Academic Training (AT) is a work authorization that allows J-1 students to gain practical experience in their major or program. With AT, J-1 students can participate in a paid or unpaid internship, practicum, training, or employment. AT may be used during a student’s program, or after the completion of a student’s course of study.
Students with a DS-2019 issued by a sponsor other than W&M (e.g., Fulbright) must apply for AT with their program sponsor directly.
steps for applying for AT
Eligibility & Duration
The total amount of AT cannot exceed the time spent in your academic program in J-1 status.
Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Non-degree (exchange) students: Eligible for a maximum of 18 months of AT or the length of your program in J-1 status, whichever is shorter. This includes any prior AT done in the U.S.
Bachelor’s and Master’s students pursuing a STEM degree may be eligible for up to 36 months of AT. Non-degree (exchange) students are not eligible for the STEM extension. For more information, visit the Department of State website, or contact ISSP.
Ph.D. students: Eligible for up to 36 months of AT for post-doctoral positions. This 36 months includes any prior AT done at previous degree levels.
Employment must be related to the student's field of study and authorized prior to the beginning of work.
Non-degree (exchange) students: Employment must be related to two or more of the classes you took during your most recent semester at W&M.
Student must have the recommendation of their academic advisor.
Non-degree (exchange) students: You must receive a recommendation from Nasha Lewis.
Volunteering & Unpaid Internships
You are not required to obtain work authorization to engage in legitimate volunteer activities. 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.
Post-Program Academic Training
Students must apply for AT within 30 days of their DS-2019 expiration date. The employment must also begin within 30 days of the DS-2019 expiration date.
Students engaging in unpaid or low paid AT after the end of their W&M program must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to cover living expenses for themselves and any J-2 dependents.
Gaps in employment are not allowed on AT. If you plan to switch jobs, and want to keep using your AT, make sure that you have a new job arranged beforehand.
Request AT in iStart at least two weeks before your employment begins.
For Post-Program AT, request AT before your DS-2019 expiration date to maintain legal status.
Do not work past the expiration of your AT. If you wish to continue work beyond the expiration of your AT, you must apply for an extension before the authorization expires.
Step 1: Meet with your academic advisor to discuss how your proposed internship/employment relates to your academic program. Inform your academic advisor that they will need to complete a portion of your AT application form before ISSP can approve your request.
Step 2: Once offered a job, obtain a job offer letter from the prospective employer. The offer letter must be on a company letterhead or from an official company email account. The letter must include:
Name of company/organization
A brief description of work to be performed.
Location of work (street address, city, state, zip code)
Employment start and end dates
Number of hours of work per week
Salary information (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 theAcademic Training Application Form. After submitting, your academic advisor will receive an email with a link to an online form that they must complete before ISSP can approve your AT.
Your advisor will need to report specifics of your academic training (such as work location and number hours), so please provide them with a copy of your offer letter, as discussed in Step 2 above.
Step 4: Allow at least two weeks for ISSP to process your request. You will receive an email from ISSP when your AT application is approved, and your documents have been issued. You will receive a new DS-2019 and an authorization letter from ISSP.
Do not begin working until your AT is approved and your start date has arrived.
If you wish to continue work beyond the expiration of your AT, you must request an extension before it expires. AT is not granted retroactively.
Working outside of your AT authorization dates (even for one day!) is a violation of J-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.
Academic Training Evaluation
Once your Academic Training ends, you are required to complete an Academic Training Evaluation in iStart. In this evaluation, you will share your experience on AT and how it contributed to the learning outcomes from your academic program at William & Mary.