Off Campus Employment

Academic Training

J-1 Academic Training is employment that is critical or integral to a J-1 student's academic program. Academic Training must be directly related to and commensurate with the level of the student's field of study. Academic Training must be authorized in advance through written approval of the Responsible Officer of the J-1 program. For Harvard students under Harvard's J-l Exchange Visitor Program sponsorship, the Responsible Officer is an advisor in the HIO. Academic Training may be divided into two basic categories:

  • Pre-completion - prior to completion of requirements for the degree
  • Post-completion - once all coursework or once all degree requirements have been completed

Academic Training can be part-time (20 hours per week or less) during the fall and spring semesters or full-time in the summer. Graduate students advanced to doctorate candidacy may work full-time at any time of the year with recommendation from their academic department.

Work Authorization due to Unforeseen Economic Hardship

J-1 students may request off-campus work authorization from their J program sponsors due to unforeseen economic hardship. This work authorization allows J-1 students to work off-campus part-time while school is in session and full-time during semester breaks such as summer and winter vacations. The job does not need to be related to the student's field of study.

There is no time limit associated with the Unforeseen Economic Hardship work authorization; if a student can demonstrate financial need due to unexpected change in their funding, they are eligible to apply. Economic Hardship work authorization does not affect a student's J-1 Academic Training eligibility. Please reach out to your HIO advisor for further discussions. 

Employment Verification

Form I-9

Within the first three days of beginning work, a student must complete an employer-provided Employment Eligibility Verification form (USCIS Form I-9). A student will need to provide passport and visa documents proving that they are authorized to be employed in the United States to complete the Form I-9. The Form I-9 must be updated each time a student receives a renewal of permission to work or changes status or employers.