Incidental Employment

All J-1 visiting scholars at Georgia State University must understand and abide by U.S. laws governing the J-1 visa status.  J-1 scholars should NOT accept or engage in employment not authorized on their DS-2019 without first consulting ISSS.

This page is meant only as a general guide. Please call (404) 413-2070 to make an appointment to speak with the Scholar Advisor any time employment opportunities arise. In order to maintain a legal status in the U.S., it is important to consult an expert on all matters of payment, reimbursement or employment.


  • J-1 scholars holding a DS-2019 form from Georgia State University may conduct program activities at Georgia State University ONLY, and ONLY at the Primary Site of Activity listed on their DS-2019 form, unless they have requested and received special authorization from ISSS in advance.
  • J-1 scholars holding a DS-2019 form from Georgia State University may conduct program activities in the field listed in section 4 of the DS-2019, and only for the Georgia State University department (site of activity) listed in section 5.
  • Any payment received from Georgia State University that is in an unrelated field is unauthorized employment.
  • Any payment received from any other entity (even if the work is performed on the Georgia State University campus) is also considered unauthorized employment.
  • All non-immigrants in the U.S. must know and follow immigration regulations related to employment. The responsibility of accepting any type of employment that does not meet regulatory requirements, even if offered by a Georgia State University department, rests solely with the J-1 visiting scholar.

J-1 professors and research scholars may participate in occasional lectures and short-term consultations outside of Georgia State University, unless disallowed by the Responsible Officer of the J-1 program at Georgia State University. Such lectures and consultations must be incidental to the exchange visitor's primary program activities, and must be approved in writing by the Responsible Officer/Scholar Advisor in International Services at Georgia State University in advance. If wages or other remuneration are received by the exchange visitor for such activities, the exchange visitor must act as an independent contractor for tax purposes. This means that payments may be fully taxed.

Although occasional lectures and consultations may be authorized, examples of work that would NOT be authorized are listed below:

  • Employment for which the scholar has expertise but does not fall under the purposes of the program (Example: A Spanish-speaking scholar in history, conducting research in the history department, who wishes to be paid to teach Spanish language classes, may not do so because the scholar's program is in the field of history, not Spanish language).
  • Employment that would delay the completion of the exchange visitor's program (e.g. research at another location that delays completing research at Georgia State University; teaching summer courses when the original program at Georgia State University would end in spring).
  • Any type of on-going employment with an entity outside of Georgia State University that could not be considered occasional or short-term.

J-1 scholars who wish to engage in incidental employment off of Georgia State University's campus must submit the following documents BEFORE accepting the employment opportunity:

  1. A letter from the institution that is offering you the employment opportunity.  This letter must fully describe the terms and conditions of the offer, including:  description of the activity; duration of employment (MM/DD/YYYY - MM/DD/YYYY); number of hours; field or subject of employment; amount of payment or financial compensation; a statement confirming that the J-1 scholar will be paid as an independent contractor for tax purposes
  2. A letter from the Georgia State University host department/faculty, recommending the activity and explaining how it enhances the scholar's program at Georgia State University.

The Scholar Advisor in International Services will review these two letters and make a written determination whether the employment activity is warranted.  The J-1 scholar may NOT engage in employment until written authorization has been provided by International Services.