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Academic Training (AT)

AT is a benefit of J-1 student status that permits off-campus work, training or other experience, either paid or unpaid, that is directly related to the student's field of study.  AT may take place either before or after completion of studies.

[Note: The following information is only for J-1 students who have a DS-2019 issued by Boston University.  If a third-party program sponsor (as stated in section 2 of your document) issued your DS-2019 for study at Boston University, you must contact that sponsor regarding AT authorization.]


To be eligible for Academic Training, J-1 students must:

  1. Be primarily in the United States to study rather than engage in Academic Training

  2. Be participating in academic training that is directly related to their major field of study as stated in section 4 of their DS-2019

  3. Be in good academic standing with Boston University; and

  4. Receive written authorization in advance from an ISSO advisor for the duration and type of academic training.

Time Limitations

The maximum period of AT that can be granted is 18 months in total.  However, if the total duration of your studies in the U.S. is less than 18 months, AT will only be granted for a period of up to the equivalent of the duration of your program (e.g. 9 months of study will only allow 9 months of AT).  Exception: Additional time for AT is allowed to the extent necessary for a J-1 student to satisfy the mandatory requirements of their degree program in the U.S.

AT is deducted at the full-time rate, regardless of how many hours you work per week.  No distinction is made for part-time work.  It is recommended that students only engage in AT part-time while classes are in session.

Additional Time for Postdoctoral Training
For post-doctoral training after completion of a U.S. doctorate degree, a period of up to 36 months of AT is permitted.  This includes any previously authorized AT, and cannot exceed the total duration of studies in the U.S.  Post-doctoral AT can only be granted up to 18 months at a time; therefore it is likely that two separate applications will be required for authorization of a long-term AT placement.

Applying for Academic Training
You must apply for AT authorization from the ISSO before you begin employment.  AT must be authorized for a specific employer, location and time period; therefore you must have a job offer at the time of application.  If there is a change of employer, job location, or dates of employment, you must reapply for AT before continuing to work.

You may request to do more than one job at the same time for AT.  However, you must submit a separate AT application to the ISSO for each placement.  Final approval of how many jobs you may do at once is up to the ISSO. 

Applying for Academic Training After Completion of Studies
It is strongly recommended that you apply for Academic Training before you complete your studies.  However, if you are unable to finalize your employment arrangements earlier, you may apply during the 30-day "grace period" granted by immigration regulations following the completion date of your studies.  You will lose your eligibility for AT if you leave the U.S. during the grace period before receiving AT authorization. 

Post-completion AT does not have to begin by the end of the grace period if the job requires you, within reason, to begin later.  However, in all cases, the eighteen months of Academic Training permitted under the regulations begins counting as of your date of completion of studies.

A new DS-2019 must be issued to extend your J-1 program to cover the post-completion AT period.  If the post-completion AT is unpaid, or the compensation is insufficient to cover living expenses during the extended program period, you must provide proof of adequate financial support from another source (e.g. family or government) before post-completion AT will be authorized.  You must also continue to maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and your dependents.

While the regulations that govern the J-1 student category do provide opportunities for employment, working without authorization is a serious violation of your immigration status.  Therefore, please consult your ISSO advisor before accepting any employment so that you can be properly advised as to your eligibility.


Boston University
February 28, 2005

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office