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Employment for J-1 International Students

"Employment" means the performance of services on either a part-time or full-time basis for compensation, financial or otherwise, including self-employment. Although investing is not considered employment, working in a business in which a student is an investor is considered employment.

Full-time J-1 students may engage in two types of employment: (1) academic training related to your course of study, and (2) other employment related to academic funding, on-campus work, or economic necessity.

(Research, teaching, and graduate assistantships, and hourly work) 
On-campus employment includes: employment located on the University of Maryland, College Park campus, and employment at an off-campus location which is educationally affiliated with the University of Maryland, College Park. Employment authorization from ISSS is required BEFORE you begin working.

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(Employment in field of study) 
Academic Training is the name that the U.S. Department of State uses for certain types of study-related, off-campus internships or employment for students in J-1 status. It is available both before and after the completion of your program of study. You must obtain Academic Training authorization from ISSS BEFORE you begin working.

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Although a position may be unpaid, it does not necessarily mean the work is allowed.  Please read this section for more information about unpaid work.

Employee Rights

If you are granted employment as part of your J-1 program, it is important that you understand that you have rights in the US and can get help if you encounter problems.  For example, if you are employed in the US, you have the following rights:  

  • to be treated and paid fairly,
  • not to be held in a job against your will;
  • to keep your passport and other identification documents in your possession;
  • to report abuse without retaliation;
  • to request help from unions, immigrant and labor rights groups and other groups; and
  • to seek justice in the US Courts. 

The US Department of State's Rights and Protections for Temporary Workers website has information in a number of languages about employee rights and protections.  Please review the Wilberforce Rights Protections and video, and other information regarding your rights and protections. 

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