J Visa

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ISS J Visa

Students holding J-1 visa status may work in the United States, both on and off-campus, but may only do so with prior authorization 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.

J-2 visa holders are eligible to work in the United States as long as they have received proper J-2 visa holders are eligible to work in the United States as long as they have received proper authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): J-2 Employment Application. You may apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) after receiving your employment authorization card.  Please go to the Social Security (SSN) website for more information regarding how to apply for your SSN. 

On-Campus Employment

Students may work anywhere on the UMass campus and must report assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, and on-campus employment. Employment is limited to 20 hours per week (including assistantships) while school is in session, 40 hours a week during vacation periods (Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, Spring Break, Summer). Employment at one of the other Five Colleges requires Academic Training approval.

Authorization is employer and date specific. For example, if you are authorized to work at Dining Services for August 27-December 13, you cannot work for another employer or outside those dates without additional authorization. Resubmit the J-1 Student Employment Authorization E-Form for additional authorization.

To apply, submit the J-1 Student Employment Authorization E-Form.

Please note that it will take 2 to 3 business days to process your application.

Academic Training


ISS J Visa

Academic Training (AT) is off-campus training related to a J-1 student's field of study at UMass.

Eligibility requirements are:

  • You are primarily in the U.S. to study
  • Your proposed Academic Training is related to your field of study
  • You are in good academic standing
  • You have received authorization from the IPO
  • May be paid or unpaid
  • You may have several training opportunities
  • You may have multiple academic training authorizations at one time or back to back
  • Authorization is employer and time specific—you CANNOT conduct training outside of your approval dates or with a different employer. Each AT segment needs its own authorization.
  • Employment at one of the other Five Colleges requires Academic Training approval

Time Limitations:

AT may be utilized:

  • during or after your program of study (or both).
    • If after, it must begin within 30 days of completion of studies (which should correspond to the program ending date on your Ds-2019 form) AND you must have been approved before the end date
  • Generally authorized for a maximum of 18 months or a period equal to the program of study, whichever is less
    • Doctoral Students exception: doctoral students who plan to pursue post-doctoral training are permitted a maximum period of 36 months.
    • time limits are cumulative
      • any AT 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.


Academic Training may only be conducted:

  • School year = part-time
    • Exception: for post-completion students, you may work full-time
  • Vacation periods (Thanksgiving, Winter Break, Spring Break, Summer) = full-time

Exceptions include:

  • Graduate students who have completed all coursework for the degree and plan to conduct research while on AT that will assist them in the development of their thesis/dissertation
  • Undergraduate students who conduct internships that are required in their program or for which they will receive credit

IPO processing time is 2-3 business days.

If you are applying for AT following the completion of your degree, you must apply BEFORE completing your program. We cannot add AT to DS-2019s that have already expired.

Prior to submitting your J-1 Academic Training Authorization Form: be prepared to submit the following:

Your employment offer letter.  It should include the following:

  • the employer’s letterhead
  • name and complete address of the employer
  • a brief job description
  • exact dates of proposed employment
  • salary
  • signature of the supervisor, department head, HR representative or appropriate representative of the employer

Your Academic Advisor listed on your E-form will be contacted to confirm the academic nature of your proposed training. You should contact them once you have submitted your form.

Submit your Academic Training Request Form here.

You must apply for your AT before the last day of final exams; you may only be authorized a period of AT 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.

See more information at APPLICATION PROCESS.