J-1 Employment and Training

The following information is intended only as a reference about employment and training for students with a J-1 visa type. If you have specific questions or concerns, speak directly with an international student advisor in International Student Services by emailing international@case.edu or stopping by Tomlinson Hall, Room 143.

As a J-1 student, you are eligible for a variety of work opportunities in the United States, based on two different types of employment with their own criteria and limits:

  • employment related to academic funding, on-campus work, or economic necessity, and

  • academic training related to the course of study.

Employment without proper authorization is a serious violation of your status so remember that before you start any kind of employment, you must first consult your sponsor, whose written approval is necessary in advance.

Employment Related to Academic Funding, On-campus Work or Economic Necessity

J-1 students may engage in employment if they:

  • are engaged in a full-time course load during the academic year
  • work no more than 20 hours per week during the academic year (more work may be done during designated official school breaks),
  • receive written authorization from their sponsor.

Procedure for CWRU Sponsored Students

ISS can either provide or obtain the required written authorization for employment in all three instances. For students receiving academic funding, the student and ISS will work with the academic department to verify the work.

Students pursuing on-campus work can complete and submit an Employment Verification Form to ISS. Students seeking employment based on economic necessity should consult with an international student advisor to obtain the written authorization.

On-campus employment is work performed on the Case Western Reserve University campus and compensated by the university. An on-campus employer might be an academic department or the bookstore, for example.

Students working in hourly, paid positions through the Office of Student Employment must read through the information and complete the steps provided in the Employment Verification and Social Security Number Instructions packet to be properly authorized by ISS.

Students who receive scholarships, fellowships or assistantships with work components are also considered to be working on campus; however, their process is managed by Graduate Student Payroll.  Students paid through Graduate Student Payroll are not required to complete the same steps as those paid by Student Employment unless they need to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN). 

Work at an off-campus location that is educationally affiliated with CWRU may also be considered on-campus. This affiliation must be associated with CWRU's established curriculum or be related to a contractually funded graduate level research project which a program or department at CWRU has agreed to perform. Such employment must be an integral part of the student's program of study. Students should consult with an international student advisor about such an opportunity before commencing work to be sure that it meets the government’s definition of on-campus employment. In most cases, off-campus work authorization will be recommended for the student.

There are several steps that must be completed if you plan to work on-campus through the Office of Student Employment.  Visit their website for a full explanation of the Employment Process.

Employment Verification is provided by ISS and must be taken to the Office of Student Employment for processing before you begin working.  You can drop off Employment Verification to be completed by an ISS staff member and you will be notified by email when you can return to the office to collect completed paperwork.

In general, Employment Verification only needs to be completed once during the time that you're enrolled at CWRU so long as your are properly maintaining your visa status; however, you will have to complete hiring/maintenance forms with Student Employment as needed.

If you are already working for your department and being paid by Graduate Payroll because you receive a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship, you may not be eligible for additional on-campus work.

Remember, you’re limited to working 20 hours per week during the academic year.

In order for ISS to determine your eligibility, a department representative will need to verify your present working commitments. An advisor in ISS will evaluate the information and advise you accordingly.

If you work on campus without proper work authorization, that's a serious problem. 

ISS has a policy outlining how we handle work authorization violations and the serious consequences of this action. 

Procedure for Students Not Sponsored by CWRU

Contact your sponsor to go over the required steps and procedures to obtain written employment authorization.

Keep in mind that your plans to work can directly impact your plans to transfer and vice versa. You must have an active DS-2019 and written authorization from your sponsor who issued that active DS-2019 in order to be eligible to work. If you have questions about this, be sure to consult with your sponsor about the timing of your transfer.

Academic Training

A J‑1 student is eligible to participate in academic training while enrolled in school or after completion of the program if the sponsor deems the specific opportunity to be directly related to the field of study as listed on the DS-2019.

Written approval of the academic training must be provided by the sponsor before completion of the program for an opportunity to be done upon completion of the academic program. Academic training may be either paid or unpaid.

A student at the undergraduate or master’s level is eligible to work in academic training one month for each month spent in the academic program, up to 18 months. Students who have completed doctoral programs may be authorized up to 36 months to engage in postdoctoral research training.

Procedures for CWRU Sponsored Students

Complete and submit the J-1 Academic Training application to Terra Dotta.  If you are currently enrolled in coursework, you can use single sign-on to log in.  If you have graduated, separate credentials for logging in must be provided.  If you do not have those credentials, please email international@case.edu so that we can provide them.

After you submit your completed application, an ISS staff member will review the documents. An updated DS-2019 reflecting Academic Training authorization will be issued to eligible students.

Be sure to set up an appointment with an international student advisor in advance if you have any questions or concerns.

Procedures for Sponsored Students

Consult with your sponsor about the procedure and standards for granting academic training.