Academic Training (AT) is a type of work authorization for J-1 students and it is issued by the Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS). The purpose of Academic Training is to provide J-1 exchange students with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in their field of study, as well as continue their cultural exchange.
*Unpaid internships/positions are considered employment and therefore require employment authorization. The only instance when working is not considered employment is humanitarian volunteering (e.g. cleaning up a road after a natural disaster). If you have any questions about whether a job requires employment authorization, please consult an advisor before engaging in the job/internship.
General Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for Academic Training, students must have been enrolled full-time at UCSB for at least one quarter, have a valid passport, DS-2019, and I-94. 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 to participate in post-completion Academic Training.
COVID-19 Guidance from the Department of State
The Frequently Asked Questions section of the Exchange Visitor Program Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19) page was updated on April 22, 2022. With regard to telework for J-1 students and scholars, it states the following:
Question: "Are J-1 exchange visitors who are in research or training programs at host organizations eligible to participate in a host organization's telework policy? What are the Department's recommendations or requirements for J-1 exchange visitors in regard to being physically onsite at their host sites?"
Answer: "As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect communities throughout the United States, some host organizations continue to offer a hybrid model (both virtual and in-person elements) by instituting telework policies for employees. Through June 30, 2023, ECA’s guidance continues to be that temporary modification of a current, active-status exchange visitor's program due to exigent circumstances beyond a sponsor’s or host entity’s control does not undermine the program’s original consistency with program regulations. ECA understands that program sponsors may need to adjust program activities to meet their obligations to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of their exchange visitors. Sponsors may pursue ways to maintain program objectives, including a limited hybrid option, of one to two telework days per week, for one more academic year, not to exceed June 30, 2023, while preventing unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. The limited hybrid option is available for the following five exchange categories' host organizations that have instituted telework policies: College/University Student (Academic Training and Student Intern), Research Scholar, Short Term Scholar, Intern, and Trainee. A fully or predominantly virtual exchange program is not permitted. Designated sponsors in those five categories have the discretion to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether J-1 exchange visitors may be eligible to participate in host organizations' hybrid telework policies provided they can successfully achieve the objectives of their exchange programs and meet the purpose of the Fulbright Hays Act of 1961 to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries."
What does this mean for J-1 students pursuing Academic Training?
From now until June 30, 2023, students pursuing Academic Training may telework for a maximum of two days per week at their job/internship. Be sure to communicate this guidance to your employer and ask your OISS advisor if you have any questions.
Types of Academic Training
1. Pre-Completion Academic Training:
Employment occurs before the academic program is complete.
Hours per week: Work cannot exceed 20 hours per week during the Fall, Winter, or Spring quarters (UCDC participation is the only exception). Students may work a maximum of 20 total hours per week, inclusive of any on campus or off campus work. For example, if a student is working on campus 10 hours per week, then they may work up to 10 hours per week on pre-completion Academic Training. Work may exceed 20 hours per week during break periods, such as Winter, Spring, and Summer breaks.
2. Post-Completion Academic Training:
Employment must begin within 30 days of the program end date/final class.
Hours per week: Work must exceed 20 hours per week.
You must receive authorization from OISS before you begin working. Standard processing time is 10 business days. For pre-completion AT, submit your application at least two weeks before your employment start date. For post-completion AT, submit your application at least two weeks before the program end date that is listed in Section 3 of the DS-2019. Once the program end date has passed, OISS can no longer extend your DS-2019 or issue an Academic Training authorization.
To Apply, Follow These Steps
- Review this information page in detail.
- Obtain a job offer. Be sure the letter includes all the information listed on this page.
- Meet with your academic advisor to discuss plans. For EAP students, academic advisor is your EAP advisor; for degree-seeking students, academic advisor is your major advisor.
- Complete the Academic Training request on UCSBGlobal. Allow 10 business days for processing.
- OISS will issue a new DS-2019 with Academic Training authorization, as well as an authorization letter. You will receive an email notification when the documents are ready to be collected.
- Submit your Academic Training Evaluation to OISS within 30 days of completion of Academic Training experience.
- Academic Training Request Form
All sections should be completed and signed
- Job offer letter
The letter must include the following:
- Company letterhead
- Company’s name and address
- Job title/position
- Description of the training program, including responsibilities, goals, and objectives
- Number of hours that will be worked per week
- Salary or specification that it is unpaid
- Specific start and end dates of the academic training
- Supervisor’s name, title, email address, and phone number
- Academic Advisor recommendation letter
The letter must include:
- Official letterhead
- Date letter was issued
- Specific end date of the student’s academic program
- Specific dates of the Academic Training and company’s name
- Explain how the training is an integral part of the student’s educational objectives and their cultural exchange
- Approval or recommendation of the proposed Academic Training with company
- Name and signature of advisor
- Proof of Health Insurance (Post-Completion AT only)
Submit one of the following (see Health Insurance Section for more information):
- Copy of Gallagher health insurance policy including coverage details and start and end date
- Copy of other health insurance policy including coverage details and start and end date with waiver provided by Gallagher
- Note: students must have health insurance coverage at all times. For example, if UC Student Health Insurance Plan (UC SHIP) coverage ends at the end of the last quarter of enrollment, the student's new non-UC SHIP coverage needs to begin the very next day
- Proof of Financial Support (Post-Completion AT only, if applicable)
Total funds must exceed $2800 USD per month. If pursuing unpaid employment, or the salary does not exceed $2800 USD per month, students must provide supplemental financial documentation. This could be in the form of a current bank statement or bank letter, no older than 3 months.
Application Materials At a Glance
Academic Training Approval
DO NOT begin employment until receiving the DS-2019 with Academic Training authorization and authorization letter written by OISS. These documents are proof of legal work authorization in the U.S. and will need to be shown to the employer.
While on AT, participants need to report any change in employment to OISS immediately. Change in name or address also need to be updated in GOLD within 10 days of the change. The Academic Training Final Evaluation form (found in UCSBGlobal) must be completed and submitted to OISS within 30 days of the end of AT authorization.
For post-completion AT, once the DS-2019 expires, students have a 30 day grace period to depart the US.