Employment and Training


The primary purpose of you being in the U.S. as a J-1 student is to attend college full-time; however, it is possible to work and get experience in your future career while attending KU. Review the following information for more details about training and employment. To avoid falling out of status and being terminated, you must comply with the regulations for employment for J-1 students. You should consult with the Responsible Officer as soon as you are ready to look for a job or internship to find out how to receive authorization.


    You may work up to 20 hours per week on campus during the fall and spring semesters. If you have more than one job, you must make sure that you do not exceed a combined total of 20 hours of on-campus work for all jobs in any given week. You may work full-time during official school breaks. You will need a social security number to work on campus. Review the information below to learn more about working on campus. If you are not sure if a job opportunity qualifies as being on-campus employment, please ask the RO.

    Definition of on-campus employment

    • Employment by KU: A job in any campus office that is run by Kutztown University
    • Employment on KU property: A job for a company that provides services to students on campus, such as KUSSI (bookstore), Aramark (dining services), or PSECU (credit union)
    • Off-campus work that qualifies as on-campus employment: This type of employment must meet the conditions listed below. A letter from the academic advisor or the department head certifying these points must be presented to the Office of International Admissions and Services prior to beginning work.
      • The location is educationally affiliated with KU
      • The affiliation is associated with KU's established curriculum or is related to a graduate-level research project, which KU has contracted to perform
      • The work is an integral part or important part of the program of study

    Eligibility requirements

    • Be in good academic standing
    • Be engaged in a full course of study
    • Have the specific employment approved in advance and in writing in a letter

    Searching for on-campus employment

    • Search KU job postings through the KU Career Network (KUCN) – kutztown.edu/kucn.
    • Search Aramark job postings at careers.aramark.com, location – Kutztown.
    • Call, email, or visit an office where you would like to work

    Employment Offer Letter

    J-1 students must always present an offer letter. A sample employment offer letter is available upon request.

    • Your full name
    • A description of the employment
    • Anticipated or actual start date
    • Employment end date
    • Number of hours you will work per week
    • Employer contact information, including full name and telephone number of immediate supervisor
    • Verification that you have been hired for the position
    • Original signature with signer's title and date

    You may engage in pre- or post-completion academic training, which is training related to your field of study. Academic training may involve sequential or simultaneous activities, either paid or unpaid, with several employers provided the application and approval procedures are followed for each employer and activity, and the time limits are not exceeded.

    All academic training is counted as full-time, even if the employment is on a part-time basis. You may engage in full-time academic training, even during the semester, as long as it does not interfere with making normal progress towards completing your program. You will need a Social Security Number to receive compensation for your Academic Training.

    Eligibility Requirements

    • You are primarily in the United States to study rather than engage in academic training
    • The academic training is directly related to your major field of study at the post-secondary accredited academic institution listed on your Form DS-2019
    • You are in good academic standing
    • You have written approval in advance from the RO for the duration and type of academic training

    Time Limitations

    You may be authorized to participate in academic training beginning no later than 30 days after the completion of your educational program. The Form DS-2019 must be valid throughout your academic training.

    You may engage in undergraduate training for up to period of the full course of study, not to exceed 18 months.

    You are limited to a total stay of 24 months if you are in a non-degree course of study, inclusive of all study time and any authorized academic training. However, since you must be “primarily in the United States to study rather than engage in academic training” your academic training should not exceed the duration of your time studying.

    How to apply for Academic Training

    • Make an appointment with the Responsible Officer.
    • Get a letter from the academic dean or advisor that includes:
      • The goals and objectives of the specific training program
      • A description of the academic training program, including location, name and address of the training supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training
      • A statement of how the academic training relates to the student's major field of study
      • A rationale explaining why the academic training is an integral or critical part of the student's academic program
    • Get a new DS-2019 from the Responsible Officer authorized for Academic Training.

