J-1 students may engage in three kinds of employment:

On-campus Employment

J-1 students in good standing are eligible for on-campus employment authorization. Employment is limited to 20 hours a week except for official school breaks and the student’s annual vacation, when it may be full-time. Like all employment in J-1 student status, on-campus employment must be authorized in advance.

Academic Training

Academic training must be related to a student’s field of study. It can be paid or unpaid during studies. Post-completion Academic Training must be paid. A program sponsor must evaluate the effectiveness and appropriateness of the academic training in achieving the stated goals and objectives in order to ensure the quality of the academic training program.

Economic Necessity

Economic necessity is employment that occurs off-campus, which is necessary because of serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic circumstances that have arisen since acquiring exchange visitor status.

Employment Workshops

If you are interested in working on campus or off-campus during or after your program completion, we highly encourage you to watch the online employment workshops and review the Workshop "Employment and Training Options for J-1 International Students Before and After Graduation".  You always need to request written permission from your J-1 advisor before you begin work.

In the video "On-campus Employment," participants will review:

  • Eligibility criteria
  • Maximum hours
  • Required forms

Link: https://oips.gmu.edu/j-1-on-campus-employment/

In the video "Academic Training," participants will review:

  • Eligibility criteria
  • Maximum length
  • Required forms

Link: https://oips.gmu.edu/academic-training/

US Taxation and International Visitors

The basics:

  • US sourced income is potentially taxed and reportable*
  • US income is taxed based upon the person’s tax status and the income type
  • Anyone with reportable income is required to have a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer ID Number
  • Anyone receiving income from Mason should visit the International Tax Office

Click here to learn more about US taxation for international visitors.

*U.S. sourced income is any payment from sources within the U.S.  Examples include wages and salary income paid by a U.S. employer, payments for services performed in the U.S., scholarships paid by U.S. Grantors.

Unpaid Internships

The areas of law governing unpaid internships include:

  • immigration law, which governs non-immigrant status and F-1 employment authorization, and
    labor law, which governs regulations concerning the workplace and fair labor practices. The definition of “volunteer,” and the conditions under which an internship may be unpaid, are important aspects of US labor law.
  • Under the law, volunteering is the donation of time to a not-for-profit organization with a charitable or humanitarian mission. Volunteers give their time without any expectation of payment, remuneration or compensation. Internships, whether paid or unpaid, are typically offered within the corporate or private sector. In contrast to the purpose of volunteering, an internship is not a donation of time for charity. Internships are designed to provide training and practical experience to the intern.

The US Department of Labor provides guidelines for prospective interns and employers.  To learn more, click here.

The following six criteria must be met in the case of an unpaid internship:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regulator employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasions its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

A detailed explanation of each of the criteria may be found on the website of the US Department of Labor.  To learn more, click here.