J-1 On-Campus and Scholarship Employment

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International Services

The Office of

J-1 On-Campus and Scholarship Employment

On-campus Employment

If you are an J-1 student, and you have maintained full-time student status and are in good academic standing, you are eligible to work on the Teachers College / Columbia University campus (or at one of the Columbia University affiliates). However, you must meet these requirements: 

  • You must have valid J-1 documents, including an unexpired passport, valid Form DS-2019, and an I-94 annotated "J-1 D/S"
  • If you are new to U.S. higher education and are beginning your studies at TC, you are required to complete at least one semester of study before you accept on-campus employment. For exceptions to this policy, speak to the OIS. 
  • You can work on a part-time basis (a maximum of 20 hours per week) during the fall and spring semesters and full-time (over 20 hours per week) during summer and school vacations. On-campus employment may never exceed 20 hours in any given week during the academic year.
  • You can work for multiple on-campus employers, but the cumulative total must never exceed 20 hours per week during the school year. 
  • The on-campus employment position cannot be college work-study (CWS) . CWS is a government-funded financial aid program for US citizens and US permanent residents only. International students are not permitted to accept CWS positions 
  • On-campus employment may but does not need to be related to your field of study.

Employment at Teachers College

If you have been offered an job on Teachers College campus, you will need to:

  1. Pick up a 'post-hire' packet from the Teachers College Human Resources Office (112 Main Hall)
  2. Take the packet and have your supervisor at your hiring department complete the appropriate section with information about your salary, title, job location, and hours.
  3. Once your supervisor has signed the packet, bring it to the Office of International Services for a signature from an international student advisor (also see #5, below, about Social Security numbers). NOTE: of you are sponsored by an external agency (e.g., Fulbright / IIE), you must also present an on-campus employment authorization letter from your sponsor. 
  4. Bring the post-hire packet back to Human Resources so that they may complete a Form I-9 for you. Take the signed post-hire form as well as your passport, I-94 and DS-2019.
  5. If necessary, obtain a Social Security number. If you do not have a Social Security number, please refer to the Social Security instructions in this web site.
  6. Maintain full-time student status (12 points or the equivalent) while you are working.

Employment at Columbia (or at a Columbia affiliate)

If you are been offered a job on the Columbia campus or a Columbia affiliate, you will need to:

  1. Obtain an authorization letter from the Office of International Services. The OIS will need to verify with TC Human Resources whether or not you are working on the TC campus and if so, the number of hours per week you are working. If you are working at TC and at Columbia, the total number of hours worked per week cannot exceed more than 20 during the academic year.
  2. Once you have received an OIS authorization letter, go to the Columbia University International Student and Scholars Office (ISSO, International House North, 524 Riverside Drive, Suite 200) to complete an I-9 Form. Take the authorization letter as well as your passport, I-94 and DS-2019). Note: if you are working at a Columbia affiliate, do not go to the ISSO; speak to your hiring department regarding completion of the I-9 Form. 
  3. Obtain a Social Security number if necessary (see #5, above).
  4. Maintain full-time student status (12 points or the equivalent) while you are working.

After completing your course of study (i.e., completing all requirements for the degree indicated on your DS-2019) you may not continue on-campus employment. Any employment following completion of degree requirements must be done on the basis of J-1 Academic Training.


J-1 students may be authorized to accept employment that is required by a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship. This kind of work usually falls under on-campus employment, with the school as the employer. In certain circumstances, however, the work can be done elsewhere, for a different employer. For example, you may be awarded a fellowship that requires work on a funded research project at an outside school.

Students under Teachers College sponsorship must request an authorization letter from the OIS. Please speak to an OIS advisor with details about your particular situation.

Note: employment that is done pursuant to a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship is counted against the 20-hour per week limit that applies toward on-campus employment during the academic year. For example, if you have a 15-hour per week research assistantship, you can engage in only 5 additional hours of on-campus employment (or vice-versa).