Academic Training for J-1 Exchange Visitors

As a J-1 exchange visitor, you may participate in employment that is integral to your academic program. Known as academic training, this employment may include internships, practicums, fieldwork, and more.


You may start academic training after 1 term of full-time enrollment at WSU. You can be employed during your studies and/or after completion.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Letter of recommendation
  • Current form DS-2019
  • Good academic standing
  • Firm offer of employment before completion of studies
  • Employment that is directly related to your field of study
  • Written approval in advance from your sponsor

If WSU is your sponsor, follow the instructions on this page.

If you are under the sponsorship of any other exchange visitor program, contact your sponsor for policies, application forms, and instructions.

While classes are in session

Most students who engage in academic training during the academic year do so on a part-time basis. However, a full-time academic training schedule can be arranged under some circumstances.

No matter how many hours a week you devote to academic training, you must maintain full-time registration with the university when classes are in session.

During academic vacation periods

During vacation periods (when classes are not in session), you may engage in academic training full- or part-time without being registered for full-time classes.  Enrollment in at least one credit is required.

After completing your degree

You may engage in academic training after finishing your degree. Employment must start no later than 30 days after you complete your studies.

Completion of studies is defined as the date on which all requirements for the program have been met, not when the degree is actually conferred. Authorization begins when you complete your studies, even if the employment does not begin until a later date.

Limits on academic training

Length of eligibility

The length of time you spend in academic training cannot exceed the length of time you have been enrolled full-time as a student.

  • For example, say you enroll full-time in fall semester courses, which last 4 months. Once you have completed fall semester, you would be eligible to do 4 months of academic training in the next term.

Caps on length of academic training

Your academic training cannot exceed the period of your full course of study or the number of months listed below, whichever is shorter.

  • Undergraduate students: 18 months
  • Ph.D. students: 36 months

Authorization is granted in increments of 18 months. A new form DS-2019 will be issued for each 18-month period. You must apply and receive authorization for the second 18-month period before your work authorization letter and DS-2019 expire.

If you were enrolled in another program of study in the United States immediately preceding the current one, speak with an International Student and Scholar Services advisor

Part-time employment counts the same as full-time. Training time is counted in days, regardless of the number of hours you work in a day.

  • For example, say you are eligible for a total of 18 months of Academic Training. If you were employed on a part-time basis for 1 month, a full month would be deducted from your 18-month total. If you were employed full-time, the same length of time would be deducted.

Non-degree students

If you are a non-degree student, do not assume that you are eligible for academic training. Please consult with an advisor in International Student and Scholar Services.

After your academic training expires

After your academic training expiration date, you will maintain your J-1 visa status for 30 days. This allows you time to depart from the United States or change to another visa status, if you are eligible. Employment is not permitted during this 30-day period.

Starting a new program of study

If you want to begin a new full-time program of study at any point during or following authorized academic training, follow the procedures for either of the following:

How to apply

Apply early! You must receive academic training authorization before the completion date noted on part 3 of your DS-2019 or before completion of your academic program, whichever is earlier.

You need a firm offer of employment to apply.

Required documentation

Letter of recommendation

Ask your academic department chair or academic advisor to complete the recommendation form upon submission of your request in myPassport. It must state your degree candidacy and the date you will complete your studies. It should include:

  • Goals and objectives of the specific training program
  • Description of the training program, including its location, the name and address of the training supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training
  • How the training relates to your field of study
  • Why it is an integral or critical part of your academic program


If you need a new DS-2019, you must provide documentation showing that you have sufficient funds for living expenses. Your salary from academic training employment is usually sufficient.

Employment confirmation

Ask the employer who has offered you a job to complete the Employment Confirmation form in MyPassport.

When to apply

For training during the academic year, submit documentation to the Office of International Programs International Student and Scholar Services at least 10 business days before your anticipated start date.

For training after completion of your academic program, you can submit documentation to International Student and Scholar Services up to 60 days before completing your program and before the extension of your DS-2019.

Application review

International Programs will review your application within 5 working days.

If you are authorized for academic training, WSU will issue you a new DS-2019 for the authorized period.

Beginning employment

You may begin academic training as of the date authorized by the Office of International Programs.

You will need to have valid, current documents proving your authorization before you can begin working. Be prepared to show your employer the following:

  • International Student and Scholar Services letter
  • Passport
  • Form I-94
  • Form DS-2019

International travel

Contact an International Student and Scholar Services advisor before planning a trip abroad. If you leave the United States during your authorized period of academic training, you may return for the remainder of the authorized period. However, you will need the following documentation:
  • Valid passport (Canadians may show alternative proof of citizenship
  • Valid DS-2019 that has been signed by a WSU international student advisor or your program sponsor
  • Letter from your J-1 sponsor authorizing academic training
  • Letter from your employer that you will continue working there following your trip abroad
  • Valid J-1 entry visa (except Canadians, who do not require entry visas)
If you will require a new entry visa, raise the issue with an International Student and Scholar Services advisor before planning your trip. While you are on academic training, you may not be eligible for a new entry visa. You must establish nonimmigrant intent every time you apply for a nonimmigrant visa.