Academic Training is designed to provide J-1 Visa students with employment experience to complement their programs of study in the United States. Therefore, the work done during Academic Training must be directly related to the student's field of study, and it must be commensurate with their level of education. Students may engage in Academic Training during their academic program and/or after the completion of the program as long as the total amount of training does not exceed the prescribed time limitations indicated below. Please note that Academic Training cannot be authorized for permanent employment.
A J-l student is eligible for Academic Training if he or she:
- is in good academic standing or has successfully completed a program of study;
- is participating in Academic Training that is directly related to his or her major field of study;
- is authorized in advance to engage in Academic Training through written approval of the Responsible Officer (for Harvard students under Harvard's J-l Exchange Visitor program sponsorship, the Responsible Officer would be an advisor in the HIO).
Academic Training can be authorized for the following time periods:
- Undergraduate programs: 18 months
- Two year Master's programs: 18 months
Students enrolled in degree programs that are less than 18 months can be authorized Academic Training only for the time equal to or less than the length of their programs.
- Doctorate programs: up to 36 months of Academic Training, out of which only 18 months may be used before the completion of study. Please note that a maximum of 18 months of Academic Training can be authorized at a time.
How to Apply
The following instructions are for the students whose Forms DS-2019 are issued by Harvard University. If your Form DS-2019 is issued by another organization such as Fulbright you must contact that organization for instructions.
Step 1: Obtain a letter (on letterhead stationary) from your employer containing: an explanation of the goals and objectives of the proposed employment, the start and end dates of the academic training (not to exceed the amount of your Academic Training eligibility), the number of hours per week, the salary to be paid, the location of the employment, and the supervisor's name and address. Please do not submit your job offer letter.
Step 2: Download the Form Academic Training Application Form
Step 3: Take the employer's letter and the Application Form for J-1 Student Academic Training to your academic advisor at your school and ask him/her to complete the form, sign it, and return it to you. HBS students must go to the MBA Registrar Services Office for the signature.
Step 4: It is not necessary to have an appointment with your advisor in the HIO to apply for Academic Training (AT). You may mail or drop off the letter from your employer and the completed application form to the HIO. For post-completion AT, please include a personal check of $150 made out to Harvard University. The HIO charges a one-time, non-refundable fee of $150 for processing post-completion AT applications and maintaining SEVIS records for the length of the AT experience, which can run from 9 months up to 36 months following graduation.
If you are a graduating student using post-completion Academic Training, you must submit the necessary paperwork to the HIO before the program completion date indicated on item 3 of your Form DS-2019.
If you change employers after the Academic Training authorization, you will need to repeat this procedure to reflect the new employer.