Academic Training (AT) is a type of paid or unpaid, authorized employment for J-1 students. It may be taken during a student's program, of after the completion of a student's course of study (e.g., for internships, practica, post-graduation employment).
Rules and Regulations
- Bachelor's, Master's and Non-degree (exchange) students are eligible for a maximum of 18 months on AT. Students may be granted only as many months AT as they have completed in their studies. Students who complete Ph.D. programs are eligible for up to 36 months of Academic Training (AT) for post-doctoral positions. Students may be granted only as many months AT as they have completed in their studies.
- Employment must be related to the student's field of study and authorized prior to the beginning of work. For undergraduate exchange students, your employment must be related to two or more of the classes you took during your most recent semester at William & Mary.
- Student must have the recommendation of their academic advisor. For undergraduate exchange students, this is Nasha Lewis.
- Students whose DS-2019 is issued by a sponsor other than W&M (such as Fulbright) must apply for AT from the program sponsor. Students transferring from an institution in the U.S. may request AT even before the end of their first semester if they were in good academic standing and have the recommendation of their academic advisor or if the program requires it.
- If the student wishes to engage in unpaid or low paid AT after the end of their program at W&M, he/she must demonstrate that he/she has sufficient funds to cover living expenses for him/herself and any J-2 dependents. Required funding amounts will match living expense requirements for F-1 graduate Arts & Sciences students; see Financial Certification for details. Funding amounts are listed in 9 month increments, but amounts can be pro-rated for the amount of academic training you will do.
Example: If the funding amount is listed as $15822, and you wish to do 2 months of academic training, divide $15822 by 9 months, and multiply this total ($1645.44) by 2 months. In this example, you would need to show $3290.88 of financial support for 2 months of academic training.
- While on AT, students must continue to have health insurance that meets the J-1 insurance requirements to comply with federal law.
- To be eligible for AT, you must have a job offer, and a job that's set to begin within 30 days of graduation. We must have processed your AT application before you graduate.
- Unfortunately, no job gaps are allowed while on AT, if you are using AT after you graduate. So if you plan to switch jobs, and want to keep using your AT, make sure that you have a new job arranged.
- Apply for AT at least two weeks before beginning work.
- Apply for AT before your program ends (the end date on your DS-2019) to maintain legal status.
- Follow the process below to receive AT authorization.
How to Apply
Step 1: Meet with your academic advisor to discuss if and how your proposed employment might relate to your program.
Step 2: Once offered a job, get written confirmation from the prospective employer. The job offer letter must be on company letterhead or from an official company email account and must include:
- name of company/organization
- title of position
- brief description of duties
- location of work (address)
- start and end dates of employment, and number of hours of work per week.
- supervisor's name
- salary (if any)
If some of this information is not included in the original offer letter or email, an email from the employer with the additional information is also acceptable.
Step 3: Complete the AT Application Form. Before submitting, be sure your academic advisor is aware of your internship and plans, as they will receive an email with a link to an online form that they must complete before we can approve your AT. Allow at least one week before starting work for processing.
Authorization for AT is noted directly on a new DS-2019 and authorization letter, and you will receive an email once it is ready.
- Do not begin working until your AT is approved and you reach the start date. If you wish to continue work beyond the expiration of your AT, you must apply to extend it before it expires. AT is NOT granted retroactively.
- Working at a AT position at any time outside the authorized AT period (even for 1 day!) is a violation of F-1 status and your immigration record will be terminated. You may be required to leave the U.S. and your future employment eligibility and academic program may be impacted.
Volunteering and Unpaid Internships
You are not required to obtain work authorization to engage in bona fide (legitimate) volunteer activities or unpaid internships. However, if possible, we recommend that you apply for AT if you are engaging in an unpaid internship. Please see our page on Volunteering and Unpaid Internships for more information.