J-1 students are permitted to work in the US only if they are maintaining valid J-1 status and have the written permission of their J-1 sponsor. There are two different types of employment for J-1 students: J-1 student employment and Academic Training. For information about each type of employment, and the procedures for obtaining authorization, see the sections below.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are a J-1 student and your J-1 sponsor is an external organization instead of Tufts University (e.g., IIE, AMIDEAST, LASPAU), your sponsor must directly authorize you for employment and assist you with obtaining documents needed for Social Security applications. Please contact your sponsor for their directions / instructions.
J-1 Student Employment
Student employment is permitted only while you are pursuing your J-1 program objective. There are three types of student employment:
Employment based on a fellowship, assistantship, or grant (such as a teaching or research assistantship)
Employment that takes place on the premises of the campus (on-campus employment)
On-campus employment may be with any Tufts department or office, but cannot be any job that requires US federal work study (FWS) financial aid approval as a condition of employment
Off-campus employment authorized due to serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic circumstance
J-1 Student Employment Requirements
J-1 student employment is available only if you are maintaining valid J-1 status and working toward your J-1 program objective. It is not available once you complete your J-1 program objective or otherwise stop your J-1 program. In all cases, employment must be authorized in writing by a J-1 advisor at the International Center office serving your campus.
Eligibility and Restrictions
To qualify for J-1 student employment, you must be in good academic standing
You must continue to pursue a full course of study while engaged in employment
You can be authorized for more than one type of employment at the same time, but you cannot work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session; full-time (over 20 hours per week) is permitted during summer vacations
Authorizations are granted for up to one year at a time or until the end of your J-1 program, whichever comes first
You do not need a Social Security Number (SSN) to apply for or start on-campus jobs, but you should take immediate steps to apply for a SSN once you have obtained a job offer.
Students with on-campus jobs should download and work with your on-campus department to complete an J-1 Student Evidence of Employment Form; once your department has signed the form, please send it back to the International Center for an international student advisor's signature.
Requesting J-1 Student Employment Authorization
Important: These instructions apply only to J-1 students sponsored by Tufts. Students who are sponsored by other organizations must obtain student employment authorization from their J-1 sponsors.
Employment for Fellowship / Assistantships or On-Campus Jobs
If you have a student employment such as an assistantship, fellowship, or on-campus job, you must first report your J-1 On-Campus Employment using this link to your International Center Portal and accessing the Report On-Campus Employment request in the Request Center.
Once your on-campus employment is reported through the Portal, a J-1 advisor will review your request. After the advisor approves the request, the advisor will update your J-1 SEVIS record and provide a written letter authorizing you to accept student employment.
Employment for J-1 Severe Economic Hardship
If you are experiencing severe economic hardship due to unforeseen circumstances, you must meet with an International Center advisor to discuss your specific situation. Severe economic hardship may be the result of unforeseen events such as unexpected medical expenses, financial hardship experienced by your J-1 funding sponsor, economic crises in your home country, or similar situations. This type of employment authorization, if approved, allows you to work off-campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session (or over 20 hours per week during summer vacations), in any job that will help you with your financial needs. Authorizations are granted up to one year or until the end of your J-1 program, whichever comes first.
J-1 Academic Training is training that is related to your major field of study as indicated on your Form DS-2019. Academic Training may take place either during studies (pre-completion Academic Training) or immediately after completion of studies (post-completion Academic Training). The primary purpose of Academic Training should not be financial in nature, but to gain practical opportunities that complement your J-1 program and studies in a particular field or major. Training experiences can take the form of paid employment, internships, or practicum experiences.
Types of J-1 Academic Training
J-1 Academic Training is paid or unpaid training that is related to your J-1 program of study. Academic Training may take place either during or immediately after your J-1 program of study.
Length of J-1 Academic Training
J-1 students are allowed up to 18 months of Academic Training, although the length of the training cannot exceed the amount of time spent engaged in full-time classroom study. For example, if your program of study was nine months, you cannot be authorized for more than nine months of Academic Training.
J-1 students who complete a doctoral degree are eligible to request an additional 18 months of Academic Training, for a maximum of 36 months. The second 18-month period of training is available only after you have completed your doctoral studies.
In addition, under a special STEM initiative from the US Department of State, through December 31, 2024 J-1 students who are pursuing a bachelor's or master's degree in a STEM field may be eligible for Academic Training extensions up to 36 months, beyond the normal 18 month limitation.
Students participating in a J-1 exchange program between Tufts and another non-US institution must have the approval of both their home institution and their Tufts sponsor in line with the procedures discussed below.
To qualify for J-1 Academic Training, you must be in good academic standing or have successfully completed your J-1 program
Academic Training must be directly related to your J-1 program objectives, i.e., directly related to your area of study
Academic Training is job-specific, which means that you must have a training offer in order to request Academic Training authorization
Self-employment does not qualify for Academic Training
Requesting J-1 Academic Training Authorization
Important: These instructions apply only to J-1 students sponsored by Tufts. Students who are sponsored by other organizations must obtain Academic Training authorization from their J-1 sponsors.
You must apply for Academic Training before you start your employment.
For pre-completion Academic Training undertaken while you are still engaged in full-time studies, submit your required documents to the International Center at least 15 days before your Academic Training is expected to start.
For post-completion Academic Training you must submit your request to the International Center at least two weeks before your current Form DS-2019 expires.
Step 1: Obtain a training offer letter on letterhead stationery from your Academic Training employer that contains the following:
An explanation of the goals and objectives of the proposed training
Start and end dates of the position and number of hours per week
Annual salary per year, indicated on a monthly basis
Name and location of employer
Supervisor's name, telephone number and email address
Important: for post-completion Academic Training, your training must start no later than 30 days following the end of your J-1 studies.
Step 2: Your Tufts academic advisor must review the offer and determine that it provides training that is related to your J-1 program field of study. If your advisor approves that the training is appropriate proceed to request authorization for Academic Training on the International Center Portal.
Students in exchange programs should discuss the request with their home institution as well as their Tufts sponsor. Approval of both parties is required.
Step 3: Start the online Academic Training Request in the Request Center.
You will need to upload the following documents:
Proof of financial support for post-completion Academic Training if opportunity is unpaid, at $2500 / month for the J-1 student for each month of training
As a part of the online application you will need to provide the email of your advisor who will need to certify your completion date and recommend your academic training request. Your advisor will need to provide the information below:
A description of the goals and objectives of your Academic Training program
A description of Academic Training program, including the location and name of employer
A description of how the Academic Training relates to your J-1 field of study
An explanation of why the Academic Training experience is an integral or critical part of your academic program
Step 4: Once your documents are received by the International Center, an advisor will review your request. If your request is approved, the advisor will issue a new Form DS-2019 and written Academic Training authorization letter allowing you to engage in Academic Training. If you are applying for post-completion Academic Training, your DS-2019 will also extend your J-1 student status.
If you travel outside of the US during your post-completion Academic Training period, you may need to apply for a new J-1 visa before returning to the US to continue your training experience.