    If you are in J-1 status for an academic year and have good academic standing, you may apply for "off-campus employment based on economic hardship." Documentation would have to show that part-time employment opportunities through on-campus employment were otherwise insufficient. Economic hardship refers to the financial problems caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control which arose after obtaining J-1 status. These financial problems may be the result of losing a graduate assistantship, the death of a financial sponsor, inflation in your home country causing the devaluation of currency or exchange rate, etc. If the financial problems are too great, it may not be possible to solve the problem through part-time employment.

    You are required to make a good faith effort to locate employment on campus before applying for off-campus employment based on economic hardship. If the economic hardship clause applies to your situation, please meet with the Responsible Officer to request a recommendation for authorization to engage in off-campus employment. You may not work off-campus without special authorization from USCIS; unauthorized off-campus employment will result in termination of status. Please note, if you are authorized to engage in off-campus employment, you may only work part-time during the semester, and must continue to maintain a full-time course load. With authorization, you will be permitted to work full-time during regular university breaks.

    All off-campus employment must be approved by USCIS prior to job search and job placement.


    If you earn income in the U.S., taxes will be automatically withdrawn from your paycheck to meet tax obligations. In general, you will be exempt from paying Medicare or Social Security taxes. You are not exempt from paying federal, state, or local income taxes. In addition to paying taxes directly from your payroll, you must complete and submit several tax forms to the government.

    You are required to file Form 8843 with the U.S. Federal Government by June 15 every year for the prior tax year, even if you did not earn income. 

    If you earned income in the U.S. in the previous tax year, you might be required to file tax forms based on the amount of income you earned. We recommend that you always file tax forms because you might be entitled to a refund of the taxes you paid. The income tax forms are due on April 15.

    KU purchases licenses for a tax preparation software for every international student to complete their federal tax forms. You must complete their state and local tax forms on your own. 


    If you apply for a driver's license or get a job, you will have to apply for a social security number. It is used for employer payroll, Internal Revenue Service (federal taxes), driver's licenses and credit history.

    If you are applying for a driver's license, but do not have a social security number and have never had a job on campus, you will have to apply for and officially be denied a social security number. If you get a job on campus at a later time, you will have to re-apply for a social security number.

    Follow these instructions to receive a Social Security Rejection Letter (Driver’s License):

    Eligibility Requirements:

    • Present in the U.S. for at least 10 days
    • Registered in SEVIS

    Social Security Application Documents:

    • Letter from the International Advisor
    • Passport
    • Visa
    • Form DS-2019
    • Form I-94
    • Social Security application (get this online at www.ssa.gov)


    • Gather all documents listed above.
    • Go to the Social Security Office.
    • Keep your rejection letter in a safe place so you have it for your Driver’s Permit application.

    Social Security Number Application Process (for Employment)

    You will need a social security number to receive pay for your employment. You will use the same social security number for your entire stay in the U.S. You only need to apply for a social security number one time, when you receive your first job offer. If you get a new or different job, you will use the same social security number. Keep your social security card safe once you receive it.

    There is no fee for the social security application. You must be present in the U.S. for 10 days before applying for a social security number. Social Security offices are located in Reading and Allentown. Allow plenty of time when you plan your trip to the Social Security office, as there may be a long wait time. The Reading location is within a short walking distance of the bus terminal, which you can access by taking the Bieber bus from Kutztown.

    You will need the following items to apply for a social security number:

    • A job offer, in writing on KU letterhead, from the prospective employer (if seeking employment) which includes the following information (sample letters are available upon request from the Office of International Admissions and Services):
      • Your full name
      • A description of the employment
      • Anticipated or actual start date (J-1 students also need an end date)
      • Number of hours you will work per week
      • Employer contact information, including full name and telephone number of immediate supervisor
      • Verification that you have been hired for the position
      • Original signature with signer's title and date
    • A letter from the International Advisor
    • Passport
    • Visa
    • Form DS-2019
    • Form I-94 (cbp.gov/i94)
    • Social Security application (get this online at ssa.gov)

    Social Security Office Locations

    • Reading and Allentown are closest, but you can go to any Social Security Office.
    • Check Social Security Administration website for hours.
    • Allow a lot of time because there is often a long wait.

    41 N. 4th Street
    Allentown, PA 18102

    201 Penn Street, Suite 200
    Reading, PA 19601