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Whatever type of employment a person with J-1 status is considering, he or she must first obtain approval in writing from the J-1 Responsible Officer, who represents the J-1 program sponsor and issues the Form DS-2019. Before approval, the J-1 Responsible Officer is obligated by regulation to evaluate the proposed employment in the context of the program and personal circumstances, and then decide whether it would be appropriate or not.
When RIT is the sponsor, the J-1 Responsible Officer is one of the full time staff within International Student Services. If the sponsor is an agency and students are uncertain how to reach their J-1 Responsible Officer, an ISS advisor will assist in getting this information but has no authority to grant employment permission.
"Employment" is work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food, or any other benefit.
J-1 "Student Employment" is limited to 20 hours per week while being registered full-time, except during school breaks and annual vacation periods. The J-1 Responsible Officer can approve "Student Employment" for up to one year at a time.
Type 1: Employment required by a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship. This kind of work usually occurs on campus, with the school as the employer.
Type 2: On-Campus jobs unrelated to study. The immigration regulations allow for jobs on campus that are unrelated to study, and they stipulate only that the work be done "on the premises" of the school. That means that the school does not have to be the employer, and that an exchange visitor could work for a commercial company in its operations on the campus.
Type 3: Off-campus jobs "necessary because of serious, urgent, and unforeseen circumstances" that have arisen since the exchange visitor acquired J-1 status.
Summer employment for students transferring from one J-1 program sponsor to another
If an Exchange Visitor intends to transfer programs between academic years and wants to work at the old school during the summer, he or she must delay the transfer procedure until after the period of employment, and must obtain employment authorization from the old school's J-1 Responsible Officer. This will be possible only if the old school's Form DS-2019 remains valid (see dates in item #3) throughout the employment. To work at the new school, the Exchange Visitor must first carry out the transfer procedure and then apply to the J-1 Responsible Officer at the new school for authorization to work. The new school's Form DS-2019 must take effect (see item #3) by the beginning date of the employment authorization.
"Academic Training is employment related to the Exchange Visitor’s course of study in the U.S. To determine the number of months of "Academic Training" for which you are eligible, see the "Before completion" and "After completion" paragraphs immediately below. In counting months of authorization, part-time "Academic Training" counts the same as full-time.