If authorized, you may work a total of 20 hours per week while school is in session. You may work full-time during official school breaks and vacation periods, including summer vacations, provided you are eligible and intend to register for the next school term. The 20-hour-per-week limit while school is in session applies to and includes all types of "Student Employment." A 20-hour-per-week graduate assistantship, for example, would exhaust your academic-year on-campus and off-campus work eligibility.
Under "Student Employment" three types of employment are allowed:
- Employment required by a scholarship, fellowship or assistantship.
This kind of work usually occurs on campus with the school as the employer. In certain circumstances, however, the work can be done elsewhere, for a different employer. You might work in a government or private research laboratory, for example, if your major professor had a joint appointment there, and would be supervising you in work that counted towards your degree.
- On-Campus jobs unrelated to study.
The regulations, in allowing for jobs on campus that are unrelated to study, stipulate only that work be done "on the premises" of the school. That means the school does not have to be the employer, and that you could work for a commercial company, such as a food service, in its operation on campus.
- Off-Campus jobs to meet urgent, unforeseen need.
Your J-1 Responsible Officer can authorize you to work off-campus in the "Student Employment" category only if you have serious and urgent financial need that you did not foresee when you became a J-1 student, or when you enrolled at your current school. Under certain circumstances off-campus work may also be available as "Academic Training," a separate category of study-related employment.
You are eligible for "Student Employment" provided:
- You hold valid J-1 status in the student sub-category,
- You are registered and studying full time,
- You are in good standing at the school that your J-1 sponsor has authorized you to attend,
- Your J-1 Responsible Officer has approved the specific employment in advance, in writing.