What is Academic Training (AT)?

It is designed to allow J-1 students the opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience off campus. 

Academic Training:

  • Should be directly related to the major field of study listed on your DS-2019 (refer to the Subject/Field code on your DS-2019).
  • Is available for full- or part-time employment to those in degree and non-degree programs.
  • Can be paid or unpaid.
  • Can be used before or after the completion of the academic program.
    • flowchart at ver04
    • flowchart at ver04
  1. Review the AT Overview.
  2. Complete your AT Application
  3. Review the Important Considerations when accepting an AT opportunity

Academic Training (AT) Overview

  • Eligibility
  • To be eligible for academic training, you must meet the following conditions:

    • You must be in valid J-1 status and in good academic standing.
    • Academic training must be done with a specific employer/training site.
    • The proposed employment must be directly related to your major field of study.
    • Written approval must be obtained in advance for the duration and type of academic training.
    • If your post-completion academic training will be unpaid, you must prove you have adequate financial support for yourself and J-2 dependents, if any.
  • If Penn is Not Your J-1 Program Sponsor
    • To receive academic training authorization, you must apply to your J-1 Responsible or Alternate Responsible Officer (RO/ARO), who represents your J-1 sponsor and issues your Form DS-2019. The RO/ARO must evaluate the proposed employment to determine whether it can be authorized. 
    • If Penn is your J-1 sponsor, your RO/ARO is one of the advisors in International Student and Scholar Services(ISSS). 
    • If your program is sponsored by another institution, ISSS can help direct you to the RO/ARO at your institution.
  • Duration of AT
  • The duration of academic training depends on the type and duration of your academic program. Check with ISSS about your specific situation.
     

    General limits which apply to all students:
    • Under any circumstances, the duration of academic training may not exceed the length of the academic program.
    • Part-time and full-time academic training are counted the same against the total time allowed. Part-time academic training is not counted at half the rate of full-time.
    • Academic training used before completion of the academic program is deducted from the total time available.
    • Academic training should commence no later than 30 days after completion of his or her studies.  So, the employment offer start date should be fall before the grace period end date.
       
    Specific limits include:
    • Non-degree students: Example: An exchange student enrolled for one semester may be granted academic training for the equivalent time of his/her studies. Total J-1 program time for non-degree students is limited to 24 months, including both study and academic training time.
    • Degree students: Academic training is normally limited to a maximum of 18 months.
    • PhD students: Academic training may be available for 36 months for “postdoctoral training” positions. Please see ISSS to discuss the criteria.

Application Process & Deadlines

  • You must receive AT Authorization before beginning employment, including any related orientation or training.
  • For post-completion AT, you must receive authorization from ISSS before your program completion date and before the end date on your DS-2019.  We recommend applying at least 3 weeks before your end date.
  • Post-completion AT employment may begin up to 30 days after your program completion.
  • Submit your AT electronic form in iPenn (logo above). After you log in with your Pennkey, you will find "AT Request" under Student Services in the left menu.
  • If the request is for AT after completion of study, you will be prompted to pay the $150 ISSS Processing Fee after submitting the eform in iPenn.
  • If you meet the requirements for AT, the RO/ARO will issue a letter authorizing your employment for a specified period of time along with an updated DS-2019.  Please allow 3-5 business days for processing.  During the peak / high-volume period, processing may take longer.

Important Considerations

  • Travel Abroad & Re-entry
    • If you plan to leave the US after completing your program of study and re-enter for AT, you must apply for work authorization with your RO/ARO before you leave. 
    • If you leave the US before applying for AT, you have relinquished your ability to return to the US in J-1 student status and may no longer apply for AT.
    • To re-enter the US while on AT, you need a valid visa and DS-2019 endorsed for re-entry by ISSS within the past year.
    • Consult your RO/ARO for more information about travel on Academic Training.
  • Additional Considerations
    • If you are eligible for an extension of your academic training, please contact ISSS at least one month prior to the expiration of your current academic training authorization.
    • Any changes in terms and conditions of the authorized academic training must be reviewed and approved by ISSS in advance and in writing.
    • Please let us know if your dependents are in the US. They will also require updated DS-2019s.
    • ISSS is required to report in SEVIS any address changes for University-sponsored students, so you must continue to update your local address and other contact information in Penn InTouch (or email changes to ISSS) while on academic training.
    • Throughout your period of academic training, you must maintain permission to stay in the US in J-1 student status and apply for extensions as necessary.
    • You must maintain adequate health insurance coverage (per the US Department of State) for yourself and any J-2 dependents throughout your academic training period.