UKIC / International Student & Scholar Services / Student Services / J-1 Employment

J-1 Employment

To be eligible for employment J-1 students must submit proof of full-time registration and good academic standing. All employment during J-1 status must be authorized prior to beginning employment.  To obtain authorization you must submit a request in advance to your Student Immigration Specialist.  See below for specific instructions.  

If authorized, you may work on campus a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session and full-time during official school breaks and vacation periods, including summer vacations.

On-Campus Employment (Undergraduate, Graduate, ESL)


  • The student must maintain full-time enrollment at the University of Kentucky while employed. 
  • Except during official school breaks and the student’s annual vacation, the student’s employment may total no more than 20 hours per week, and he or she must continue to engage in a full course of study while employed. 
  • This approval will be withdrawn automatically if the student’s program is terminated. 
  • The Responsible or Alternate Responsible Officer must approve the specific employment in advance. 

Types of Student Employment: 

  • Type 1: Student employment pursuant to the terms of a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship. 
  • Type 2: Student employment on the premises of the University of Kentucky. 
  • Type 3: Student Employment off campus, necessary because of serious, urgent and unforeseen economic circumstances which have arisen since the student acquired exchange visitor status. 

To obtain on-campus work authorization, students must submit the Student Work Authorization e-form in iCAT. Students who do not have a Social Security Number should follow instructions here to apply for the SSN after receiving employment authorization.

Academic Training (Undergraduate, Graduate)

  • Academic Training is paid or unpaid employment, training or experience related to the major field of study while you are pursuing a program of study or after completion of your program. The total training period may not exceed the amount of time spent in the full course of study. For computation of Academic Training, part-time is counted as full-time. 
  • Bachelors and Masters Degrees: 
    Bachelors and Masters students are permitted an overall limit of 18 months of Academic Training related to their field of study. 
  • Doctoral Degrees: 
    After completion of a doctoral degree, students may pursue Academic Training for an initial period of 18 months; however, prior to the end of the first 18-months period, they can extend their employment authorization for an additional 18 months. Another DS-2019 must be issued to reflect their extension of employment and a new authorization letter is required. 
  • Employment is employer specific, so any change in employment requires a new recommendation from the Advisor/DGS and a new authorization from your advisor in the ISSS main office in Bradley Hall. 
  • NOTE: Students who are subject to the Two-Year Home Country Residency Requirement (212(e)), and have received a waiver recommendation from the Department of State (DOS) are no longer eligible for an extended DS-2019; however, Academic Training can be given for the period of time indicated in "Box 3" of the current DS-2019. 
  • To obtain authorization for Academic Training, students must submit the Academic Training e-form in iCAT.
  • A new DS-2019 will be issued to the student. Employment may not begin prior to this authorization. It will take approximately one week to complete the paperwork. 
  • While on Academic Training, a change of status, new address or departure from the United States must be reported to SEVIS. To report your address, please enter your address in myUK. If your account is longer active, you may report your address to the Database Management Specialist, Josh Burke at

Employment Authorization for Severe Economic Hardship (Undergraduate, Graduate, ESL)

Authorization is given only when it is deemed necessary because of serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic circumstances which have arisen after acquiring J-1 status. Submit the following to the ISSS main office in Bradley Hall: 

  • Letter from you explaining the unforeseen circumstances causing the financial need 
  • Evidence and documentation supporting your request 

Once approved, you may submit the Student Work Authorization e-form in iCAT.

Other Income Employment

International students should approach passive income generation with caution. It is recommended that international students seek advice from an experienced immigration lawyer before entering into any income generation that isn’t on-campus or approved off-campus employment.

Klasko Law is providing free 15 minute consults for students about various passive income topics. See below to sign up.
Request: Nigel James

Name Image and Likeness (NIL) for Student Athletes

Until there is additional guidance from DHS, international student athletes should approach NIL questions with caution. It is recommended that international students should seek advice from an experienced immigration lawyer before entering into an NIL agreement or engaging in compensated NIL activity. Klasko Law is providing free 15 minute consults for students. See below to sign up.
Request: Nigel James

For more information on NIL agreements and international students, please see the NAFSA website.