Immigration Regulations

It is very important that you understand and comply with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations regarding employment. Not knowing the regulations is not an excuse from the serious ramifications of unauthorized employment, which may result in deportation. You must obtain appropriate employment authorization before you engage in any type of employment.

“Employment” is any work performed or services provided (including self-employment) in exchange for money or other benefits or compensation (i.e. free room and board in exchange for babysitting).

Ready for some great news?

All international students can work up to 20 hours per week during classes and 40 hours per week during breaks.

On Campus Employment:

To find a job, internship or other student employment,

your best resource is the Career Center. They can also help you work on your resume or cover letter.

A list of student jobs provided by the Career Center is updated here at Student Jobs List. 

Eligibility for On-Campus Employment:

  • You must be in good academic standing.
  • You must be a full-time student, except during school breaks and vacation periods.
  • The employment/internship may not be more than 20 hours per week, except during school breaks and vacation periods when you can be employed for up to 40 hours per week.
  • An International Student Adviser in the International Affairs office must approve the specific employment in advance and in writing.

Application procedure:

  • Consult with an International Student Advisor in International Affairs.
  • Download J-1 Student Work Authorization Form. This form must be signed by your on-campus employer.
  • Submit the J-1 Student Work authorization Form, supporting documentation, and your current DS-2019 to the Office of International Affairs.

Have you heard of work study awards? Work study can help you earn money towards your tuition and other expenses. Apply here!

Off-Campus Employment/INTERNSHIPS:

Exchange students are permitted to have employment training or practical experience related to their field of study. Please note that this is not OPT or CPT. This is called Academic Training “AT” and is specific for J-1 Visa Students. As a J-1 Visa holder, you may apply for a job or internship, both paid or unpaid as long as it relates to your field of study.

Academic training is available at any stage of your academic program, either while you are enrolled in school or after you complete your academic program, as long as you maintain valid J-1 status and can start no later than 30 days after your program is over.

Students are eligible to stay and work/intern for a period of Academic Training equivalent to the length time spent in a full-time course of study in the U.S. (i.e. 2 terms = 6 months, 3 terms = 9 months).

The University of Oregon does not charge any fee to apply for Academic Training.

How to apply for “Academic Training”

Step 1: Apply for the internship or job related to your major. The job can be paid or unpaid (internship or regular job). Discuss this process with an international student adviser.

Step 2: When you receive a job offer, fill out “J-1 Academic Training  Authorization.” Questions 3-5 of Section 2 must be filled out with an academic advisor from your major department and the form must be signed by your academic advisor.

Step 3: Once the form is completed and signed by your academic advisor, turn in the form, along with supporting documentation, to the Office of International Affairs for approval. If approved, you will receive an authorization letter and a new DS-2019.

See Frequently Asked Questions for further information.

Social Security Number

Click here for information on obtaining a Social Security Card.


Income earned by J-1 visa holders is subject to applicable federal, state and local income taxes unless exempt by virtue of a tax treaty. Employers are required by law to withhold those taxes from paychecks. Click here for more information on taxes.

Rights and Protections

If you should encounter any problems, know that you have rights and can get help. The website below informs you of your rights as a nonimmigrant visa holder in certain employment- and education-based categories. The U.S. government created this pamphlet at the prompting of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (Public Law 110-457), which reaffirms and strengthens the U.S. government’s commitment to fight human trafficking and labor abuses. See for details in your own language.