J-1 Academic Training (AT)

J-1 Academic training authorization (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 your field of study and J-1 program objective. AT may take place either before, or after completion, depending on your program of study.

The following information is only for J-1 students who have a DS-2019 issued by Boston University. If a third-party program sponsor issued your DS-2019 for study at Boston University, you must contact that sponsor regarding AT authorization.

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.

  1. Obtain a letter from the employer describing the activity of the placement, your position, location where you will work, and the start and end dates of the training. If the AT will take place after you complete your studies, the letter must also include salary/wages to be paid.
  2. After a placement is arranged, complete the student section of the form entitled “Academic Training Application for J-1 Students (Acrobat PDF File).”
  3. Meet with your academic advisor or Dean to review your placement letter and AT application form. They must sign their approval on the form only after the student section is completed.
  4. Schedule an appointment to meet with your ISSO advisor at least two weeks before the start of your proposed employment. Bring the following to your appointment:
    • Completed AT Application for J-1 Students
    • Current DS-2019 and any previous DS-2019s
    • Passport and I-94 card (do not bring copies)

    If you are applying for AT to take place after you complete your studies, also bring the following items, if applicable:

    • Placement letter from employer with salary information
    • Proof of financial support if your AT placement is unpaid or the salary is insufficient to meet all living expenses

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 meeting the J-1 minimum requirements 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.