Academic Training

Academic Training is a type of off-campus work authorization that allows a J-1 student to gain practical experience in their field of study.

Step #1: Read the Background Information & Application Instructions

What is Academic Training?

Academic Training is a type of off-campus work authorization that allows a J-1 student to gain practical experience in their field of study. Any employment must be directly related to the J-1 student’s major field of study.  Academic Training can be used during an academic program or after completion of a J-1 program.  The employment experience may be paid or unpaid. 

Note: Academic Training cannot be approved for “permanent” employment (e.g. tenure track positions).

Who is eligible for Academic Training?

To be eligible for Academic Training, you must document that you:

  • are currently in valid J-1 student status
  • are in good academic standing or have successfully completed a program of study
  • have been offered a job or experience that is directly related to your major field of study

How long is Academic Training?

Degree-seeking Undergraduates and Degree-seeking Master’s Students:  Academic Training is possible for up to 18 months or the length of the study period, whichever is less. 

Non-Degree Students cannot exceed 24 months in J-1 Non-Degree status (including time spent in Academic Training) and their internship cannot exceed the period of time they spent as a student. 

Ph.D. Students:  At the pre-doctoral level, J-1 Students are eligible for up to 18 months of Academic Training or the length of the study period, whichever is less.  At the post-doctoral level, they are eligible for up to 36 months of Academic Training (including all prior Academic Training) or the length of the study period, whichever is less.  Note:  You can only apply for 18 months of Academic Training at a time.

When can I participate in Academic Training?

You can participate in Academic Training during any of the situations below as long as you have a job offer and your Academic Training has been authorized by ISS

Pre-Completion:

  • During the semester, only part-time Academic Training authorization is possible.  Note: You must maintain full-time enrollment. 
  • During winter break or summer vacation, full-time Academic Training authorization is possible.
  • After the completion of all required course work for the degree and while working on one’s thesis, dissertation or equivalent, full-time Academic Training authorization is possible. 

Post-Completion:

  • After the completion of one’s J-1 program, Academic Training authorization can be full-time or part-time.  Note: Academic Training must start no later than 30 days after the completion of your course of study.

How is part-time Academic Training counted?

Part-time Academic Training (20 hours or less per week) is counted the same as full-time Academic Training (more than 20 hours per week).

When should I apply for Academic Training?

Pre-Completion Academic Training

There is no specified time period during which applications for Pre-Completion Academic Training must be submitted.  However, the ISS processing time is 5-7 business days so please apply at least 7 business days before your employment start date. 

Post-Completion Academic Training

Applications for Post-Completion Academic Training can be submitted up to 30 days before your completion of studies.*  Note: ISS must receive your Post-Completion Academic Training application 5-7 business days BEFORE your DS-2019 expires.

* The “course of study completion date” is the degree conferral date immediately following the last fall or spring semester or summer term during which you were enrolled. If you complete your thesis or dissertation in the summer, but do not register for classes during the summer, you must submit to ISS a letter from your academic advisor or Director of Graduate Studies verifying that you are still working towards your degree, and detailing the nature of the work that you are completing. In such cases, the September 1st degree conferral date will be your completion of course of study date. If you are a Non-Degree Student, your “course of study completion date” will be the Program End Date on your DS-2019.

How should I apply for Academic Training?

To apply for Academic Training, submit the following to International Student Services, 210 Talbert Hall, North Campus (isss@buffalo.edu):  

  • Academic Advisor Recommendation Form for Academic Training
  • Proof of adequate health insurance coverage for the Academic Training period.
  • Letter from your employer confirming the goals and objectives of the training, and outlining the employment details (start and end date, job title, location, description of activities, supervisor’s name and contact information).  Note: A sample letter can be found here.
  • Financial documents proving that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your dependents during your Academic Training. Please consult with ISS to determine the amount of funding you will need to show. Information about acceptable financial documents can be found here

If you are applying to extend your Academic Training, you must submit all of the documents listed above to ISS.  In addition, you must complete an evaluation of your Academic Training experience. To access the evaluation form, login to myISSS using your UBIT name and password.  Click on J-1 Student Services, then Academic Training Evaluation.  The evaluation form should take no more than a few minutes to complete. 

How is Academic Training authorized?

If your application is approved, ISS will authorize your Academic Training.  No additional authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is required.  ISS will contact you when your documents are ready for pick up.  You will receive a DS-2019 with Academic Training authorization and a letter for your records. 

Am I eligible for Academic Training if I applied for or was approved for a Waiver of the Home Country Physical Presence Requirement (INA 212e)?

NO.  If you apply for a waiver of the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement (INA 212e), and your waiver is recommended in writing by the U.S. Department of State (“No Objection Statement”) or you receive Form I-612 from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, then you are no longer eligible for Academic Training.  Therefore, it is important that you consult with ISS, Talbert Hall 210, North Campus before applying for the waiver.  Since 212(e) waiver applications can be complex, we also recommend that you seek assistance from an experienced immigration attorney.

How do I maintain my status while on Academic Training?

  • Keep your passport valid at all times.
  • Have your DS-2019 signed each year by an Alternate Responsible Officer.
  • Inform ISS of any changes to your U.S. Address, email address, employment details (location, hours per week, supervisor name and contact information) or health insurance coverage within 10 days of the change.
  • Complete an Academic Training Evaluation E-Form every 6 months and each time you apply to extend your Academic Training. To access the evaluation form, login to myISSS using your UBIT name and password.  Click on J-1 Student Services, then Academic Training Evaluation.  The evaluation form should take no more than a few minutes to complete.
  • Maintain adequate health insurance for yourself and your dependents, and provide ISS with documentation confirming your health insurance coverage.  Note: If you intend to use a different health insurance than the SUNY Medical Insurance (GeoBlue), you must apply for a waiver of the SUNY Medical Insurance requirement.  The waiver must be approved before we can consider your health insurance as adequate.  For additional information on the SUNY Medical Insurance Waiver, visit the SBI Student Medical Insurance Office.  Note: J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors are not eligible for Federal or State government benefits, such as Medicaid.
  • Work only in a position directly related to your major field of study.  Note: If your employment changes, you must submit a new Academic Training application and receive a new DS-2019 before you may begin employment.
  • Apply to extend your DS-2019 prior to the expiration date (if you are eligible).

Step #2: Prepare Your Application Materials

Prepare the following documents:

Important Reminder

If you apply for a waiver of the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement (INA 212e), and your waiver is recommended in writing by the U.S. Department of State (“No Objection Statement”) or you receive Form I-612 from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you are no longer eligible for any J-1 benefits (DS-2019 Extension, Academic Training, SEVIS Transfer, etc.). Therefore, please consult with ISS, Talbert Hall 210, North Campus before applying for the waiver.  Since 212(e) waiver applications can be complex, we also recommend that you seek assistance from an experienced immigration attorney.

Page Updated 6/18