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Am I eligible for Academic Training?

You are eligible for Academic Training provided that:

  1. Your primary purpose in the United States is to study and not to work
  2. You are in good academic standing and have maintained your full time registration each semester.  (Academic standing is determined upon completion of one semester of full time study.)
  3. The proposed employment is directly related to your major field of study
  4. Your J-1 Responsible Officer has approved the Academic Training in advance and in writing for the duration and type of Academic Training with a specific employer. You may apply for Academic Training before or after completion of your program of study.
What are the procedures for applying for AT authorization?

Please reference the J-1 Academic Training Handout (PDF) for Academic Training application procedures.

Can I do AT before the completion of my program?

Yes.  Academic Training authorization can be granted.  Pre-completion AT authorization would allow you to work part-time while classes are in session and full-time during vacation periods (summer, winter break, etc.)

Can I do AT after the completion of my program?

Yes.  To be eligible for Academic Training after graduation, you must provide your J-1 Responsible Officer a written offer of appropriate employment (related to your field of study and a paid position) no later than 30 days after you complete your program.

How long can I work with AT authorization?

The total amount of AT depends on the duration of time spent as a full time student. If you are enrolled as a degree candidate, you are eligible for 18 months of AT.  However, doctoral students may be eligible for 36 months of AT with the successful completion of the Ph.D. Exchange students may be eligible for the AT based on the number of months that they participated as a full time student at Brandeis. For example, a one-semester exchange is eligible for four months of Academic Training. In counting months of authorization, part-time Academic Training counts the same as full-time.

How late after graduation can I begin my AT authorized employment?

Your post-completion AT authorized employment should begin within 30 days following the completion of your program.

Can I travel while on post-completion AT?

If you plan to leave the United States after you complete your program of study and re-enter the country to do your J-1 Academic Training, you must first obtain employment authorization before you leave, otherwise, you may have trouble reentering the country.

You must also have a valid J-1 entry visa stamp (received from the U.S. Consulate) in your passport, and a valid travel signature on your DS-2019 (signed within 6 months of the planned date of re-entry), to return to the U.S.  It is common that a new J-1 entry visa stamp will need to be obtained from the U.S. Consulate while traveling abroad on AT as the previous J-1 entry visa stamp normally expires at the end of the academic program (prior to any period of post-completion AT). 

Please contact ISSO for more information on traveling while on Academic Training.

Will I need to have health insurance coverage while on AT?

The Department of State requires all J-1 visa holders (including dependents) to maintain appropriate health insurance coverage at all times while in the U.S. This includes time spent in Academic Training. 

For those of you who will be graduating, you will no longer be eligible for the student health insurance plan.  If your employer will not be providing you with coverage, the ISSO has resources in the office for short term health plans and to review the legal minimum requirements for J Visa Holders.  A few of the more popular companies are: HTH Worldwide , The Gateway Plans, T.W. Lord & Associates (1-800-633-2360), Compass, The Harbor Group.

We recommend that you review rates and plans carefully to ensure your full knowledge of the coverage.

Will I need to pay taxes while on AT?

While you are authorized to engage in Academic Training, you continue to be in J-1 status and the income you derive from Academic Training is exempt from social security taxes and withholding for social security purposes if you have been in the United States for less then two years. If you have been in the U.S. for more than two years, you will be required to pay social security taxes.

Whether or not you are liable for the payment of income taxes on income earned from practical training depends upon your individual situation and tax status.  Most J-1 students who earn income from practical training will pay federal and state income taxes. 

However, we advise that you seek the resources of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for particulars. You should consult the IRS Publication 515: Withholding of Tax on Non-Resident Aliens and Foreign Corporations and Publication 519: U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens for clarification of your tax status.  These can be found on-line at www.irs.gov.

How long can I remain in the U.S. after my post-completion AT employment?

After the end date of your Academic Training and DS-2019, you will have 30 days to do one of the following: depart the United States, transfer to another J-1 sponsor to begin a new program, begin a new program of study at Brandeis University, or to seek a change to another non-immigrant or immigrant status.

There are many factors that impact a J visa holder when completing the exchange; most notably is the two year home residency requirement and the J change of category regulations.  We strongly recommend that you meet with an ISSO staff member to review your particular situation.  Sometimes an employer is interested in extending your permission to work in the U.S. beyond the period of academic training which would require a change of visa status. 

The ISSO sponsors a free seminar each spring semester with an Immigration Attorney who will explain visa options and answer any questions that you may have.

My J-1 program sponsor is not Brandeis. Am I still eligible for AT?

If your J-1 Program Sponsor (institution/organization listed in Item #2 of the DS-2019) is not Brandeis University, you must contact your Program Sponsor to confirm if you will be eligible for Academic Training and to coordinate the process for obtaining Academic Training authorization from them.

The ISSO and Brandeis University may not authorize Academic Training for students not under our J-1 Sponsorship.

May I do an unpaid Academic Training after the completion of my program?

No.  All AT done after the completion of your program must be paid.