Academic Training for J-1 Students

BE SURE TO PLAN AHEAD. THE ENTIRE APPLICATION PROCESS, DURING BUSY MONTHS (MAY AND JUNE), CAN TAKE UP TO 1 MONTH.

DEFINITION

Academic Training permits an international student to accept employment in the United States in order to gain practical work experience.

DURATION

Students in J-1 status are eligible to apply for a total of 18 months of Academic Training. Doctoral students in J-1 status are eligible to apply for up to 36 months of Academic Training. Academic Training is available before completion of your program of study as well as after completion of your program. Any full-time Academic Training time used before completion of studies is subtracted from the total 18 months of Academic Training for which a student is eligible at a full-time rate; part-time Academic Training is also subtracted at a full-time rate. For example, if you work for 3 months over the summer before you graduate, this three month period is deducted from the total 18 months you are permitted and leaves you with 15 months of Academic Training.

ELIGIBILITY

Eligibility requires that you are in good academic standing at the Fletcher School. Your proposed employment must be directly related to your major field of study. You must maintain health insurance coverage for you and any family members accompanying you in the U.S. for the duration of your Academic Training period.

WHEN TO APPLY FOR POST COMPLETION ACADEMIC TRAINING

You must apply for Academic Training BEFORE GRADUATION. If you fail to do so, you will be ineligible for Academic Training and are required to either leave the U.S. or begin a new academic program.

POST-COMPLETION PRACTICAL TRAINING

To apply for Academic Training after graduation, you must first obtain a job offer. Once you have secured a job offer, your prospective employer must write a letter describing the position. The letter must include:

LETTER #1: JOB OFFER LETTER
-Your job title
-A brief description of the goals of the training program (your employment)
-Dates and location of employment
-Number of hours per week
-Name and address of your direct supervisor
-Your salary on a monthly basis
- Start and end dates of employment

After you receive your employer letter, you must give this letter to your Academic Advisor. He or she must then write a letter which recommends that you participate in Academic Training. Your Academic Advisor's letter must include:

LETTER #2: ACADEMIC ADVISOR LETTER
-The goals and objectives of your training program (employment)
-Description of the training program, including location, name and address of your direct supervisor, number of hours per week, the start and end dates of the job 
-How the training relates to your major field of study
-Why this training is an integral part of the academic program
-Statement saying that "the Academic Training for the length of time necessary to complete the goals and objectives of the training is approved.

Once you have the two letters, go to the International Student Advisor's Office with the following documents:

  1. The 2 letters described above
  2. Your Form DS-2019
  3. Your Form I-94 (small, white card in your passport indicating admissions #)
  4. Your passport

Please also note: If your Form DS-2019 was issued by another sponsor (for example, I.I.E., Ford Foundation, etc.) then you will need to apply to your program sponsor for Academic Training permission, not to the International Student Advisor at Fletcher.

VERIFICATION OF EMPLOYMENT

Upon approval of your Academic Training, you will be given a new Form DS-2019 indicating your eligibility to work.

PRE-COMPLETION PRACTICAL TRAINING

The application process for Pre-Completion Academic Training is the same process as Post Completion Academic Training. Please refer to the previous page for details. The following exceptions apply:

WHEN TO APPLY

You may apply for Pre-Completion Academic Training any time during your study program. Processing time may require several days.

HOURS PER WEEK AND HOW THEY ARE TABULATED

If you are working during the academic year, you are limited to working no more than twenty hours per week. Although you are only able to work part-time, this work is counted as full-time Academic Training. You are, however, able to work during the summers and during vacations on a full-time basis (40 hours per week).

LETTER OF ENROLLMENT & ELIGIBILITY TO WORK

Rather than a new DS-2019, you will receive a Letter of Enrollment & Eligibility to work from the International Student Advisor in order to perform pre-completion practical training.

VERIFICATION OF EMPLOYMENT

In order to verify to your prospective employer that you are eligible to engage in Academic Training before completing your studies, you may request a Letter of Enrollment from the International Student Advisor.

PROCESSING TIME

As previously stated, the International Student Advisor may require several days to complete the Academic Training Process, especially during the busy season (April through June). Please plan accordingly.

LEAVING THE U.S. AND RETURNING DURING ACADEMIC TRAINING

If you plan to leave the U.S. and wish to return to resume Academic Training, you must have the Responsible Officer (International Student Advisor or your program sponsor) sign Form DS-2019. If your current J-1 visa is still valid, you may still use it to re-enter the U.S. If your J-1 student visa has expired, you will need to take the signed Form DS-2019, proof of financial documentation and your employment offer letter to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate while overseas to apply for a new J-1 visa in order to re-enter the U.S.

SOCIAL SECURITY TAX AND NUMBERS

If you are employed in the United States, you must have a Social Security Number WHEN YOU BEGIN WORKING. Application is made to the local Social Security Administration (SSA) Office. Please Note:The SSA Office will not issue a social security number to international students without proof of a job offer, and a letter of eligibility from the International Student Advisor. Therefore, when you apply to the SSA Office, you must bring your Form DS-2019, your passport, your I-94 card, and a letter which indicates your job offer and a letter of eligibility from the International Student Advisor. The Social Security Adsministration Office located closest to Fletcher is at 240 Elm Street in Davis Square, Somerville.

Foreign students who have J-1 visa status do not pay Social Security tax (FICA) but still need this Social Security Number for tax filing purposes. Fletcher assigns you a school I.D. number (starting with either 999 or 991). This number cannot be used outside of Fletcher. You must apply to the SSA for a Social Security Number.

FORM I-9, "EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION"

Upon starting your job, you will be asked to complete a Form I-9, which requires you to document your identity and your work authorization. Perhaps the most convenient documents to produce in order to comply are your passport (or other photo-bearing identification if you are Canadian), and the Form DS-2019, indicating you are on a period of Academic Training. If you are working before you complete your studies, the letter from the International Student Advisor verifying your enrollment and eligibility to work will be needed. Copies of submitted documents will be made and kept on file at your place of employment.

FEDERAL AND STATE INCOME TAX

In most cases, foreign students and scholars are subject to all federal and state taxes if employed in the U.S. Tax treaties exist between the U.S. government and some foreign countries which may affect the amount of tax you are required to pay. You will be required to file both federal and state income tax forms by April 15th of each year for any work completed during the previous calendar year. Even if you do not owe any tax, you must still file tax returns whether or not you have worked for pay.

Tax forms can be obtained at banks, post offices, libraries and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offices from January through April. The Ginn Library keeps a limited supply of various IRS forms and informational booklets.

Non-resident, taxation is extremely complicated. When filing your tax returns, it is best to consult with someone at your place of employment who is knowledgeable, or visit an office of the I.R.S. You may also want to consult a tax attorney or a tax accountant for assistance.

Rev. 010/2004