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Academic training for J-1 students is permitted at any stage of your program while you are enrolled in school or after completion of the program. You must have the approval of the academic dean or advisor and the responsible officer (RO). Your position can be for wages or other compensation, or it can be unpaid.


You must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be in the United States primarily to study rather than engage in academic training.

  • Academic training must be done with a specific employer or at a specific training site, and must be directly related to the major field of study listed on your DS-2019. A specific description of the training opportunity is required.

  • You must be in good academic standing.

  • You must receive written approval in advance from the RO for the duration and type of academic training.

Note: For students who are not sponsored by the Institute, academic training must be obtained from the J program sponsor. J program sponsors have different standards for granting academic training that may differ from those of the Middlebury Institute.

Time Limitations on Academic Training

Students in degree programs are permitted an overall limit of 18 months, inclusive of any prior academic training in the United States, before or after completion of studies. The total training period may not exceed the period of full course of study, meaning that if the period of full course of study is less than 18 months, academic training would be limited to that lesser duration.

Procedures for the Middlebury Institute sponsored J-1 students are as follows:

  • The student obtains a letter of offer for training/employment with a description of the training program, including its location, name and address of the training supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training.

  • The student's academic adviser or career manager prepares a letter of recommendation to be presented to the RO/ARO, verifying the appropriateness of the position in regard to the student's major field of study.

  • The RO/ARO evaluates the academic advisor’s/career manager’s recommendation, and determines whether academic training can be granted (a foregone conclusion based on the advisor’s/career manager’s recommendation).

  • The RO/ARO issues a written letter authorizing the specific academic training, updates the student’s SEVIS record and DS-2019, and continues to maintain the SEVIS record.

Letter of Recommendation

The student’s academic/career advisor must prepare a letter of support for the academic training approval, which contains the following:

  • The goals and objectives of the specific training program

  • A description of the training program, including its location, 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

  • Why it is an integral or critical part of the academic program of the exchange visitor student