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J-1 Visa Holders

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Off-Campus Employment

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 the ISSS Office before you accept employment.

Academic Training

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:

  • A written recommendation by your academic advisor or department head, including the type of employment, name of employer and a statement about how it relates to your field of study,
  • Written permission signed by your exchange sponsor;
  • Prior written approval by JMU's Responsible Officer (RO). You MUST receive approval from the RO prior to beginning the employment.

Employment Based on Unforeseen Economic Circumstances

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, and employment is limited to 20 hours per week while classes are in session.