Skip to main content

J-1 Academic Training (AT)

Academic Training (AT)

ISSS Disclaimer 

The US Department of State Exchange Visitor Program regulations allow J-1 student visa holders to apply for Academic Training before the completion of their program of studies.

The primary purpose of Academic Training is an opportunity for a student to participate in an academic training program during or following their studies, with or without wages or other remuneration.

  • The student should be primarily in the United States to study rather than engage in academic training.

  • Academic Training must be directly related to the student's major field of study listed on their Form DS-2019 and an integral or critical part of the academic program of the student.

  • Positions that are deemed "unskilled labor" do not qualify for Academic Training.

  • The student must be in good academic standing.

An Academic Training program should:

  • consist of bona fide training activities that are connected to a substantial academic framework;
  • be designed to expose participants to the operations of their field;
  • prioritize academic objectives and not be driven by the labor needs of a host organization;
  • consist of primarily substantive roles (e.g., shadowing managers, participating in project design, management, or event planning) that involve no more than infrequent non-substantive tasks.

Duration of Academic training:

  • The cumulative period of Academic Training is 18 months, unless the student is pursuing a program that requires fewer than 18 months, in which case the period of Academic Training is shortened accordingly.

  • The period of Academic Training cannot be longer than the period of time the student takes to complete his/her program of studies. For example, a student who completes a Master’s degree in one academic year (10 months) is allowed only 10 months of Academic Training authorization.

  • Non-degree (exchange students) may participate in AT. The length of AT cannot exceed the time spent in the program of study.

  • Students who complete a Ph.D. program may be eligible for an additional 18 months of Academic Training authorization for post-doctoral training opportunities after completion of degree (for a total maximum of Academic Training based on the Ph.D. degree equal to 36 months).

  • For Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), please scroll to the bottom of this page.

Be sure to first attend one of our workshops to get all your questions answered!

AT Workshops

April 9, 2024 
2:30-4:30pm           *Online Meeting        
April 22, 2024  

2:30-4:30pm *Online Meeting
May 14, 2024

2:30-4:30pm *Online Meeting
May 20, 2024

2:30-4:30pm *Online Meeting
June 18, 2024

*Online Meeting
June 24, 2024

2:30-4:30pm *Online Meeting

*Note, meetings will be arranged via zoom. If you are interested in joining the meeting, please email us prior at by 12pm on the day of the event and send us your full name and student ID number with a note stating which workshop date you would like to attend. We will then provide the zoom meeting info in a follow up e-mail.

To Apply for Academic Training, an Extension, or Amended Academic Training

If you fail to submit your application before your program completion or before the end date on your Form DS-2019, whichever is earlier, you will not be eligible for academic training.

Please note: You must allow for at least 15 business day (from the date we receive a complete and correct request) for your application to be reviewed and processed. When your DS-2019 is ready, you will be notified by email with instructions on how to obtain your DS-2019.

You must submit the following items to complete an application for Academic Training:

  1. Have a formal employment offer (or amended employment offer if your original offer does not cover the extension period or you are changing employers), written on official letterhead from your potential academic training employer. The job offer letter from your employer must include:
    1. Your job title
    2. A brief description of the goals and objectives of your training (employment) and how it is related to the degree of study
    3. Dates and location of training or employment
    4. Number of hours per week, salary and benefits
    5. Name and title of your training supervisor
    6. Start Date (must be within 30 days of completion of studies or if changing employers, must not have a gap in employment from end of previous academic training)
  2. Obtain a letter of recommendation from your Academic Advisor or Dean (if you are an exchange student, this letter will need to be in English and come from an Academic Advisor or Dean from your home institution) recommending this academic training. You will need to provide him/her with a copy of your employment offer letter. Note: for extensions of previous employment, you may upload the original letter. The recommendation letter from your Academic Advisor or Dean must include the following:

    1. The goals and objectives of the specific training program with your prospective employer
    2. A description of the academic training program, including its location, the name and address of the training supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training
    3. How the training relates to your major field of study
    4. Why this employment is an integral or critical part of your academic program
  3. You and your prospective employer must complete the academic training plan portion of the J-1 Academic Training Evaluation Guidelines & Form.

  4. If your employer is not WVU, have your employer complete the Off-campus or 3rd Party J-1 Academic Training Provider Form

  5. Copies of your current Form DS-2019, your passport biographical data page, visa page, and I-94
  6. Proof of financial eligibility (see "minimum funding requirements" below).
  7. Proof of insurance - if WVU insurance is expiring (see "insurance requirements" below .)
  8. Note: If you employer offers benefits, we will accept this via the offer letter; however, we must also have proof of both medical evacuation and repatriation of remains as US employers do not routinely provide these coverages.

