Academic Training Authorization for J-1 Exchange Visitors
J-1 Academic Training (AT) provides J-1 Student Exchange Visitors with the opportunity to gain practical experience in their academic field of study. AT is authorized by your J-1 program sponsor and does not require further authorization from the Departments of Homeland Security or State. In most cases, Middlebury ISSS has issued your Form DS-2019 and is therefore your J-1 program sponsor. ISSS Advisors will also serve as your J-1 Responsible Officers, thus being able to evaluate your documents and authorize you for AT. If your DS-2019 was not issued by Middlebury College, and if you are uncertain how to reach your J-1 Responsible Officer, ISSS can assist you.
AT is available during your academic program and /or upon its completion. The following eligibility criteria must be met:
- Your Form DS-2019 must be unexpired; thus, you must apply for AT prior to completion of a course of study.
- You are in the U.S. in J-1 Student visa status.
- You must be in good academic standing.
- The proposed training (internship, research, etc.) must be directly related to your field of study.
- You must maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and any J-2 dependents throughout your AT.
AT may be authorized for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training within the following limitations:
- The AT is approved by both your Academic Advisor and your Responsible Officer.
- For degree-seeking students: AT may not exceed the amount of time it took for you to complete your full course of study or 18 months, whichever is shorter.
- For non-degree seeking students: AT may not exceed the amount of time you’ve spent engaged in academic studies. The total duration of a non-degree program, including academic study and training, may not exceed 24 months.
- Both part-time and full-time employment count against your total available AT time.
If you are applying for AT upon completion of your program of study, please note that:
- Any prior periods of AT will be deducted to determine your total available AT time.
- Unpaid AT is permissible if you are able to prove that you have adequate financial support, such as funding from your home government or adequate personal funds. This support must be approved by your J-1 program sponsor before you can engage in unpaid AT.
- Obtain an offer letter from a prospective employer related to your field of study. This will need to be shared with both your Academic Advisor and ISSS. A sample letter can be found on the ISSS website. This letter should be printed on official company letterhead with an original signature and contain the following information:
- The start and end dates of your training.
- The number of hours to be worked per week.
- The name, address and phone number of your training supervisor.
- Salary information.
- A brief description of the work to be performed, including the location of the training.
- Meet with your Academic Advisor at Middlebury to complete the Letter From Academic Advisor For Academic Training Form. Submit this to ISSS.
- Schedule an appointment with ISSS and bring the following additional documents:
- Form DS-2019
- Valid passport
- J-1 visa
- Form I-94 (this may be an electronic printout or paper card)
- Proof of health insurance for yourself and any dependents.
- After reviewing these documents and determining the amount of time you’re eligible to participate in AT, ISSS will issue a letter authorizing you for AT and update your Form DS-2019 as needed.
You may begin engaging in AT as of the date it is authorized by ISSS and continue to participate as long as your Form DS-2019 remains valid. This AT authorization is employer specific; therefore, you must request new AT authorization (using the application process above) if you change employers.
Travel and Reentry
If you plan on leaving the United States after you complete your program of study and reenter the country for J-1 Academic Training, you must obtain employment authorization before you leave. Otherwise, you may experience difficulty when attempting to reenter.
If you wish to depart the United States during your authorized period of AT, you may return for the remaining authorized period provided you have all of the following documents to present at the Port of Entry:
- A valid passport
- A valid Form DS-2019 that has been properly endorsed.
- A valid J-1 visa
- A letter from your J-1 sponsor authorizing AT
- A letter from your current employer explaining you are returning to the U.S. to continue working following your trip abroad
The completion of your AT is followed by a 30-day grace period during which time you may either depart the United States, transfer to another institution or change to another status. Employment is not allowed during this 30-day grace period.
Questions? Please visit ISSS in Carr Hall or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.