Employment is defined as providing any type of work or services on either a part-time or full-time basis in exchange for money, tuition, books, supplies, housing, food, or any other benefit.
As a J-1 student, you may be employed only after you have received the appropriate written authorization from our office. Failure to observe this requirement will place you out of status. Also, employers may be cited, fined, and/or imprisoned for hiring persons ineligible for employment or maintaining employees who are no longer authorized to be employed.
Length of Employment: Permission to be employed typically expires upon
- completion of program of studies or ending of the period of lawful stay, whichever is earlier or
- expiration of employment authorizations as noted by USCIS or International Services.
Scholarships, Assistantships, and Fellowships
- If your program is sponsored by an organization other than BYUH, you will need to obtain written permission for employment from that organization in order for International Services to authorize your employment.
- If you already have an assistantship considered to be equivalent to 20 hours a week, you are not eligible for additional on-campus employment.
On-campus employment is permitted, provided you:
- are in good academic standing.
- continue to engage in a full course of study--not required to be enrolled during annual leave.
- work no more than 20 hours per week when school is in session.
- have approval from International Services before you begin.
Severe Economic Hardship:
Authorization may be given when necessary because of serious, urgent and unforeseen economic circumstances that have arisen since acquiring J-1 status; however, employment is limited to 20-hours while school is in session but may be more than 20 hours during school vacations. Apply at International Services.
Please consult with International Student Services regarding questions about employment.
You may request authorization to work off campus in certain limited circumstances that are detailed below.
Academic Training Guidelines for J-1 Students (February 2020)
Academic training is authorized employment, for eligible J-1 exchange visitors, that is directly related to the major field of study (noted on the DS-2019) and exposes students to operations in their field and should not be driven by labor needs of the employer.
Regulations for Academic Training 22 CFR 62.23(f)
- Primary purpose is for student to study in the U.S.
- Training is directly related to major field of study, good academic standing, written approval in advance
- Before or after graduation for up to 18 months in order to complete goals and objectives of training (undergrad and pre-doctoral)
- Letter stating objectives, goals, description of training, details, how training relates to field of study and why it is integral or critical to academic program, with recommendation from Dean or Academic Advisor
- RO determines if EV has used AT, reviews recommendation, makes written determination AT is warranted and the criteria and time limits
- Must be approved by RO and SEVIS record updated
- May be unpaid or paid
- Evaluate effectiveness of training
- Training activities should not be menial and unskilled (see August 10, 2018, Guidance Directive 2018-01, College and University Student Category: Avoiding Unskilled Placements in Academic Training and Student Internship Programs)
- Multiple employers or change of employer – permissible to have sequential or simultaneous training activities, follow same approval process
- No specifics in regulations on self-employment – supervisor at training site and evaluation 3rd party agreements (Subpart A)
- Students are encouraged to complete academic internships (AT or CPT) within the four-year time frame for a bachelor’s degree
- Students required to complete English as and International Language (EIL) courses have a total of 4 years to finish all degree requirements, including an academic internship
- Post-completion Academic Training and Optional Practical Training are not required for a degree and are optional and are not encouraged
- Students are encouraged to return to their home region after graduation and fulfill the university mission and goals and objectives of the Exchange Visitor Program
- Exchange visitors must make a compelling case that academic training is critical to their academic degree and beneficial to their career development. The AT/OPT committee will consider applications from a graduating exchange visitor whose spouse will graduate within 3 semesters from the semester of application for academic training
- Academic training at start-up companies will not be approved
- The university grants up to 12 months for post-completion academic training treating it as similar in length to post-completion optional practical training
- By accepting the offer of employment from the training provider, exchange visitors are expected to fulfill the goals and objectives for the duration of academic training approved by International Student Services and noted on the DS-2019. A second training opportunity that shortens academic training will not be approved.
- ISS will end academic training and terminate the SEVIS record if it receives verifiable reports from the training provider that the exchange visitor’s performance is not achieving the stated goals and objectives of the training.