To apply click here ( AT Application), upload all the required documents and answer any/all questionnaires.

Minimum Funding Requirements

To issue a DS-2019, WVU is required to collect documentation demonstrating that the student on AT and their dependents have adequate financial resources for the entire duration of their stay.

Financial Documentation Requirements

  • Documents should be in English or have an accompanying translation
  • Bank statements must be official and dated
  • All accounts/assets must be liquid and dated within the last six (6) months
  • Any offer letter (or letter of sponsorship) must specify both the amount and duration of support
Minimum Funding Per Month Per Year
Student on AT (J-1) $1,944 $23,326
Each Dependent (J-2) $514 $6,171

Please note: The above estimates are conservative. Exchange Visitors should factor in individual financial requirements for their specific needs.

Insurance Requirements

U.S. federal regulations [22 CFR 62.14] require all exchange visitors and their dependents to carry certain insurance minimums for the duration of their stay. The plans purchased must meet or exceed the below requirements.

Benefit Minimum coverage
Medical Benefits $100,000
**Repatriation of remains $25,000
**Medical Evacuation $50,000
Deductible per accident or illness $500

**Please note: Most U.S. insurance policies do not cover repatriation of remains or medical evacuation. These may need to be added on as an additional coverage.

After you receive approval for Academic Training

  • You and your employer must complete periodic (every 6 months) evaluations of your Academic Training along with a final evaluation. Please submit by completing a J-1 Academic Training Evaluation Request and uploading the form above.

  • During your Academic Training period, you are required to inform ISSS of any address change — temporary or otherwise — within 10 days. You may inform ISSS by updating your address using our Change of Address Form. Failure to report an address change in a timely manner could result in loss of your Academic Training authorization and, possibly, loss of your legal status in the United States.

  • You must maintain the minimum insurance coverage for all J-1 Exchange Visitors (see above)

  • If you are still an international student at WVU, you are responsible for maintaining your own legal status. This means you must ensure that you are registered full-time every semester, and that the validity of your immigration documents does not expire. Be certain to report any changes in your academic level, funding, and/or completion of studies date within a timely manner to an International Student Advisor in ISSS. If you allow the date on your DS-2019 to expire, you will fall out of legal status and may suffer serious consequences.

  • Additional Information Concerning Worker's Rights - Know Your Rights (Wilberforce Pamphlet) from the Department of State. An information pamphlet describing your rights while working in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are some common questions that students ask about J-1 Academic Training, followed by general answers to those questions. On the reverse side is an explanation of how to apply for Academic Training. If you are a J-1 WVU student and would like information about Academic Training, please come to International Students & Scholars Services and make an appointment to speak with an International Student Advisor.

Q. Who qualifies for Academic Training?

A. Students who are in good academic standing can apply for Academic Training before completion of studies. Students who have completed all of their requirements, including thesis, are eligible to apply for post-completion Academic Training.

Q. How many hours can students work?

A. J-1 Academic Training can be authorized for Full-time employment during vacation periods (Summer Vacation), and up to 20 hours per week maximum when school is in session (Fall and Spring semesters). All authorizations require the support/approval of your academic program and must be directly related to your field of study and furthering your specific academic experience.

Q. Is the period of Academic Training used during the summer subtracted from the 18 months total?

A. Yes. Any period of pre-completion Academic Training is subtracted from the total of 18 months (or fewer, depending on the length of the program).

Q. Is there a deadline for applying for post-completion Academic Training?

A. Yes. Students have only 30 days after completion of their program of studies to apply for and receive authorization for Academic Training. Since you must first meet with an International Student Advisor and then wait to receive authorization, it is recommended that you make an appointment well in advance of the 30 days.

Q. Is there any way to extend the deadline, if students are late with the application?

A. Unfortunately no, because the 30-day deadline is specified in federal regulations.

Q. Do students need to have a job offer before applying for Academic Training?

A. Yes. Students must have a specific job offer, so that their academic advisor is able to write a detailed letter of recommendation.

Q. How long does it take to receive authorization for Academic Training?

A. Academic Training authorization will be granted to students within two weeks of the date of their appointment at ISSS, provided the International Student Advisor has all the necessary information.

Q. WVU is not my program sponsor, my DS-2019 was issued by ______ (e.g. Fulbright, IIE, etc.).

A. If WVU is not your J-1 program sponsor, ISSS cannot authorize Academic Training for you. You must contact your J-1 visa program sponsor (who issued your Form DS-2019) to confirm if you are eligible for Academic Training authorization and the procedures to complete with your sponsor to secure the Academic Training authorization. To determine your sponsorship, please check section #2 of your Form DS-2019.