Academic Training (AT) is an opportunity for J-1 students (except for the J-1 Student Intern) to gain practical experience working off-campus in a job directly related to their major field of study. For those whose program sponsor is Purdue University, an International Students and Scholars (ISS) immigration counselor will approve AT in SEVIS and issue a new DS2019. An offer of employment is required to apply for AT.

AT is not a different visa status or “change of status.” AT work authorization is a benefit linked to your J-1 status, and it extends your J-1 status for the time you are on AT after graduation. You are eligible to apply for AT both during and immediately after completion of your academic program.


Eligibility to Apply for AT

To be eligible for Academic Training (AT):

  • J-1 students must be in good academic standing
  • Employment must be directly related to the major field of study and must be commensurate with the education level
  • The primary purpose in the US must be to study rather than to participate in AT; thus,
    • Every month in J-1 student status makes a J-1 student eligible for a month of AT up to a maximum duration of 18 months of AT
    • Earning more than one degree does not increase the amount of time eligible for AT unless it is a PhD
    • J-1 students who obtain a PhD are eligible for an additional 18 months 
  • For Purdue University must be the J-1 student program sponsor to grant AT
    • J-1 students sponsored by another institution should contact their program sponsor directly for more information about AT
    • The DS2019 item 2 states the program sponsor
  • AT must be approved before employment begins: a new DS2019 is issued showing the AT approvel in item 5
  • Study Abroad students only: You must get approval from Study Abroad or your home institution stating that they have no objection to your AT.
When to Apply for AT

For training after graduation, you must apply for Academic Training (AT) with ISS no later than 15 days after the completion of an academic program. AT must be authorized within 30 days of completing the degree. Failure to obtain authorization within 30 days will disqualify a J-1 student from being authorized for AT.

If you plan to leave the United States after completing your program of study and reenter the US for AT, you must obtain employment authorization before you leave

Submit your application to ISS as early as 90 days before the training start date. 

Submit your application to ISS no later than 15 calendar days before the request AT start date or within 15 days of completing your academic program, whichever is sooner.

How to Apply for AT

Step 1: Learn About AT

If after reviewing the information on this site, you still have any doubts about your eligibility or when to apply for Academic Training (AT), please discuss these questions with ISS before you begin the application process. Contact our office according to the information on Contact Student Services.

Step 2: Obtain job offer letter

Find a qualifying job and obtain an official offer letter. The letter must be on company letterhead that is signed by the prospective employer. The letter must include:

  • title of position
  • length of employment including exact start and end dates
  • the work address/location of employment
  • annual salary (if paid)
  • whether position is full or part-time (listing the number of hours per week)
  • a brief description of the goals and objectives of the employment
  • the name and contact information (email address and phone number) of your supervisor

If your offer letter is missing any of this information, you may obtain an email with the additional information from the company and include the email with the offer letter in your AT application.

Step 3: Discuss your Plans with your Academic Contact

You must discuss your AT opportunity with your academic contact and receive verbal departmental approval before proceeding.

Your academic department designates your academic contact. The contact could be your academic advisor, co-op coordinator, graduate program coordinator, Department Head, or Dean. If you are unsure who is your academic contact, please contact your academic department for instructions.

Before Completing Academic Program

For students doing internships before graduation, discuss with your academic contact possible course or research requirements during AT.

After Completing Academic Program

For students doing training after graduation, discuss your academic contact to confirm graduation plans. 

Study Abroad students

J-1 students attending Purdue University on an exchange program must obtain written approval from Purdue University Study Abroad or the home institution stating that they have no objection to the AT experience.


Step 4: Complete the “Academic Training Application for Initial/New Employer” E-form Group

Access the e-forms at MyISS>J-1 Academic Training>Academic Training Application for Initial/New Employer

You will need to complete all three e-forms in the e-form group:

  • Statement of Understanding
  • Personal Information Verification
  • Academic Training Plan and Academic Contact Verification

Documents to Prepare for Upload

  • Job Offer Letter
  • Passport
  • J-1 Visa
  • I-94 Arrival Record
  • Academic Training Placement Plan 
    • This placement plan should be completed and signed in advance by you and your employer before submitting to the MyISS eform
    • Please make sure sections 1 through 6 are complete
    • Do not complete the evaluations on page 5 at this time
    • Learn more about the required evaluations in the “Reporting Requirements on AT” section of this website. 
  • Additional requirement for J-1 exchange students at Purdue through Study Abroad: Ask the Study Abroad office for a letter confirming that your home university does not object to your academic training request.


Step 5: Wait for processing

Upon submission of these e-forms, your academic department will be notified and will be required to submit their recommendation before ISS may begin evaluating the request. You will receive email notification from ISS when your advisor has submitted their recommendation.

At that time, ISS will begin processing the AT application. ISS processing time will take approximately 10 business days from the date all required e-forms and documents and your academic contact's recommendation are received.

To be fair to all students, ISS cannot accommodate expedite requests.


