University of Massachusetts Amherst

J1 Employment

Students holding J-1 visa status may work in the United States, both on and off-campus, but may only do so with written permission from their visa sponsor. The following information describes policies and procedures for individuals who have J-1 visa sponsorship from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (the DS-2019 must have been issued by UMass). If your visa sponsor is not UMass - for example, IIE - you must obtain authorization directly from that sponsor. Our office cannot authorize employment for any student not sponsored by UMass.

There are four general categories of J-1 employment.

  • On-Campus Employment

Students may work anywhere on the UMass or 5-College campuses. Employment is limited to 20 hours per week (including assistantships) while school is in session, 40 hours a week during vacation periods. To apply, submit the completed Employment Authorization Request Form.

  • Off-Campus Employment based on unanticipated economic necessity

This authorization is given to students who find themselves in unforeseen economic hardship. Employment is limited to 20 hours per week (including assistantships) while school is in session, 40 hours a week during vacation periods. To apply, submit a brief written statement explaining the circumstances that led you to seek employment based on economic necessity and complete the Employment Authorization Request Form .

Academic Training (ATR) is defined as work experience directly related to your academic program at UMass.

  • For Exchange Students Only

You must apply for your ATR before the last day of final exams; you may only be authorized a period of ATR equivalent to the period of your exchange program at UMass; and you must present a letter from your home university confirming that the proposed job is related to your field of studies and recommending that you be allowed to accept this opportunity.

Time Limitations

ATR may be undertaken either during or after your program of study (or both). In general, ATR may be authorized for a maximum of 18 months, or a period equal to the program of study, whichever
is less. The only exception is for students who complete a doctoral degree and plan to pursue post-doctoral training under the supervision of an academic institution. In this case, a maximum period of 36 months is permitted. Note that these time limits are cumulative, meaning that any ATR conducted prior to the completion of study will be deducted from the allowable time and only months remaining may be used following the completion of a degree.


In general, ATR may only be conducted part-time during the school year, full-time during vacation periods. Exceptions include: Graduate students who have completed all coursework for the degree and plan to conduct ATR that will assist them in the development of their thesis/dissertation; Undergraduate students who conduct internships that are required of their program or for which they will receive credit.

Application Time Frame

If you are applying for ATR following the completion of your degree, you must apply BEFORE completing your program.