Academic Training (AT) FAQs
What is Academic Training (AT)?
AT is a period of J-1 work authorization for positions directly related to the current field of study as noted on the Form DS-2019. AT authorizes both paid and unpaid training opportunities and can be used during the academic program or can be used to extend the J-1 program after completion of the academic component.
Who is Eligible for AT?
Any J-1 students completing a full-time program of study. Students who wish to extend their J-1 program for AT after completion of studies must present a job offer letter, proof of funds, proof of health insurance, and an AT application to an IS Advisor at least 10 days prior to the end date on the Form DS-2019.
How much AT Time am I Allowed?
- Maximum of 18 months for students completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree program.
- Maximum of 36 months for students completing a doctoral degree.
- Non-degree exchange students: equal to the time spent in a full course of study, but not to exceed a total of 24 months in J-1 status. Example: One-semester exchange students are eligible for 4 months of AT. One year exchange students are eligible for 9 months of AT.
Are there any restrictions on my AT?
- Position must be directly related to the field of study listed on the Form DS-2019
- Students may work no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during official breaks and vacations.
- Students may work full or part time after completion of the full course of study.
- Students must receive authorization on the Form DS-2019 for paid and unpaid training.
- The AT bank is always deducted at a full-time rate. Example: If a student uses AT to work from January 5 to May 5 part-time, the entire four months of AT are deducted from the bank. All AT authorizations count as full time against the total time allowed for AT. On-campus employment authorizations before completion of the academic program are not considered AT and do not count against the AT bank.
- Post-Completion AT must be authorized prior to the expiration date on the Form DS-2019.
- Each new period of Post-Completion AT must be authorized prior to the expiration date on the most current Form DS-2019.
When can I begin AT?
There is no waiting period to apply for AT. However, you cannot begin the training position before the start date listed on your Form DS-2019.
How long after graduation can I begin my AT authorized employment?
Post-Completion AT employment must begin within 30 days following the completion of studies. However, all J-1 students must present a job offer at least 10 days prior to completion of the academic program to be eligible for Post-Completion AT.
Can I travel home (or outside of the United States) before or during AT?
Any training position undertaken during the program of study does not change the basic J-1 travel requirements. Any travel that is undertaken after completion of the J-1 program of study and during the Post-Completion AT period will require a job offer letter and may require the student to get a visa renewal in order to return to the United States in J-1 status. Students traveling to Canada, Mexico, or contiguous islands (excluding Cuba) may depart the United States on an expired visa as long as they are not outside of the United States for more than 30 days and they have a valid Form DS-2019. The Form DS-2019 must be extended for AT before leaving the United States. If you leave the United States with an expired Form DS-2019, you will not be permitted to re-enter in J-1 status and will not be eligible for AT.
My Form DS-2019 expires at the end of the semester. Can I stay to do AT?
Post-Completion AT is, in essence, an extension of the J-1 program and requires the extension of the Form DS-2019. Once an IS Advisor has approved your application for AT, and you have shown sufficient funding and insurance for your extension period, you will receive an extended Form DS-2019 that will note the new end date of your J-1 program and the location of the AT.
Can I extend my Form DS-2019 if the AT position is unpaid after completion of studies?
Yes. If the position is paid, the job offer letter should indicate the salary or stipend amount. If the position is unpaid, the student may show personal or family funds in a predetermined monthly amount (set by the GU Office of Financial Aid).
Must I continue with my health insurance?
Throughout the duration of AT, you are considered a J-1 student. As a J-1 Exchange Visitor, you are required by regulations governing this status to maintain health insurance for you and your dependents for the number of months you will remain in the United States. See the health insurance website. OGS will ask for proof of insurance when you submit the Post-Completion AT application.
Must I submit the AT Evaluation Form?
The AT Evaluation is a process mandated by the Department of State and outlined in 22 CFR 62.34(f)(6). This regulation requires OGS, “the sponsor”, to “evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of the AT in achieving the stated goals and objectives in order to ensure the quality of the AT program.”
Hence, you are required to complete the AT Evaluation Form, so that Georgetown University remains in compliance with the federal regulations and can continue to sponsor exchange visitors in J-1 status.
Can I change employers?
You can change employers or AT positions only after you have submitted a new AT application and received authorization on an updated Form DS-2019. An AT Evaluation Form is due to OGS within 10 days of ending any authorized period of AT. Each period of AT is employer specific. If you begin working for an employer who is not listed on the Form DS-2019, you are in violation of your status. You are also not permitted to have any break between AT periods during the Post-Completion period.
What if I depart the United States early and do not complete my AT Period?
You must notify an IS Advisor prior to departure. The IS Advisor will notify the State Department of early departure. Early Departure will not impact future applications for a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa. It is simply a notification procedure.
When do I submit my request for an AT period?
If AT is to occur prior to program completion, submit your request at least 7-10 business days prior to beginning your AT experience.
If AT is to occur after program completion, submit your request at least 10 business days prior to the completion of your academic program.
Do not let your Form DS-2019 expire – if it does, you can lose all future eligibility for any AT!
What must I submit to request AT?
Job offer letter which includes:
- Name and address of the hiring institution or company
- Name and contact information of your supervisor
- Position offered including a job description
- Specific employment start and end dates
- Hours of AT per week
- Employer signature and date
The letter should be presented on company letterhead
Indication that position is unpaid or salary information
When can I begin my AT experience?
After you receive the new DS‐2019 Form and the start date for training on the document is current.
Will I need to pay taxes while on AT?
While you are authorized to engage in AT, you continue to be in J-1 status and the income you derive from AT is exempt from Medicare and Social Security taxes if you have been in the United States for less than two years. If you have been in the United States for more than two years, you will be required to pay social security and Medicare taxes.Whether or not you are liable for the payment of income taxes on income earned from AT depends upon your individual situation and tax status. Most J-1 students who earn income from AT will pay some federal and state income taxes. However, we advise that you seek out the resources of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for details. You should consult the IRS Publication 515: Withholding of Tax on Non-Resident Aliens and Foreign Corporations and Publication 519: U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens for clarification of your tax status. These can be found on-line at the IRS website. Check OGS’ tax web page for more information.
How long can I remain in the United States after my Post-Completion AT employment ends?
After the end date of your AT as noted on the Form DS-2019, you will have 30 days to depart the United States. There are many factors that may impact a J-1 visa holder when completing the exchange; most notable is the two-year home residency requirement and the J-1 change of category regulations. We strongly recommend that you meet with an IS Advisor to review your particular situation. Sometimes an employer is interested in extending your permission to work in the United States beyond the period of AT. This would require a change of immigration status.