Step 6: Receive your DS-2019 with the AT authorization from ISS

AT is authorized by ISS if eligibility requirements are met, and your Immigration Counselor will create a new DS2019 reflecting the authorization. Your Academic Training Placement Plan will be signed by ISS and returned to you. Please provide a signed copy to your employer.

If you indicated in the eforms that you do not already have an SSN, ISS will also issue a letter for your social security number (SSN) application.  

ISS will contact you via email once the AT is approved. ISS will send a separate email when your new DS2019 has been created.

When you receive your DS2019, print and sign it by hand in ink.

Course/Credit Requirement for AT

If Academic Training takes place during the academic program, the student must maintain registration every spring and fall semester. If employment is more than 32 hours per week, minimal registration is required. Employment under 32 hours per week requires full-time registration.

Registration is not required for Academic Training in a summer semester during the student’s program (as long as plans are to register the next fall semester) or after graduation.

Employment Issues on AT


Academic Training (AT) employment during the academic program can be paid or unpaid. AT after completing the academic program must be paid employment.

Health Insurance 

J-1 students on AT must maintain health insurance. (During the academic program, J-1 students must have insurance from PUSH.)

Employment Requirements

AT is approved for a specific employer, job, and training site. A change in employer, position, or worksite requires a new AT application and approval. 

Students on AT must fulfill the job description and responsibilities. Employment must be related to the student’s field of study.

AT employment

  • may consist of no more than 20 percent clerical work
  • after completion of program,
    • must be for a minimum of 20 hours weekly
    • may be remote for up to 40% of the working hours

AT employment cannot involve

  • unskilled or casual labor,
  • childcare or elder care,
  • aviation,
  • clinical positions involving patient care or contact, including any work requiring student on AT to provide therapy, medication, or other clinical or medical care (e.g., sports or physical therapy, psychological counseling, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, social work, speech therapy, or early childhood education). 

AT employment should not involve any position, occupation, or business that could bring Purdue University and/or the Exchange Program into notoriety or disrepute. 

Time Limitations 

AT may not exceed "the period of full course of study" or 18 months, whichever is shorter. An additional 18 months is possible for J-1 students who obtain a Ph.D. 

Part-time employment for AT counts against the 18 or 36-month limit the same as full-time employment. 

Reporting Requirements on AT

You must report all changes in personal or employment information within 10 days of the change by submitting the Academic Training Reporting e-forms.

A final evaluation will be required at the end of Academic Training (AT). If the AT authorization is longer than six months, a mid-term evaluation is required. 

When authorized for AT, you were informed of your due date for your mid-term evaluation (if required). Please refer to the email that you received at that time to make note of your mid-term evaluation due date to determine the submission requirement.

If you would like to start with a new employer, you must report the end of your current employer (including a final evaluation) in the Academic Training Reporting eforms first. Then you must submit the Academic Training Application for Initial/New Employer application eforms to obtain authorization to work with the new employer.


Academic Training Reporting e-forms

Report any change to your personal or employment information during AT by submitting all e-forms in the Academic Training Reporting group within 10 days of any change.  In addition, use this e-form group to provide your mid-term and final evaluations. You can also request an extension to your current employment as well as a new DS2019 with a new travel signature.

These eforms are located at MyISS>J-1 Academic Training>Academic Training Reporting

Report Academic Training Employment Information

Report Academic Training Employment Information e-form is used to report:

  • Updates with your current employment information
  • Extension of your current employment
  • Work location change
  • Supervisor name, address, or contact info change
  • Job Title and job description change
  • Changes in full-time vs. part-time with your current employer
  • Submission of your mid-term evaluation from your Academic Training Placement Plan
  • Submission of an updated Academic Training Placement Plan if the information has changed
New Employer

If you are changing to a new employer or applying for an extension of your AT authorization with a new employer, you must submit the Academic Training Application for Initial/New Employer e-form located under the "J-1 Academic Training" section.

Extension with Current Employer

An extension of your AT with your current employer must be completed before the end of your current AT authorization period.

If applying for an extension of your AT with your current employer, you will be required to upload a copy of the following documents:

  • Passport
  • J-1 Visa
  • I-94 Arrival Record
  • Employment letter with the following information:
    • Title of position
    • New end date of employment
    • Location of employment
    • Annual salary
    • List number of work hours per week
    • Brief description of goals and objectives of the employment
    • Name and address of supervisor

Changes to your current Academic Training Placement Plan could be in the form of the following:

  • Change in working hours (part-time versus full-time)
  • Change in job title
  • Change in job description/duties
  • Change in work location address
  • Change in supervisor information

If any of the above has changed, but your employer remains the same, an updated Academic Training Placement Plan will be required.

Report Employment End Date

Use this e-form to:


DS-2019 Reprint/Travel Signature Request

If requesting a travel signature only, please be sure that your employment information is already up to date.

Check the employment authorization section of your DS2019. If in doubt, please report the information again, and we will check your record to ensure up-to-date information.  

