J-1 Academic Training

What is J-1 Academic Training (AT)?

J-1 Academic Training is designed to provide J-1 students with 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.

Applying for AT
Review the AT Overview
Complete your AT Application
Academic Training Evaluation requirements
Review the Important Considerations when accepting an AT opportunity

1. Academic Training (AT) Overview

2. Application Process

  1. Receive an Offer Letter: Obtain a copy of your official offer letter on company letterhead that is signed by the prospective employer. A photocopy is acceptable. The letter should include:
    •  the employer’s name,
    • full address,
    • position title,
    • dates of employment,
    • funding/salary (if applicable),
    • and duties.
  2. Submit the AT E-form: The Academic Training electronic request form is available in iPenn. After you log in with your PennKey, you will find “Academic Training Request” under Student Services in the left menu. If your requested AT authorization dates will occur at any point after completion of your academic program, you will be prompted to pay the $185 ISSS Processing Fee after submitting the e-form in iPenn.
  3. Receive Academic Advisor approval: Your request will be sent to your Academic Advisor for approval. Your academic advisor will need to explain in 2-3 sentences how your employment is directly related to your field of study at Penn.
  4. Wait for ISSS approval: If the request meets all requirements, ISSS will issue an Academic Training Authorization letter and updated DS-2019 form documenting your AT approval. Our office takes approximately 3-5 business days to review the Academic Training request. We recommend submitting the request at least 3 weeks in advance to allow sufficient processing time in case any follow-up is needed. (See additional information about processing times below.)

3. Processing Timeline and Deadlines

​​​​​You must receive written AT authorization from your ISSS Advisor before starting any employment. Please review below for expected processing timelines:

  • Pre-completion (before graduation)
    • Submit at least 3 weeks in advance of your requested Academic Training Start Date
    • Processing takes approximately 3-5 business days if all AT requirements are met.
  • Post-completion (after graduation)
    • Submit at least 3 weeks before your DS-2019/program end date.
    • Failure to submit your request in advance may result in the completion of your SEVIS record. All Academic Training Requests must be processed before your program ends and/or your DS-2019 form expires.
    • Post-completion AT employment must begin within 30 days after your program completion.
    • Processing takes approximately 3-5 business days if all AT requirements are met.

4. AT Evaluation Requirements

Penn is required to evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of the Academic Training in achieving the stated goals and objectives

Students will be required to submit feedback regarding their AT employment at the following times:

  • When requesting an extension of their Academic Training,
  • When changing their Academic Training employment,
  • At the conclusion of their Academic Training period.

The AT Evaluation e-form is available in iPenn.

5. Important Considerations