- Exchange visitor is expected to return home after academic training and should leave the United States within the 30 days grace period (dependents are also expected to return home)
- Academic training must be directly related to the major field of study and may be completed during or after a degree program
- Exchange visitor is in the United States to study and not for employment and is in good academic standing with no university holds (financial, Office of Honor)
- For post-completion academic training, the exchange visitor must complete all bachelor degree requirements before the first day of training
- For pre-completion academic training aka. Internship, exchange visitors complete the approval process in Handshake
- Exchange visitors completing academic training in the U.S. must provide evidence of funds to meet personal expenses (rent, transportation, food, living expenses, etc.) for the period of training
- An exchange visitor waiting for the spouse to graduate will be eligible for up to 12 months of academic training
- Exchange visitors explore employment options for graduation by meeting with internship coordinators, Career Services and BYUH Ohana Network
- Obtain a written employment offer from the employer with the name of the position, a description of duties, dates, compensation and conditions of employment
- Meet with advisors in International Student Services
- Exchange visitor submits the J-1 Academic Training application to International Student Services. Also show the visa and DS-2019 to ensure the exchange visitor is maintaining status
- ISS sends employment offer to Vice President for Academics to review and determine if the training provides goals and objectives aligned with the major field of study
- If training matches with field of study the VPA sends letter to ISS for committee review
- If the proposed training does not match ISS notifies the exchange visitor
- AT/OPT committee does holistic review to determine if the exchange visitor is upholding the standards expressed in the Honor Code. Does the exchange visitor have a compelling or exceptional reason to complete academic training? How committed is the exchange visitor to returning to the home region and what has she or done to demonstrate commitment?
- The AT/OPT committee notifies the exchange visitor of approval in a letter
- The AT/OPT committee notifies the exchange visitor with encouragement to return home if the application is denied
- Exchange visitor brings proof of health insurance to ISS to verify and file
- The RO or ARO approves academic training in SEVIS and prints a new DS-2019
- Exchange visitor begins academic training within 30 days after graduation
During Academic Training
- Exchange visitor must maintain adequate health insurance during academic training
- ISS will contact exchange visitor and supervisor monthly to ensure the exchange visitor is engaged and working toward completing the goals and objectives
- Exchange visitors notify ISS of changes in address and other contact information as soon as possible so ISS can update SEVIS within 10 days
- ISS sends the Academic Training evaluation form to the exchange visitor 30 days before the completion date of the training. Feedback from the supervisor is required.
- Contact ISS three months before completing academic training to make travel arrangements. You may use the International Processing Fee toward your return fare.
- The grace period for exchange visitors to prepare to return home after academic training is 30 days. ISS will close the SEVIS record after the grace period.
1. Estimated Annual Costs
Living costs for a single exchange visitor in Hawaii is estimated at $10,200 USD for 12 months. For a married student with 1 dependent the estimated cost of $31,800 USD with rent, food and living expenses consuming most of the cost.
Exchange visitors should submit all documents to ISS no later than 30 days before graduation. The earlier this process is completed the more time the exchange visitor to make plans for after graduation.
3. Insurance Requirements
Exchange visitors must have health insurance coverage during academic training. Dependents must also be covered by insurance. ISS requires proof of insurance before issuing DS-2019.
Medical insurance must provide coverage as follows:
a. Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
b. Repatriation of remains to home country in the amount of $25,000
c. Expenses for medical evacuation to home country in the amount of $50,000
d. Deductible of up to $500 per accident or illness
If international travel is necessary during academic training exchange visitor is advised to travel with a valid passport and visa, the update DS-2019 for academic training and a letter from the training provider stating the exchange visitor will return from abroad to continue training. There is no guarantee that Customs and Border Protection will allow re-entry to the United States if the exchange visitor is travelling and returning to the United States.
The student is responsible to meet the requirements for pre-completion and/or post-completion academic training including: maintaining active status, health insurance, informing the International Student Services Office of changes in address and/or employment. BYU–Hawaii may terminate academic training at any time during the approved period if program requirements are not met.
Other Employment-Related Information
A Social Security Number (SSN) is:
- a unique 9-digit U.S. government-issued number used for taxpayer identification, income reporting and record-keeping purposes
- required before you may begin employment
- valid for a lifetime--keep your SS card in a safe place
- Obtain a written offer of employment from your employer.
- Bring the written offer to International Services to request a letter to the Social Security Administration (SSA) certifying that you are
- are in good legal status,
- are eligible to work and
- have secured or have a promise of employment
- Complete a Social Security number application.
- Take your International Students Services certification offer letter, valid passport, visa, Form I-94, Form I-20 and completed application form to our local Social Security Administration (SSA) office located at:
US Social Security Administration
Rm 1-114 Federal Building
300 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, Hi 96850
MTTF: 8:00 am – 3:30
pm Wed: 8:00 am-11:30 am
US Social Security Administration
970 Manawai St.
Kapolei, Hi 96707
MTTHF: 8:30 am – 2:30 pm
Wed: 8:30 am-11:30 am
You will be given a receipt confirming your application. Your permanent card should arrive within two to four weeks.
You may access resources directly at government websites for tax information:
- Federal: irs.gov
- State: tax.hawaii.gov
If you worked outside of Hawaii in another state, you may be required to complete and submit state tax forms; not every state has income taxes. You will have to contact the state to determine if you need to submit forms.
We, at International Services, are not tax experts and are not in a position to answer your tax questions. If you have additional questions regarding your tax obligations, we suggest that you access irs.gov for information regarding international tax payers.