The US Department of State advises that university policies governing J-1 off campus employment take precedence over federal regulations regarding J-1 student off-campus employment. UCSB Graduate Division policy states:
All appointments or combined appointments are limited to 50% time (an average of 20 hours a week) during the academic terms. The 50% time restriction will apply without exception for international students, dependent upon their visa type or country of origin (consult the Office of International Students and Scholars for further information). All continuing students may work 100% time during the summer, provided they were registered and paid fees for the immediately preceding spring quarter.
In an exceptional circumstance of urgent financial necessity which has arisen since acquiring J-1 student status, authorization can be given for off-campus employment. A student cannot begin work without authorization from OISS. To receive authorization you must provide the following:
In order to obtain employment authorization, you must make an appointment at OISS to see an international student advisor and bring to that meeting the documentation of your financial emergency. OISS can then issue your written authorization for off-campus work permission up to the end of the period indicated on your current DS-2019 form (item #3) or to the end of your study program.
If your J-1 sponsor is not UCSB, you must request employment authorization from the program sponsor indicated in item #2 of your DS-2019 form – i.e., International Institute of Education, US Agency for international Development, etc. You will still be limited to the 20 hour per week rule while school is in session. Additional information for UCSB sponsored J-1 students is available at OISS.