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

  1. Employer - writes a job offer letter.
  2. Student
    • Use information from the job offer letter to complete page 1 of the Academic Training Authorization Form (Adobe PDF). You must use Adobe Reader to complete this form.
    • Email the authorization form & and a scan of the job offer letter to your *academic advisor for approval.
      • *If you do not have an academic advisor - You may ask a UNCW professor in your field of study to complete the form.
  3. Academic advisor
  4. International Advisor
    • Review the job offer letter and academic advisor recommendation (found on page 2 of the Academic Training Authorization Form (Adobe PDF)).
    • Issue the student a new DS-2019 showing the approved dates and location of the Academic Training.
    • NOTE: Allow 7 days for the International Student advisor to process the form.

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:

  1. A job offer letter from your employer
  2. A letter from your academic advisor (written after your advisor reviews your job offer letter)
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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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Academic Advisor Letter

Your academic advisor can complete page two of the AT authorization Form or they can write the advisor letter from scratch. The requirements and template for the Academic Advisor Letter are listed below.

Academic Advisor Letter Must Contain:

  • The goals and objectives of the specific training program;
  • A description of the training program, including its location, the name and address of the training supervisor, the number of hours per week, and the dates of the training;
  • How the training relates to the student's major field of study; and
  • Why the training will serve as an integral or critical part of the student's academic program

If you plan to leave the United States after you complete your program of study and re‐enter the country on academic training you should discuss your travel plans with the OIP as re‐entry could be complicated.

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Sample Academic Advisor Letter For J‐1 Academic Training

Your academic advisor may complete page two of the AT Authorization Form instead of writing the letter below.



Dear Ms. Lekeu,

(Name of student) has been offered a training position with (name of company) located at (location) for the
period from (date) t(date) for (# of) hours per week. The supervisor will be (name of supervisor).

The training program will include (description of program & job duties). The goals/objectives of the training
program will be (describe goals/objectives).

It is my belief that the proposed training is related to the student's field of study, and that it is an integral part of
the academic program.



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