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J-1 Academic Training (AT)

Academic Training is a J-1 work authorization that allows exchange students to participate in an employment experience. The employment experience must be related to the student’s field of study at Illinois State. It is the only way for J-1 students to work off-campus. The length of Academic Training a student is eligible for is 18 months or the total amount of time the student has studied at Illinois State, whichever is shorter. PhD students are eligible for a total of 36 months of AT. Students may be approved for AT during enrollment at ISU or after completing their program.

J-1 Academic Training FAQ

  • Am I Eligible for AT?
  • I have maintained my J-1 status
  • I have a job/internship offer
  • I am in good academic standing at ISU
  • I am able to prove proof of finances for the period of employment
  • I am able to maintain health insurance coverage for the period of employment
  • I have not been approved for AT in the past for more than 18 months or the total amount of time I was enrolled at ISU, whichever is shorter
  • The start date of my AT is no later than 30 days after my DS-2019 program end date
  • I will apply for AT before my DS-2019 program end date
  • How do I Apply for AT?

Step 1: Read through the information in this section of the website and determine whether you are eligible for AT. If you are unsure whether you are eligible for AT or have questions about the application process, you can meet with an International Student Advisor during walk-in hours.

Step 2: Meet with your Academic Advisor

  • Have your advisor review your offer letter
  • Discuss the employment opportunity and how this experience relates to your academic program and your main goals/objectives of this work experience. Your academic advisor will need to include this information when submitting their recommendation for Academic Training to ISSS.

Step 3: Submit an Academic Training Request in the ISSS Portal

PLEASE NOTE: If AT occurs after your program end date, proof of sufficient funds and health insurance for you and any dependents for the duration of the training period is needed.

  • Your Academic Advisor will be notified that you submitted an AT Request and will need to submit their recommendation.
  • Once all documentation and your Advisor's recommendation are on file, ISSS will begin processing your application.
  • An ISSS advisor will review your AT Request and issue you a new DS-2019 document and work authorization approval letter.

Step 4: Pick up your new DS-2019 and approval letter. You will be notified via email when your DS-2019 and letter is ready.

Step 5: Begin work. You must be authorized for AT by an International Student Advisor before beginning any employment. Working prior to obtaining authorization could result in a loss of your J-1 status. Even unpaid work must be authorized.

  • Employment While on AT

Any job you are authorized to work while on AT must be directly related to your field and level of study and must be for at least 20 hours/week in a paid or unpaid position. If the job has remote components or requirements, J-1 students on Academic Training can participats remotely no more than 40% of the time (e.g., two days out of five) when their host organizations have instituted partial remote policies and their sponsor has approved their hybrid program participation.

You cannot begin working on AT until you have the Academic Training Application form signed by your International Advisor and the approved date has been reached. You must stop working at the authorized end date unless an extension is approved.

A student authorized for AT may only work for the specific employer at the specific location and for the specific dates approved by their International Advisor. If there are any changes to this information, the student must contact their International Advisor prior to the change and receive approval from their Academic Advisor. The student will be required to submit updated documentation.

  • Reporting Requirements

Though you may no longer be an ISU student, you are still in J-1 student status while on AT and you continue to have requirements to report information to ISSS. You must notify ISSS within 10 days of any change(s) in your name, address, or employment information. If any change in this information occurs, please email it to

Please also notify ISSS if any major change related to your visa status occurs, such as the following:

  • You plan to depart the U.S. prior to your AT end date, with no plans to return and resume AT
  • You plan to transfer to another US institution to begin a new program of study
  • You have applied or been approved for a change of status
  • Travel on AT

When traveling outside of the U.S. with AT approval, the following documents are required:

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid J-1 Visa
  • I-94 Printout marked D/S
  • DS-2019 with a valid ARO travel signature on page 1 (the signature is valid for 12 months from the date it was signed)
  • Employment letter (stating: start dates, hours, and duties)

Request a Travel Signature

If the travel signature on page 1 of your most recent DS-2019 has expired, you can request a new signature by completing the Travel Signature Request in the ISSS Portal.