Current J-1 Students: Employment
International students that hold a J-1 student visa are permitted to work on campus with authorization from ISSS. On-campus employment is defined as work done on the premises of the school. A J-1 student may be authorized to work on campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and up to 36 hours per week during summer and official University holiday breaks.
You may request on-campus work authorization via iCats. To authorize a J-1 student work on campus, ISSS must receive an offer letter for the position for which the student will work. The offer letter must be on official letterhead and must include the following.
- Employer name (this may be part of the letterhead)
- Employer address (this may be part of the letterhead)
- Title of position
- Number of hours per week (note limits above)
- Employment start date
- Employment end date
Students with graduate assistantships: Please ask your department to complete this letter template [PDF]. The letter must be prepared on the department letterhead. Students who will be working different numbers of hours in different semesters should submit separate letters each semester.
Students without graduate assistantships: Please ask your employer to complete this letter template. The letter must be prepared on the department letterhead. Students who will be working different numbers of hours in different semesters should submit separate letters each semester.
Do not begin working until you have received authorization from ISSS.
Once you complete your academic program, you are no longer eligible for on-campus employment unless you have obtained employment authorization based on academic training.
Academic training is employment authorization for work related to a student's field of study. It can be issued for full-time or part-time employment. In order to be eligible:
- You must have a job offer in your field of study and submit a completed Academic Training application to ISSS.
- You must be completing a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree program or have completed a semester or year at OHIO as an exchange student.
- You must also be in good academic standing.
Time allotted for academic training may not exceed a period of time equal to your full course of study or 18 months, whichever is shorter. If you are working on a PhD program, you are allowed 36 months total of academic training. Completing multiple degrees does not increase the amount of time available to you for academic training. The training can take place during the academic program or after.
You can learn more about Academic Training by attending one of our Academic Training workshops. Register for an upcoming workshop in iCats, under “Session Sign-Ups”.
How To Apply
Log into iCats and submit the "Academic Training (AT) Request" e-form, found under J-1 Student Services. You will be required to upload PDF copies of the following documents:
- Academic Training Recommendation Form [PDF] completed by your Academic Advisor
- Job offer letter which includes:
- Name and address of the institution or company where the academic training will take place
- Name and contact information of your supervisor
- Position offered including a description of the experience
- Specific employment start and end dates
- Number of hours of academic training each week
- Original signature
The offer must be printed on letterhead. Scanned copies of the letter are acceptable. However, we cannot accept offers made via email that do not contain a scanned letter.
Volunteer work with local charitable organizations does not require work authorization. The work must not be compensated in any way. Examples of this type of volunteer work include serving in a soup kitchen, helping take care of animals at a shelter, or providing free tutoring to school children. You can find information about local volunteer opportunities at the Campus Involvement Center.
Unpaid internships are different than volunteer work, and are more complex. Internships, both paid and unpaid, are primarily offered by the private sector and are related to the intern’s major field of study. The U.S. Department of Labor has guidelines for those seeking an unpaid internship(opens in a new window).
The following six criteria must be met for an internship to be considered a legitimate unpaid internship (and not employment below minimum wage, in violation of Department of Labor laws):
- The internship, even though it includes actual operation on the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
- The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
- The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
- The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion, its operations may actually be impeded;
- The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
- The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship
Working Without Compensation
It is never legal for a J-1 student to offer to perform work for free, if that work would normally be paid. This includes work performed on campus, in labs, or for research. Performing work that should be paid, without receiving salary, is a violation of both immigration and Department of Labor requirements.
Name, Image, Likeness
U.S. laws allow student athletes to earn money based on a policy called Name, Image, Likeness (NIL). However, the immigration rules about employment override the NIL rules. International students must be very cautious when exploring NIL options so as not to violate their student visa. Athletes will need to consult with both ISSS and an immigration attorney before accepting any NIL offers. ISSS and University Athletics prepared an informational form to help students understand the complexity of NIL and student visas.