International Student Blog
International Students J1 Visa

What are Work Opportunities for J-1 Visas Going to College in US?

Recently, we discussed work opportunities for international students studying abroad in the United States on F-1 visas. Today, we will explore the options available for those in the United States on J-1 visas.

  • International students who are in the United States on J-1 visas differ from those on F-1 visas because those on J-1 visas are typically research scholars, professors, and exchange students, rather than students as is typical for F-1 visas.
  • They still participate in educational programs, but their purpose in the United States is more to receive training, normally in the business and medical fields.

Work Opportunities for Non-Sponsor

Typically, the United States only authorizes international students on J-1 visas to have employment through their program sponsors.

  • So, if there is a professor who holds a J-1 visa to teach at the University of Florida, that professor can typically only be authorized for that position at the University of Florida.
  • However, there are some cases and situations where a J-1 visa holder could be authorized to work for a non-sponsor employer.

One of these ways is through a closely related research program. A J-1 visa holder could work for a non-sponsor if that position is with a research program, which is closely related to the program that the original J-1 visa was authorized for.

  • However, the visa holder could only hold that position for a maximum of six months.
  • Also, before the visa holder starts their employment at that research program, they must receive written authorization from their original J-1 visa sponsor.

The other situations in which a J-1 visa holder can find employment through a non-sponsor include:

  • On-campus employment,
  • Off-campus employment,
  • Serious economic hardship experienced while under the J-1 status,
  • Exceptional academic standing,
  • The hours of work must not exceed 20 hours per week.

Also, college students along with graduate students can become eligible for a practical training program. This program would extend the J-1 status up to eighteen months for student’s pursuing bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and would extend status for thirty-six months for students pursing a doctoral degree. Those who seek approval for a practical training program must apply for it.

Types of Non-Sponsor Employment

  • In order for a J-1 visa holder to find employment on campus through a non-sponsor employer (such as a cafeteria), the employment has to be pursuant to a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship.
  • Since there are many different requirements to qualify for a J-1 visa, it must fall under one of those for on-campus employment.

J-1 visas holders can also find non-sponsor employment off-campus in some situations.

  • One of these situations is if the visa holder is in the United States on a summer work or travel exchange program.
  • The other situation is if while in the United States, the visa holder suffers severe, unforeseen economic hardship.
  • For all of the above situations, the visa holder must receive the proper authorization.
  • If authorized for any type of non-sponsor work, the visa holder may only work a maximum of twenty hours per week, and must have excellent academic standing.

What About a Spouse or Child?

  • For spouses and/or children of J-1 visas holders, there is the J-2 visa.
  • This visa is intended for spouses or children to accompany or even later join the J-1 visa holder.
  • However, not all J-1 programs allow for J-2 eligibility.
  • For example, the camp counselor J-1 program does not allow for J-2 eligibility.
  • If the visa holder has eligibility for a J-2 accompaniment, they must also receive approval from the sponsor of the J-1 program.

For the most part, J-2 visa holders can work while in the United States. In order to do so, the J-2 visa holder must receive and Employment Authorization Document before employment can be started. Unfortunately, any income or monies earned by a J-2 visa holder may not be used to support the J-1 visa holder.

Along with part time work, there are other options for funding international student education in the United States. There are several lenders that may serve international student loans, and Nomad Credit can connect international students to them. For more information, visit We will happily help you find the best option for education loans or study loans. If you have any questions, send an email to and we will happily help!



Nathan Treadwell

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