J1 Visa Student On-Campus Part Time Work

Participants may accept part-time employment under certain circumstances.

On-campus employment means that you work on institution premises at which you are authorized to attend. Such employment includes work as a teaching or research assistant, as well as working in the university library, dormitory dining facilities, laboratories, cafeterias, computer centers, students’ stores, and administrative offices. You may either be paid by the institution or another employer who provides services to students at the institution, such as the bookstore or a restaurant located in a university owned building. In very unusual cases, where the university has an affiliation with an off-site employer, the employment may be conducted off-campus but still be considered on-campus employment.

On-campus jobs pay very little and is certainly not enough to finance a university education. Therefore, such jobs should be considered nothing more than a supplement to other funds. 

Beginning to work without or prior to proper work authorization is a serious violation of your J-1 nonimmigrant status. 

In addition to earning additional money, on-campus employment has several benefits, such as work experience on your resume; the opportunity to meet new people and make friends; development of communication skills and various other skills, such as computer skills, learning to manage your time, and juggling many projects at once; and recommendation letters and personal references for future employment or education.


  • The employment must follow the terms of a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship.
  • During academic terms, full-time students are allowed to work up to a total of 20 hours per week, including work that is part of your financial aid or merit award. If you additionally work off-campus, those hours are counted toward the limitation of 20 hours per week.
  • During holidays, including winter, spring, and summer breaks, on-campus work may be full-time, as long as you intend to register at the institution in the semester following the break.
  • Student who already have fellowships or assistantships considered to be equivalent to 20 hours per week are not eligible for additional on-campus employment.
  • Student must be in a good academic standing.
  • If your funding is personal or from family, you must maintain a satisfactory academic performance.
  • If registered full time, you can begin working your first semester at the university, even up to 30 days in advance of the start date mentioned on Form DS-2019.
  • Generally, the student must be full-time, unless they have submitted a valid Reduced Course Load Form.
  • The employment may not displace U.S. workers, but no proof of this is required.
  • The work does not need to be related to your field of study.

Finding Work

The Human Resources (HR) department of many universities maintain a listing of part-time on-campus jobs available. Therefore, you should contact them to find work. You may also go around various offices on campus to find out whether any work is available in which you are interested. You can offer your resume to those offices as appropriate. There may be certain deadlines to apply. If possible, you should try to find a job that looks good on a resume, provides learning experiences, and which might eventually lead to a better job.

Many students may be hired as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) or as a Research Assistant (RA). Both of those positions generally receive tuition, a stipend, and university benefits. Such jobs may be awarded either from your department or another department on campus. It may be required to take a test called the International Teaching Assistant English Evaluation (ITA) before being offered such jobs.

Please note that you are not eligible for Federal Work Study (FWS) jobs as you are on a J-1 visa. Under the work-study program, federal or state funds pay a percentage of a student’s earnings, and the remainder is paid by the student’s employer.


In order to work on-campus, the permission from your supervisor at the sponsoring organization is required. Your sponsor will make the review and approve it according to the guidelines of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS). If you have a non-university financial sponsor, they may require you to seek approval for employment from them.

You don’t have to obtain an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) from USCIS to work on-campus.

Undergraduate grants do not require permission from your school to work on campus. 


  • If you receive financial support in the form of a fellowship or assistantship from your department, you will need to submit a letter from your department supporting your request for work to the responsible officer.
    If you are doing research in a lab, the letter must include the number of hours you are working beyond the hours you are working on your own dissertation research and the information supporting your request to work additional hours on campus.
    If you are in a teaching position, the letter must include the information about your teaching such as total number of hours per week you spend in the classroom, for preparation, office hours, and grading exams or papers.
  • You must obtain written approval from your sponsor if you receive a scholarship, fellowship, or other institutional funding from a source other than your sponsoring institution.

Subject to the maximum limits set by the law, the actual number of hours that you can work is at the discretion of the sponsor.

In some cases, some sponsors have already provided written blanket permission for all of its students. In that case, you don’t need to seek separate permission. 

Once you obtain the approval of your work, you must fill Form I-9 (Employment Verification Authorization form) with your employer and State & Federal withholding allowance certificate (W-4) forms before you begin work. You will also need a Social Security Number before you can work. 

On-campus work authorization is valid for one semester at a time. Please note that an on-campus work permit ends upon the completion of your program of study. However, if the work is in your field of study, on-campus employment after you graduate is available in the form of Academic Training (J-1)

Make sure to file appropriate tax returns (federal, state, local) as appropriate by their respective due dates. You may qualify for some tax exemption if you are a citizen of a country that has a tax treaty with the U.S.

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