J-1 Student Visa Employment Options

Employment Options

J-1 Employment

Students in J-1 status may accept employment under certain conditions if they are eligible. If you have questions about or would like to determine your eligibility for J-1 employment, please contact International Student Services. Please note: J-1 students attending IEI only are not eligible for employment.

On-campus employment: on-campus employment is defined as employment that provides a paycheck from Ball State University. Positions include teaching assistantships, research assistantships, some fellowships, and hourly employment (food services, library, etc).

As a student in J-1 status, you are allowed to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week during the academic year, and full-time during school vacation periods. Please note that you may only work 20 hours per week if summer is your first semester at Ball State University. You must receive written permission from International Student Services before pursuing on-campus employment. To receive permission to work on-campus you must submit the permission to work form.   Also please note that you must complete a Form I-9 in your hiring department prior to working on-campus and that your on-campus employment must stop once you complete your studies.


Applying for On-Campus Student Employment

Follow the instructions of the Ball State University Career Center to apply for on-campus jobs.

Academic Training

Employment for Academic Training must be directly related to the academic program listed on form DS-2019. Students may apply for Academic Training on a part-time or full-time basis and at any stage of the academic program and may engage in Academic Training before or after completion of the program.

Academic Training Eligibility Requirements:

  • Students must be in lawful J-1 status and in good academic standing if still enrolled.
  • Academic training must be done with a specific employer or training site.
  • The amount of Academic Training available to students is as follows:
  • PhD students are eligible for up to 36 months of Academic Training.
  • Students other than PhD students are eligible for up to 18 months of Academic Training. 
  • Students whose academic program is shorter than 18 months are eligible for a period of Academic Training not exceed the total program length.
  • All Academic Training is counted as full time (2 months of part-time work is counted as 2 months of full-time work).
  • Academic Training may be authorized for consecutive or simultaneous periods with more than one employer. However, a separate application must be filed and approved for each employer and activity.
  • Health insurance coverage for the J-1 student and all J-2 dependents must be maintained for the duration of the Academic Training period.

Academic Training Application Process:

  1.  Student initiates application by submitting request to ISS.
  2. The student must present a recommendation letter from the student's academic dean or adviser;
  3. Student must submit a copy of the job offer letter to ISS to determine eligibility

The recommendation letter needs to include the following information:

  • The goals and objectives of the specific academic training program;
  • A description of the academic training program, including its location, the name and address of the training supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training;
  • How the academic training relates to your major field of study; and
  • Why it is an integral or critical part of your academic program.

International Student Services must evaluate the academic dean/adviser's recommendation, determine to what extent you have previously participated in academic training, and make a determination of whether academic training can be granted;
Students should allow at least one week for ISS to evaluate the academic training employment authorization.

Employment and Taxes

All J-1 international students must file tax forms. If you work in the United States and earn a salary or wages, you will likely have to pay both U.S. federal and Indiana state income taxes. 

Both federal and state taxes are due April 15 for the previous calendar year. In most cases, a percentage of your income tax will be withheld by your employer each month or each pay period. This federal-government withholding tax is an estimate of the taxes due on that amount of earnings. Every employer is required to report total earnings for the calendar year and the total amount of taxes that have been withheld. This report (W-2) must be sent to the employee and the federal government by January 31 of each year. 

The amount of taxes you must pay both the U.S. government and the state of Indiana could be affected by the length of your stay, a tax treaty between your country and the United States, or your status and the type of employment you hold. By law, international students are only permitted to claim either zero or one exemption on their W-4 forms, unless you are a married citizen of Canada, Japan, Mexico, or South Korea. Questions regarding exemptions, tax treaties or withholding should be directed to either the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the Ball State Office of Payroll and Employee Benefits.

If you have not worked or if you have only received a scholarship (not a salary), you will need to file taxes by June 15 for the previous calendar year. 

The Rinker Center for International Programs provides workshops about taxes each year, typically after spring break. Details about these workshops, including how to sign up and the date, time, and location, are usually announced via e-mail and posted on the Rinker Center Web site and calendar.