Other Off-Campus Employment

Academic Training (AT)

Academic Training permits a J-1 student to engage in practical training in their field of study before or after completion of studies. Internships and full-time employment experiences may both be authorized. Authorization is issued by International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), or the program sponsor, if different.


In general, you must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for Academic Training:

  • You are in good academic standing and valid J-1 status
  • The employment is directly related to the academic field of study

You must apply for Academic Training during your program of study and before the expiration date on your DS-2019.


J-1 students may be authorized for Academic Training up to the maximum allowed for their degree program. Authorizations may be given for the maximum allowed, or the duration of the J-1 program, whichever is less. The maximum durations listed below include Academic Training authorized both before and after the completion of the program.

  • Degree Level: Duration of Authorization for Pre- and Post-Completion AT
  • Undergraduate/Masters: 18 months total for both degree levels, or the duration of the program, whichever is less
  • Doctoral: 36 months total, or the duration of the program, whichever is less
  • Non-degree: 24 months total/ or the duration of the program, whichever is less

To apply for Academic Training, please review the Academic Training Packet and, once complete, submit the completed documents to ISSS.

Economic Hardship--F-1 Students

An unemployment authorization for economic hardship may be given when unforeseen circumstances beyond a student's control create a serious financial burden. Economic hardship authorizations are given by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and permits a student to engage in off-campus employment for up to 20 hours per week. Authorizations are given in one-year increments and may be renewed as needed.


In general, you must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for an Economic Hardship authorization:

  • You are currently in good academic standing and valid F-1 status
  • You have been enrolled in F-1 status for at least one academic year
  • You have made a good faith effort to locate on-campus employment
  • You must show that on-campus employment is insufficient to meet your current financial need

Unforeseen circumstances may include any of the following:

  • Loss of financial aid or on-campus employment, through no fault of the student
  • Substantial fluctuations in currency exchange rates
  • Unexpected changes in your source of financial support, such as medical bills or loss of employment

In general, eligibility is related to a change in the source of financial support originally documented in the I-20, such as family funds or scholarships.


To apply for economic hardship, you must meet with ISSS to determine your eligibility for authorization. Once an advisor has confirmed that you are eligible to apply, you can then prepare the materials needed for your application to USCIS. Your complete application packet includes:

  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization and fee payment made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Letter explaining your situation
  • Documentation supporting your case
  • Copy of your CC I-20 recommending economic hardship (issued by ISSS)
  • Copy of your F-1 visa
  • Copy of your passport ID page
  • Copy of transcript
  • Two passport-style photos
  • Copy of I-94 record
  • Letter from ISSS

Once you have prepared your completed application packet, please contact ISSS to receive mailing instructions and tracking information. USCIS can routinely take up to 90 days to process your application. Approval is NOT guaranteed and you may not begin employment unless you have received approval from USCIS. Approval will come in the form of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).


If approved, employment authorization is generally given in one-year increments. You may apply for renewal if you are still a full-time student and if the conditions underlying the original application remain in place. There is no limit on how long a student may receive this authorization.

  • You may work a maximum of 20 hours per week during the school year, full-time (over 20 hours per week) during vacation periods
  • Economic hardship employment authorization is not limited to employment in your field of study -- you may accept any type of lawful employment once you have received your approval
  • You may not start employment until the start date on your EAD card. You must stop employment by the expiration date or by the date you finish your studies, whichever is earlier
  • You must remain a full-time student and make progress toward degree completion while on Economic hardship work authorization
  • If you transfer to another institution, your work permission becomes invalid as of the date of the transfer

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/17/2020