J-1 Academic Training (AT) is defined as paid employment and/or unpaid internships that are designed to complement a J-1 student's program of study. Prior to beginning any AT, a student must obtain written approval from both the academic advisor and an Alternate Responsible Officer (International Student Advisor) of his or her J-1 program. Students who will engage in AT following completion of studies (post-completion AT) must receive authorization prior to the end of the current academic term.
A J-1 student may engage in AT provided that:
Students authorized for AT may work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during official University breaks and vacations and after completion of studies.
Time Limitations for Academic Training
AT for most degree-seeking J-1 students may not exceed 18 months, inclusive of any prior academic training in the United States as an Exchange Visitor. If the program of study is shorter than 18 months, the AT may not exceed the program length. For example, a student who completes an MS degree in 12 months would be eligible for no more than 12 months of AT. Doctoral students may receive up to 36 months of AT (inclusive of any prior academic training in the United States as an Exchange Visitor) if they are engaged in postdoctoral research under the supervision of an academic or research institution. Non-degree J students are limited to a 24-month stay, including study time and any time spent pursuing AT.
Procedures to Request Academic Training
Obtain a letter of offer from your employer that includes ALL of these details:
Give a copy of your employer's letter to your academic advisor or dean for use in filling out the Academic Training Request Form.
Bring the employer letter, completed Academic Training Request Form, and documentation of your continued health insurance (for you and any J-2 dependents) and financial documentation (if necessary) to your International Student Advisor so he or she can write the letter authorizing your employment. You may NOT begin work until you receive this authorization letter.
Applications for post-completion AT must be approved prior to the end of the academic term. Please allow for at least five business days processing time.
Students who pursue post-completion AT may need to provide evidence of financial resources to ISSS if:
Please confirm the current monthly living expense estimate with your International Student Advisor prior to submitting your AT request so that you may include any necessary financial documentation.
AT and Taxes
During AT, you are required to pay federal, state and local taxes. You must file a tax return on or before April 15th each year. The return will determine if any of the withheld taxes can be refunded. Emory is pleased to offer access to the Foreign National Tax Resource (FNTR) tax software to international alumni on OPT. You will also find a link on our homepage with more information about tax filing in February each year.
You are not required to pay Social Security or Medicare (FICA) taxes for the first five calendar years during which you are physically present in the United States in J-1 status. If these taxes are being deducted from your payroll check, contact your employer’s Human Resources or Payroll department.
After you have spent five calendar years in the United States in J-1 status, you become a resident for tax purposes and must pay FICA taxes. If you spend even one day in the United States in J-1 status during a particular year, you must count that year toward the five year limit. Consult with a tax professional who specializes in international issues for more information.