J-1 Student Employment Options
This page provides an introduction to employment issues and options for international students in J-1 status at the University of Pennsylvania.
The most important employment issue to consider is legal (or "authorized") versus illegal (or "unauthorized") employment. Make sure that any employment you plan to engage in is legal, since illegal employment poses a grave threat to your ability to remain in or return to the United States. Also make sure you have the necessary employment authorization before you begin work. Starting work without prior authorization, even if you receive authorization later, constitutes illegal employment. Again, be aware that illegal, or unauthorized, employment renders you illegally present in the US and can have serious consequences. If you have any questions concerning your eligibility or category of employment, please consult with ISSS before commencing employment.
Definition of Employment
Employment is any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit. If you receive no pay or other benefit for the work performed and the position is normally an unpaid position, this activity is considered to be volunteer work.
Different requirements exist for each type of J-1 employment, but there are basic requirements that must be met for any J-1 employment:
- You must currently be in valid J-1 status and in good academic standing at the University of Pennsylvania while engaged in a full course of study, except during summer and school holidays.
- A student who is out of status is not eligible for J-1 benefits, including employment.
- Once employment is authorized, you must maintain your eligibility or you will lose your right to continue employment.