Skip to main content

J-1 Scholar Employment

woman at conference

Overview

J-1 scholars may work under certain circumstances. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations define "employment" as services or labor for wages or other renumeration. J-1 scholar employment can be divided into four distinct categories: 

  • on-campus, 
  • off-campus, or
  • for a scholarship, assistantship, or fellowship.

If you decide to have a job while you are at UC, you will need to pay taxes. Visit our page on filing taxes for more information. 

Fellowships, Scholarships & Assistantships

This is employment that is required in return for receiving a scholarship, fellowship or an assistantship. Such 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. For example: exchange visitors may work in a government or private research laboratory if the exchange visitor’s major professor (e.g. department chair) has a joint appointment at one of those locations, and the employment is supervised and counts toward the exchange visitor’s degree.

Available graduate assistantships can be viewed on jobs.uc.edu.


Job Application Process

  1. Apply for an assistantship. You can find available assistantships at jobs.uc.edu.
  2. Your hiring department adds you to the New Hire Checklist.This will take approximately 2 weeks after you are accepted for a job. Someone from your hiring department will let you know when you are on this list. Do not try to complete the rest of this process until you know that you have been added to the Checklist.
  3. Log-in to iBearcatsGlobal and submit a request for Onboarding Appointment. If you will be working for a UC department (Student Affairs, NightRide, UCIT), then you will fill out the "Receiving a UC Paycheck" form. If you will be working for a campus restaurant (Starbucks, Subway, the Bearcat Lounge), then you will fill out the "Non-UC Employee" form. If you unsure about which category your job falls under, contact us.
  4. Receive email confirmation of your request.
  5. Call UC International Services at 513-556-4278 and make an appointment for onboarding.
  6. Read your email carefully and follow the instructions:
    1. Complete the online I-9 form.
    2. Print the onboarding forms and complete them.
    3. Gather your passport, visa, DS-2019, and printed I-94.
  7. Arrive for your appointment on time!


What happens at the Onboarding Appointment?

  • You will fill out your application for your Social Security Card
  • You will receive an authorization letter to present to the Social Security Office
  • You will receive directions to the Social Security Office
  • You will receive instructions on how to activate Direct Deposit (to get paid for your work)
  • You will receive information on how to do your taxes

On-Campus Employment

International students on J-1 status can work on campus 20 hours a week while school is in session. There is no hourly limitation during scheduled breaks. Students are eligible to begin employment immediately upon being admitted to the United States in J-1 status.

There is no limit to the total period of on-campus employment. Thus, you may work up to twenty hours a week while schools is in session, and full-time during any vacation periods for as many years as you are pursuing a full course of study (and not working in another employment category, such as OPT).


Job Application Process

Apply for an on-campus job. You can find available jobs at jobs.uc.edu.

  1. Your hiring department adds you to the New Hire Checklist. This will take approximately 2 weeks after you are accepted for a job. Someone from your hiring department will let you know when you are on this list. Do not try to complete the rest of this process until you know that you have been added to the Checklist.
  2. Log-in to iBearcatsGlobal and submit a request for Onboarding Appointment. If you will be working for a UC department (Student Affairs, NightRide, UCIT), then you will fill out the "Receiving a UC Paycheck" form. If you will be working for a campus restaurant (Starbucks, Subway, the Bearcat Lounge), then you will fill out the "Non-UC Employee" form. If you unsure about which category your job falls under, contact us.
  3. Receive email confirmation of your request.
  4. Call UC International Services at 513-556-4278 and make an appointment for onboarding.
  5. Read your email carefully and follow the instructions:
    1. Complete the online I-9 form.
    2. Print the onboarding forms and complete them.
    3. Gather your passport, visa, DS-2019, and printed I-94.
  6. Arrive for your appointment on time!


What happens at the Onboarding Appointment?

  • You will fill out your application for your Social Security Card
  • You will receive an authorization letter to present to the Social Security Office
  • You will receive directions to the Social Security Office
  • You will receive instructions on how to activate Direct Deposit (to get paid for your work)
  • You will receive information on how to do your taxes

Off-Campus Employment

J-1 exchange visitors may be authorized for off-campus employment when necessary due to "serious, urgent and unforeseen economic circumstances" that have arisen since the exchange visitor’s sponsorship on the
J-1 visa. If you are not in serious financial distress, you are not eligible to have off-campus employment.


Severe Economic Hardship

If you are a J-1 student and have experienced a legitimate and unforeseen economic hardship during your stay, you may be able to get authorization for off-campus employment. Just what constitutes a legitimate and unforeseen economic hardship is debatable. It is up to the UC International Services to initially determine the legitimacy of the request.Typically, we will consider factors including:

  • Loss of on-campus employment
  • Unexpected loss of a scholarship
  • Serious currency devaluation (when the funds come from abroad)
  • Excessive tuition and fee increases
  • Medical bills
  • Burglary or robbery (with a police report)
  • Substantial increases in living costs
  • Disruption of a sponsor’s income
  • Death of a sponsor

If we determine that your situation is a legitimate and unforeseen economic hardship, we can recommend to the DHS through a SEVIS endorsement that you are granted employment authorization by attaching evidence of the hardship. You will need to do the following tasks:

  1. Fill out a Request for Severe Economic Hardship Employment Authorization form.
  2. Set up an appointment with our office by calling 513-556-4278.
  3. Bring all the documents listed in the form to your appointment.

If granted, the employment authorization is valid for part-time employment (20 hours a week or less while school is in session) and full time during scheduled breaks.