Academic Training

Academic Training for J-1 students

As a J-1 student, you may be able to receive authorization for certain opportunities—paid or unpaid—in your field of study (for example, internships, practica, or fieldwork).

Academic Training needs to be an integral part of your overall academic goals. It may be done part time or full time, before or immediately after you graduate.

When should I apply for Academic Training authorization?

You need to apply for and receive Academic Training authorization before you begin your opportunity. If you have completed a program of study, Academic Training needs to be granted no later than the end of your 30-day grace period.

This means you need to apply for Academic Training authorization at least two weeks before you need to begin, and no later than two weeks after completing your program.

Am I eligible for Academic Training authorization?

To participate in an opportunity with Academic Training authorization, the opportunity needs to be in your field of study, recommended by your academic advisor, and authorized in writing by the Office of International Services (OIS) before you begin.

To be eligible for authorization, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Your DS-2019 is valid.
  • You are in good academic standing.
  • You currently have and will maintain health insurance for yourself and all J-2 dependents consistent with the federal guidelines for J-1 students.
  • You currently have an offer for training (either paid or unpaid) that is directly related to your field of study and is an integral/critical part of your academic program.
  • You submit a Academic Training form in Atlas at least two weeks before you begin, and no later than two weeks after the end of your program of study.

How do I get authorization for Academic Training?

You may apply for Academic Training authorization from OIS via Atlas (if IU issued your DS-2019).

You will be asked to:

  • Provide information about your prospective training opportunity.
  • Upload a letter from the prospective employer, on company/institution letterhead, stating:
    • The duties of the training opportunity
    • The name of the supervisor
    • The location (street address, city, state, and zip code) where the employment will occur
    • Specific start and end dates
    • The number of hours of work per week
    • The salary amount of the proposed opportunity - if any
  • Confirm information about your health insurance.
  • Provide your academic advisor with a copy of your offer letter.

Your authorization will take the form of a letter and new DS-2019 authorizing your employment under Academic Training.

Note: The letter and new DS-2019 authorizing you for Academic Training states the specific employer, dates, and location of training. If there are any changes to the training or you wish to work for a new employer, you need to complete the entire application process again, and you need to have the new authorization before beginning the new opportunity.

What are the rules I need to follow to stay legally employed?

Report any of the following to OIS within 10 days of the occurrence:

  • Your address changes. Report these through Atlas.
  • You leave your Academic Training position. Email us at to let us know.

Most J-1 students are eligible for up to 18 months of Academic Training. However, the total Academic Training period may not exceed the amount of time spent in the full course of study. An additional 18 months may be possible for those who pursue and complete a Ph.D. program.

Eligibility for nondegree students

Nondegree students will be eligible for fewer than 18 months of Academic Training. As a nondegree student, you are only eligible to be in J-1 status for a total of 24 months—this includes your period of study and any Academic Training. If you are a nondegree student who has studied for two semesters at IU, you will be eligible for the equivalent of two semesters’ worth of Academic Training authorization.

Structuring your Academic Training

Academic Training may be taken in one period after completion of your program, or you may divide it by doing some in the summers, some while you are still taking classes and the remainder after graduation. If you obtain permission for six months of Academic Training during or after a bachelor’s degree and continue to study in a master’s program that is 18 months or longer, you will be eligible only for another 12 months of Academic Training in connection with your master’s degree.

Can I travel outside the United States while on Academic Training?

Yes. While traveling on Academic Training, you are advised to carry the following:

  • Your DS-2019, signed for travel (remember that each travel signature is valid for 12 months from the date that it was signed, unless the period of Academic Training expires first)
  • Your valid J-1 visa stamp
  • Your passport, valid for at least six months from the date of re-entry into the United States
  • Your offer/confirmation letter

Traveling while on Academic Training after completion of your program of study can present challenges. If your J-1 visa stamp is expired, OIS recommends that you not travel outside of the United States while you are on Academic Training authorization.