The UNCW Career Center offers several job fair events throughout the year.

Academic Training (AT), J-1 status students only

Academic training, or AT, is an immigration benefit that allows J1 students to work off campus. The work can be either paid or volunteer, but it must be directly related to your field of study. AT can take place while you are still studying or immediately after your academic program ends.

Quick Overview: Process for Obtaining AT Authorization

To apply for Academic Training, a J-1 student must use their Terra Dotta Immigration Portal by clicking the link below to apply for Academic Training. Apply using the link at:


Terra Dotta Academic Training Request Form (click here)

Terra Dotta Academic Training Request Form (click here)

Terra Dotta Academic Training Request Form (click here)


Through the Academic Training Request form, students will be required to upload the following documents:

  1. Job Offer Letter from Employer 
  2. Academic Training Authorization Form with Academic advisor approval
    • Students must contact their academic advisor to review the Job Offer Letter.
      • Immigration regulations require that your job must pertain to your field of study and your academic advisor must approve your job.
      • Academic Advisors can approve your job offer letter through the Academic Training Authorization Form or through the Terra Dotta Academic Training Request, academic advisors will send a recommendation of approval.
      • *If you do not have an academic advisor - You may ask a UNCW professor in your field of study for the recommendation.
  3. Student Information 
    • Proof of health insurance through the duration of your AT.
    • Proof of financial support showing you have personal funds or income to cover the estimated living expenses of $1500/month. (NOTE: This can be your offer letter if you have a salary of $1500/month or more)

Continue reading if you want a DETAILED explanation of the AT approval process. Otherwise, complete steps 1-4 listed above.

Detailed Explanation of the Academic Training Approval Process

Read below to understand the immigration requirements and process for requesting AT authorization.

Immigration Requirements


  • Requires a Social Security Number (Applying for a SSN - PDF)
  • Good academic standing at UNCW.
  • Employment must be directly related to your program of study.
  • Must maintain permission to stay in the United States, in J‐1 student status, and apply for extensions of your DS‐2019 as necessary.

Length of Academic Training

  • Equal to the length of your exchange program (listed on your DS‐2019) ‐ up to 18 months.
    • Example: 5 month program eligible for 5 months of AT
  • All Academic Training is counted as full‐time.
    • Example: Working 1 month at 5 hours/week and working 1 month at 40 hours/week both count as 1 month of Academic Training.
  • You are limited to 18 months total of Academic Training at the pre-doctoral level. For example, if you obtain a bachelor's degree on a J-1 student visa and later obtain a master's degree on a J-1 student visa, between the two degrees, you may not exceed a total of 18 months academic training.

Financial Obligations

  • Maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and any J‐2 dependents throughout your academic training.
  • For post‐completion AT, you must show proof of financial support
    • At least $1500/month for each month the DS‐2019 is extended
    • Proof can be any of the following:
      • AT employer letter stating your salary
      • Current bank statement

Latest Date to Apply

  • Your international student advisor must receive your application at least 1 week prior to your employment start date.
  • You must apply before the end date of your DS‐2019. Once your DS-2019 ends, you are no longer able to apply.

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How to Apply for AT

* Authorization for Academic training will come from an updated DS‐2019*

To update your DS‐2019, your International Student Advisor must receive:

The completed Academic Request Form through the Terra Dotta Immigration Portal

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Employer Letter

The employer letter must contain:

  • The title of the job.
  • A brief description of the "goals and objectives" of the "Training Program" (i.e. employment);
  • The starting and ending dates and location of the employment.
  • The name and address of the Training Supervisor.
  • The number of hours per week.
  • The salary amount to be paid. If no salary will be provided, this must be mentioned. Proof of funding must be presented to cover living expenses before a new DS‐2019 can be issued.

Sample Employer letter:


OC E A N B L U E , I N C .
1492 Santa Maria Drive
Atlantic City, New Jersey 07777

April 1, 1491

Mr. Christopher Columbus
10 Water Street
Death Valley, California 92655

Dear Mr. Columbus:

This is to confirm that Ocean Blue, Inc., is offering you employment as a Small Craft Pilot starting April 12, 1491 ending on Oct. 12, 1492.

This employment will serve as "academic training" following your Bachelor of Science program in Navigation and Aquatics at Parched Desert University.

The goals and objectives of your training with us will be practical experience in guiding small propeller‐driven crafts through sand bars in shallow salt water, without striking bathers.

The location of your training program will be 1 Ocean Blvd., New York NY, 10023. Your training supervisor will be Mr. Amerigo Vespucci, Vice President for Mainland Relations. His address and telephone number appear above on the letterhead.

You will be expected to work for 40 hours each week and you will receive a weekly salary of $5.

On behalf of the company, I welcome you to Ocean Blue.


Niña Pinta
Director of Personnel

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