OIS Processing Time: 7 business days

Application Deadline for Post Completion Academic Training (AT):

Fall Semester – December 1
Spring Semester – May 1
Post-completion AT Extensions – 1 month prior to your Academic Training end date.

Selecting a Start Date for Post Completion AT: The employment start date must begin within 30 days of the  DS-2019 end date. However, time authorized for Academic Training will begin the day after the DS-2019 end date.

Selecting an End Date for Pre Completion AT: The employment end date for pre-completion AT must be before the end date on your DS-2019. A new application must be submitted for post-completion AT.

Academic Training (AT) is a benefit given to J-1 students that allows them to gain practical experience that relates to the field of study indicated on their DS-2019. AT is approved by the Office of International Services in accordance with guidelines established by the Department of State. OIS will issue a new DS-2019 for Academic Training which outlines the type of authorization (pre or post completion) and the dates of employment.

A general condition of AT is that the student is “primarily in the U.S. to study rather than to engage in Academic Training.” Therefore, your AT should not exceed the amount of time spent studying.

  • Pre-Completion AT takes place prior to the DS-2019 end date.
  • Post-Completion AT takes place after the DS-2019 end date.

Time Limitations on Academic Training

Undergraduate & Masters: An undergraduate or masters level student can engage in up to 18 months or the period of the full course of study, whichever is less.

Doctorate: A doctoral student can engage in up 36 months of Academic Training.

Note for Pre-Completion AT: Available up to 18 months which will be deducted from the total 36 months. The remaining 18 months will be granted following the completion of the program.

Non-degree student at USC: Non-degree students are eligible to participate in post-completion academic training (after the completion of the USC academic program). The duration of the Academic Training period cannot exceed the duration of the academic program. Non-degree students are limited to a total of 24 months in the U.S. Non-degree students are restricted to complete all study and any authorized academic training within the 24-month period of eligibility.

J-1 students not sponsored by USC (For example: IIE, BSMP, etc): The Academic Training request should be submitted directly to your program sponsor, not OIS.

Academic Training Guidelines

  • As of July 1, 2023, J-1 students on Academic Training may work remotely two days out of the five-day workweek if the employer has instituted partial remote policies.
  • Paid or unpaid employment requires authorization through Academic Training
  • Part-time or full-time. Please note that all AT is counted as full time, even if employment is on a part-time basis.
  • If employed full-time it must meet the following guidelines: 1. During official university breaks (summer, winter, spring) 2. Student has completed all coursework and reached the thesis/dissertation stage 3. Student has graduated
  • Pre-completion or post-completion. AT is used to pursue practical experience in a student’s field of study before and/or after graduation. Pre-Completion AT will be deducted from the 18 or 36 months allotted.
  • Academic Training is employer-specific, meaning that students must have a job offer letter to apply. Therefore, self-employment is not permitted.
  • All AT requests must be approved by OIS before employment may begin. Students are only authorized to work for the specific AT-approved employer indicated on their DS-2019.
  • Start date must begin within 30 days of the DS-2019 end date. However, time authorized for Academic Training will begin the day after the DS-2019 end date.
  • Must have completed at least one semester on J-1 status with a USC issued DS-2019.

How to Apply for Academic Training

  1. Complete the J-1 Student Employment Request form, have it signed by your academic advisor.
  2. Attach a job offer letter on company letterhead which includes:
    •  Company name and address
    •  Job title and description (salary, if applicable), hours per week, start date and end date
    •  Supervisor’s name, phone, and email address
    • Offer letter must be signed
      • Note: If your offer letter does not indicate your start/end date, please submit an addendum from your employer to acknowledge your specific Academic Training period. Addendum must be signed and on company letterhead.Sample language: (Employer’s Name) has offered (Your Name) employment from (start date) through (end date). (Employer’s Name) recognizes that this is the authorized period of employment for Academic Training. This does not supersede the Employment at Will section of an offer letter.

DS-2019 Issuance

  • The Exchange Visitor (EV) will be emailed a digitally signed DS-2019 Academic Training work authorization. Please note that EVs are not permitted to digitally sign the DS-2019. As a courtesy, the DS-2019 will be signed for travel. Travel signatures are valid for one year.

Travelling while on Academic Training

Required documents to re-enter the U.S. while on Academic Training:

  • DS-2019 endorsed for travel; travel signature cannot be more than 6 months old
  • Valid J-1 visa
  • Valid passport
  • Students are encouraged to carry a copy of the job offer letter and latest pay stub while traveling during periods of authorized post-completion Academic Training

If a student’s J-1 visa is expired, they will need to renew it before reentering the United States. Be sure to bring all of the above listed documents in addition to the visa renewal procedures in the Visa Renewal section.