J-1 Employment Authorization & Social Security Number

J-1 International Students

International students on J-1 visa are eligible for up to 18 months of work authorization, known as “Academic Training (AT)”. Post-doctoral students may apply for an additional 18 months of AT.


  • Never accept or work off-campus employment without authorization from ISSS in advance.
  • International students should not plan to meet their educational or personal living expenses through employment wages in the U.S.  As a J-1 student, you were required to demonstrate sufficient financial resources at the time of application for admission to cover your expenses.


Please review this helpful “Guide To Hiring International Students” by NAFSA: Association of International Educators


The J-1 student:

  • has primarily come to the U.S. to study, not to work.
  • will engage in employment directly related to his / her major field of study.
  • has completed all coursework required for the degree, OR
  • will work only during vacation periods, OR
  • will only work part-time (20 hours/week) if still enrolled in course work
  • will maintain health insurance coverage while working
  • will obtain Academic Training authorization in writing from their Responsible Officer (RO)

Three Categories of J-1 Employment:

Definition: AT is defined as work experience for J-1 students directly related to their academic program at Georgia State.

Application Timeline: Students must submit the completed AT application at least two (2) weeks prior to their program end date or their current AT end date.

Duration of Academic Training: Time limits are cumulative, so any AT used prior to completion of study will be deducted from the remaining allowable time available after completion of a degree.

Non-Degree seeking students:

AT may be authorized for an amount of time that is equal to the time you are enrolled (up to 12 months) after the completion of the J-1 program.

Degree-seeking students:

AT cannot be authorized for a period longer than the total period of study.  The maximum duration of AT is 18 months, unless your period of study was less than 18 months.

Ph.D. students

18 months. If you are offered an established Post-Doctoral position you may be authorized for additional 18-months, for a total of 36 months of post-doctoral training, which is the maximum amount.


In general, AT may only be conducted part-time during the school year, and full-time during Summer and Winter vacation periods. Exceptions include:

  • graduate students who have completed all coursework for the degree and plan to conduct AT that will assist them in the development of their thesis/dissertation
  • undergraduate students who conduct internships that are required of their program or for which they will receive credit

Application Procedures:

1.  Employment Letter: Obtain an original letter from your employer, on the employer's letterhead, that includes ALL of the following details:

  • Job title
  • Name of supervisor
  • Location of employment
  • Proposed start and end dates of employment
  • Number of hours per week
  • Salary (If the work is unpaid, then you will also need to submit financial documents showing that you or your sponsor can cover the cost of living expenses for the period of extension for Academic Training)

2.  Request Academic Training:  In iStart under J-1 Student Services and Academic Training Request Form, complete the e-form and be prepared to upload your employment letter in PDF format.

3. Provide Secondary Approver: In the e-form referenced above, provide the name and GSU email of your Academic Advisor. Your request will go to that person via email for secondary approval. ISSS cannot approve your AT until your secondary approver responds to the e-form request, so make sure he or she is aware of this process, in advance.

For Exchange Students only:

  • You must apply for AT at least two (2) weeks prior to the end date of your DS-2019. You will be ineligible to apply for AT if you fail to apply prior to your DS-2019 end date. ISSS recommends you apply at least 1 week prior to the expiration of your DS-2019 to allow processing of your request. Remember that you may only be authorized a period of AT equivalent to the period of your exchange program at Georgia State.
  • You must also submit a letter from your home university confirming that the proposed job is related to your field of studies, and recommending that you be allowed to accept this opportunity.

4. Complete Evaluation:  After completing your Academic Training, you must submit the online J-1 Academic Training Evaluation.

Definition: On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours per week (including assistantships) during the school year, and limited to full-time during summer and vacation periods. You must obtain a social security number prior to completing human resources paperwork at Georgia State University.

All J-1 student employment, including graduate assistantships, and non-graduate assistantships (student assistants), must obtain employment authorization PRIOR to beginning work on-campus. To apply, you must submit an original employment letter on official letterhead to ISSS either in person or by scanned pdf of original. The employment letter must contain all of the following information:

  • Employer Name
  • Employer Address
  • Number of work hours per week
  • Beginning and end dates of employment
  • Type of employment (assistantship, fellowship, or other on-campus)
  • Signature of supervisor

Definition: This authorization is given to students who find themselves in unforeseen economic hardship due to serious, urgent and unforeseen economic circumstances. Employment is limited to 20 hours per week during the school year, full-time during summer and vacation periods. The type of job does not need to be related to your field of study.

To apply you will need to meet with a J-1 advisor and submit a brief typed statement explaining the circumstances that led you to seek employment based on economic necessity. Additionally you must submit an ORGININAL letter on the employer's official letterhead that includes the following information: employer's name and address, hours per week, beginning and end dates of employment, and brief job description. Failure to include all necessary information may result in delay or denial of request. Off-campus employment based on unforeseen economic circumstances is approved on a case-by-case basis by ISSS.

University Career Services (UCS)

UCS is a comprehensive career center at Georgia State that is aware of the unique challenges facing international students. Their mission is: to assist students with the identification, preparation, and transition into opportunities that reflect their purpose and passion in the pursuit of success in a global society. Many services are available in person or online, so please visit.

  • Location: Student Center West, Room 270, 66 Courtland Street, SE, Atlanta, GA 30303. Tel:  404-413-1820
  • Website: click >> here 
  • Panther Career Net Online Job Search: click >> here
  • Goinglobal – jobs and internships database for international careers with 42 country guides (inside Panther Career Net)
  • Glassdoor – profiles of jobs, salaries, company reviews and more in 11 major countries (inside Panther Career Net)

Social Security Number (SSN)