International Programs and Services

How and When You Can Work

J-1 Scholar, Teacher, or Researcher Eligibility

Visiting J1 scholars, teachers, or researchers with paid employment need a Social Security Number (SSN). Visit the International Programs and Services Office for a support letter; bring your invitation letter from the host department with you. Your host department will help you apply for a SSN.

J-1 Student Employment Eligibility

J-1 students are allowed work in a job related to their major if they:

  • are primarily in the US to study, not to work
  • will be employed in a position that is directly related to their major field of study
  • have completed all coursework required for their degrees, or will work only during vacation periods, or only part-time—20 hours per week—if they are attending classes
  • maintain health insurance coverage while working
  • obtain written Academic Training permission

There are Three J-1 Job Categories

  1. Academic Training (AT)
    This is work experience directly related to your academic program at Michigan Tech.
  2. On-campus Employment
    Employment is limited to 20 hours per week, including assistantships, during the school year, and can be full time during summer and vacation periods. You must have your Social Security Number to complete the human resources paperwork at Michigan Tech.

    You Need to Know
    All J-1 student employees, including graduate assistants and non-graduate student assistants, must be authorized to work before starting their jobs on campus.

    To apply, submit an original employment letter on official letterhead to IPS. The employment letter must include:

    • Employer Name
    • Employer Address
    • Number of work hours per week
    • Job beginning and end dates
    • Job type (assistantship, fellowship, or other on-campus position)
    • Your supervisor's signature
  3. Off-campus Employment
    This authorization is given to students in unforeseen economic hardship due to serious, urgent, unexpected financial circumstances. Employment is limited to 20 hours per week during the school year, full-time during summer and vacation periods. The job does not need to be related to your field of study.

    To apply, meet with your IPS advisor. Submit a brief, typed statement explaining what happened that requires you to work off campus for money. Submit a letter on the employer’s official letterhead with:

    • employer name and address
    • hours per week
    • job beginning and end dates
    • a brief job description

    You Need to Know

    • Off-campus employment based on unforeseen economic circumstances is approved on a case-by-case basis by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
    • You must apply for a Social Security Number after you receive a job offer.
    • A spouse in the J-2 visa category can work after receiving the appropriate authorization. Visit the J-2 Dependent and Spouse Employment webpage for application instructions.