There are strict rules defining when employment is prohibited for a student in J-1 status and when that student is permitted to accept employment. These rules are categorized in various ways:, including whether it will be on or off-campus employment, whether the employment will occur before or after graduation, and whether it is related to the student's major or not. Below you will find the rules related to most employment scenarios. Please contact ISSS for any questions you may have BEFORE accepting employment.
International students holding J-1 visas are eligible for any on-campus employment while they remain full-time students in good status, provided their program sponsor approves this employment. Any employment must be limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session, but you may be permitted to work full-time during all school breaks. The rules apply equally to both undergraduate and graduate students and for all types of campus employment, from dining hall services to graduate assistant positions.
The three main employers of on-campus jobs are JMU, Aramark (dining services) and Follet Higher Education Group (bookstore.) JMU on-campus jobs listing can be found on the Student Work Experience Center's homepage or simply by going to this link. International Students holding F-1 visas are restricted to Institutional Employment jobs only (marked with an IE). Application information for Aramark to work for Dining Services and employment information for Follet to work for the Bookstore.
Following are the steps needed once you have secured employment on campus:
Off-campus employment is approved only for a limited number of reasons, as explained below. If you have questions about any potential employment, you MUST speak with ISSS BEFORE you accept the employment.
A student in J-1 status is eligible for academic training - employment - with a specific company related to your major field of study. Employment can be either before or after graduation, but is generally limited to 18 total months. If you are a non-degree seeking/exchange student, U.S. Immigration laws give you permission to accept employment for a period of time no greater than your period of study. Note: Your program sponsor may have restrictions on your ability to accept employment, thereby making you ineligible for any academic training regardless of the U.S. laws.
If you wish to work in this category, you will need:
For a very limited number of students, employment authorization may be obtained based on serious, urgent and unforeseen economic circumstances that have arisen since you began your program. To qualify for this employment you must be able to document that you are facing unexpected extreme economic hardship that was not present when you entered school. You must obtain approval from the RO prior to accepting employment under this provision, which must be registered into SEVIS, and employment is limited to 20 hours per week while classes are in session.