Note: multiple US agencies (such as the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Social Security Administration, Customs and Border Control, etc.) review your SEVIS record for the most current information before providing services, and typically they require that the DS2019 you hold must reflect the current information in your SEVIS record. This means that if ISS has updated your SEVIS record but you do not have a DS2019 reflecting those changes, you may be denied services (for example, if you are traveling, you may not be allowed to enter the US, or you may not be able to renew your driver's license or apply for a Social Security Number.)

Personal Information on AT

Provide ISS with your current physical address, as well as a phone number and non-Purdue email address (required for students who have graduated).

Submit your AT Report to ISS

To submit your request fully to ISS, you must submit this e-form. If you do not submit this e-form, ISS will not be notified of your update request. 

All other e-forms in the Academic Training Reporting group are tied to this submission. You will receive an email confirmation once you have successfully submitted the e-form group. 


Report No Longer on Academic Training

At the end of the Academic Training (AT) period, submit this e-form.

While you are on AT, you must report changes to your status that would result in the end of your AT period:

  • Change in visa status (You must submit proof of approval for any change of status.)
  • Transfer to another US institution to start a new degree program
  • Change to a new education level at Purdue University
  • Permanent departure from the USA and end your AT

Final Evaluation Required

The Report No Longer on Academic Training eform requires the final evaluation from your Academic Training Placement Plan.

End Date of Employment but Not Ending AT

If you have been working on AT and your employment end date has changed or your employer or you have decided to end your employment earlier but you intend to find a new employer for your AT, please report this change using the Academic Training Reporting eforms.

The Report No Longer on Academic eform is for the purpose of ending your Purdue University J-1 Student AT status.

Travel on AT

International travel while on Academic Training (AT) is possible. 

To reenter the US while on AT, you must present the following documents to the officer at the port of entry:

  • Passport valid at least six months into the future
  • Valid J-1 visa (Note: Canadian and Bermudian citizens are exempt from this requirement)
  • DS2019 with valid travel signature and AT authorization
  • A job offer letter from a prospective employer or a job letter from a current employer (recommended and may be required)

You may choose to additionally carry other documents with you to confirm your right to reenter the US, such as your Purdue transcript or enrollment certificate if you are a current student.

For more detailed information on traveling, please see J-1 Travel Abroad.

Important: Do not attempt to reenter the United States on a B visa or visa waiver if you have an expired J-1 visa. Doing so automatically ends your J-1 status and you forfeit your AT. ISS cannot correct or change this.

Travel Signature             

Travel signatures while on AT are good for twelve months or until the program end date on your DS2019, whichever is earlier. Please look at your DS2019 to check if your last travel signature will be less than twelve months old on the date of your return to the US. You will also want to ensure that your DS2019 is completely up to date when you travel.

If you need a travel signature while on AT, please submit MyISS>J-1 Academic Training>Academic Training Reporting. In this e-form group, you can verify that you have reported all personal and employment information as well as request a travel signature.

Getting a J-1 Visa Renewal while on AT

If your J-1 visa has expired and you wish to travel outside of the US, a new J-1 visa must be obtained before re-entering the US. If you need to apply for a new visa, see this guide: Renewing Your Student Visa

If a petition has been filed on your behalf, such as for an H1-B or permanent residency, you should consult with legal counsel in regard to traveling with a pending petition.

Social Security Information

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a 9-digit number issued by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) to US citizens, lawful permanent residents, and temporary non-residents who are lawfully present and authorized for employment. SSNs are used to track individual income for taxation purposes. The SSN is not used for identification purposes.

In addition to obtaining authorization for employment, international students must obtain a SSN from the SSA. Currently, SSNs are only issued to non-residents who have been granted employment authorization.

Once your Academic Training (AT) is approved by ISS, we will also issue you a letter for the Social Security Administration. You will need to have your new DS2019 with the AT authorization and this letter to apply for the SSN. You can apply up to 30 days before the AT start date.

The SSA provides information for international students on how to apply for a SSN on this site.

The SSA office in Lafayette accepts only walk-ins for SSN applicants. Before visiting the SSA office, students must complete their Online Service To Obtain A Social Security Number Card.

SSA Lafayette Office Address

10 South 2nd Street Lafayette, IN 47901-1216

SSA Lafayette Office Phone Number


SSN for Life

Once issued, your SSN is yours for life. Keep your card in a safe place along with your other important documents. If you lose your SSN card, you must apply for a replacement card and show proof of current employment.

Grace Period and AT

There is a 30-day grace period upon completion of your J-1 academic program.

You must apply for Academic Training (AT) with ISS no later than 15 days after the completion of an academic program. AT must be authorized within 30 days of completing the degree. Failure to obtain authorization within 30 days will disqualify a J-1 student from being authorized for AT.

If you plan to leave the United States after completing your program of study and reenter the US for AT, you must obtain employment authorization before you leave

Upon completion of the AT period, there is a 30-day grace period again. If you can’t/don’t take action to extend or change status, you must exit the US before the end of this grace period. You should submit MyISS>J-1 Academic Training>Report No Longer on Academic Training.