Employment is any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room or for any other benefit or compensation. J-1 students are required to have authorization from the J-1 program sponsor in order to work in the U.S. If employed without proper authorization, the student will have violated his/her J-1 status which may result in losing benefits of J-1 program and jeopardize his/her permission to remain in or reenter the U.S.
Obtaining Employment Authorization
The Office of International Initiatives (OII) is designated by the U.S. Department of State as the J-1 program sponsor for Shepherd University. This office is obligated to evaluate the proposed employment in the context of your academic program and your personal circumstances. If your DS-2019 specifies the program sponsor (item #2) as “Shepherd University” and the exchange visitor category (item #4) as “student”, you may apply for employment authorization at OII. If your J-1 program is sponsored by another organization (e.g. Institute for International Education), you must contact them to discuss your eligibility to work. You may not begin employment unless you have obtained employment authorization from your program sponsor and the begin date is effective.
U.S. government regulations require J-1 students to be in the U.S. for the primary purpose of attending school. In general, employment in the U.S. is restricted. The following employment possibilities exist for J-1 students:
- Limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session and available as full time during school vacation and holidays. On-campus employment is defined as work done on the premises of the school that issued the DS-2019. If anyone other than Shepherd University will be paying you, please consult with the Office of International Initiatives prior to accepting employment.
- Your specific employment must be approved by your Program Sponsor in advance. The approval may be valid for a maximum of 12 months and must be renewed if employment will continue beyond the original approval dates. Employment approval is automatically withdrawn if your program is transferred or terminated.
- J-1 students sponsored by Shepherd University must request an authorization letter thorough the Office of International Initiatives prior to beginning any on-campus employment. For this, OII needs (1) information about the position indicating title, general duties, start and end dates, and salary; and (2) current immigration-related documents.
- J-1 students who are not sponsored by Shepherd University should contact their sponsoring agency for permission to engage in on-campus employment.
- Visit Human Resources website to search and apply for an on-campus job. You may also inquire directly with the office or department where you are interested in working to find out if they have any positions available. Please note the J-1 students are not eligible for “Work Study.” If an on-campus position is advertised as “Work Study only,” only students who have been awarded federal Work Study funds may apply. This type of aid is typically only available to US citizens or lawful permanent residents.
- Academic Training may be authorized for off-campus employment related to a student’s field of study if it meets certain criteria (e.g., length, relationship to academic program, pre- or post completion of studies, etc.). For authorization, visit the Office of International Initiatives with (1) a letter of offer for the position indicating title, general duties, start and end dates, and salary; (2) a recommendation from your academic advisor indicating how the employment contributes to your academic program; and (3) your current immigration-related documents.
- Academic Training is limited to 18 months or equal to the period of the exchange visit, whichever is less. This limitation applies to the aggregate of full- and part-time employment.
- Academic Training is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session and available as full time during school vacation, holidays, and after the completion of studies.