school.

During the 30 days of your grace period:

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