What is Academic Training (AT)?
Academic Training authorizes a J-1 student to accept off-campus employment or participate in training opportunities, such as an internship or practicum, directly related to their major field of study and level of education. Academic Training may be authorized for paid employment or unpaid training.

Note: While students may work for more than one employer while on Academic Training, each employer and Academic Training segment must be approved separately. You may not begin working until you have received formal authorization on your form DS-2019.

Who is Eligible for AT?

To be eligible for Academic Training, you must be a J-1 student maintaining proper immigration status and meeting the following requirements:

  • You must have a valid, unexpired DS-2019.
  • You must be in good academic standing at the Colorado School of Mines.
  • You must have been enrolled for at least one full semester.
  • Your primary purpose in the U.S. must be to study rather than to engage in Academic Training.
  • Your employment or training must be directly related to your major field of study.
  • You must receive an updated DS-2019 and a letter of authorization from ISSS before beginning the employment or training.
  • You must maintain health insurance coverage as required by J-1 regulations.
  • Your Academic Training application must be received beforethe end of your DS-2019.

Note: If you have J-1 program sponsor other than Colorado School of Mines (as indicated in section 2 on your DS-2019), you must seek authorization for Academic Training from your program sponsor.

Time Limits for Academic Training

  • You are eligible for Academic Training authorization equivalent to the amount of time you have studied.
  • Academic Training is an aggregate system and both pre-completion and post-completion Academic Training equate towards the overall total time you are eligible for.
  • Both part-time and full-time academic training segments count towards the overall total Academic Training time you are eligible for.
  • Special Circumstances
    • Non-degree seeking students: Please speak with your ISSS advisor to discuss eligibility and time limits.
    • Ph.D. students: Students pursuing their Ph.D. may be eligible for an 18-month post-completion academic training extension. This additional 18-months is only available for post-completion OPT. Please speak with an ISSS advisor to determine your eligibility.
Maximum Time Limits
Bachelor’s Students Master’s Students Ph.D. Students
18 Months 18 Months 36 Months (18 + 18)


Answering Work Authorization and Sponsorship Questions in Job Applications

These questions are often phrased in a very deliberate way, and is similar across many job applications. Variations include: “Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?”; “Will you now or in the future require sponsorship?”; or combined in some variation of “Do you require work authorization or sponsorship now or in the future?”

Many U.S. employers prefer to know everything up front in order to make informed decisions that will affect their business(es). You are encouraged to be as truthful as possible while completing all job applications. The phrasing of these questions helps employers plan for their futures and determine up front whether they are capable of properly supporting you as an employee.

It is also recommended to work closely with the Mines Career Center to polish your cover letter and resume, and prepare for interviews. The Career Center has the tool Interstride to help make your job search as smooth as possible. Interstride itself has useful information about employers, to include information about employers who have sponsored students for statuses like H-1B and Permanent Residency.

To determine how to respond to these questions, let us first break them down.

Are you legally authorized to work in the United States?

Answer: YES

International students who have properly maintained their status and have been academically enrolled full-time for one semester as a J-1 student are eligible for Academic Training (AT) in order to participate in off-campus work opportunities directly related to their degree program.

Will you now or in the future require sponsorship?

If you answer NO:

An answer of NO to this question indicates to the employer that you intend to use your Academic Training for the full authorized duration, then either return to school or depart the United States. A NO answer tells the employer that you do not need any additional immigration support from their company. If you answer NO and later ask for sponsorship for H-1B or Permanent Residency, the company could possible construe your original application as having been false.

If you choose to answer NO, be prepared to explain to a prospective employer why you have answered NO and what your long-term plans are.

If you answer YES:

An answer of YES to this question indicates that you might need their assistance in sponsorship an H-1B or Permanent Residency application in the future. Granted, the future is difficult to plan at times, therefore if you have any consideration that you may pursue a visa status requiring sponsorship in the future, then you should answer YES to this question.

If you choose to answer YES, be prepared to explain that you currently have Academic Training for up to 18 months (Bachelor’s and Master’s students) or 36 months (Doctoral students). You are encouraged to research the sponsorship process for the visa(s) you may be interested in so as to make the process as clear and approachable as possible for an employer who may not have sponsored an individual in the past.

Do I need AT authorization for unpaid opportunities?

Yes. Even if the unpaid internship or volunteer opportunity is related to your major field of study, you should still apply for Academic Training authorization. The definition of “employment” in immigration terms does not necessarily equate with being paid, and international students engaged in any form of internship should be authorized for AT. This includes students who may be registering for internship credit through their academic department.

Additionally, for all unpaid opportunities, your employer should meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet #71 regarding Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

When can I apply and when can I begin AT?

Generally, it is best to apply for AT authorization 2-4 weeks prior to the proposed start of employment. You must apply before the end date of your current DS-2019. Your start date must be either after your first semester of study (pre-completion) or within 30 days of academic program completion (post-completion). 

When you apply, you must be able to demonstrate the opportunity is directly related, and/or integral to your degree program. You must be making normal academic progress on your degree. 

You may begin working on the start date listed on your new DS-2019 form and ISSS letter authorizing AT. You cannot begin working before you obtain your AT authorization from ISSS (new DS-2019) or continue to work after your authorization expires. Working without this authorization on your DS-2019, or before the start date arrives, is a violation of the J-1 regulations and will result in termination of your status.

How do I apply for AT?

To apply for formal AT authorization and the ISSS letter of authorization, the following is required:

  1. Obtain a formal job offer and letter from your U.S. employer.  The job offer letter must be on company letterhead and include all of the following information:
    • Job/position title
    • Description of employment
    • Employment dates
    • Location and address of employment
    • Salary, if any
    • Number of hours to be worked per week
    • Name, email address and phone number of your supervisor
  2. Meet with your Colorado School of Mines Academic Advisor to discuss the opportunity
  3. Submit the Academic Training Application Form through the International Student and Services Portal.

The ISSS will review the submitted documentation and authorization from your academic advisor. If eligible, ISSS provide authorization on your DS-2019. A new DS-2019 and letter of authorization will be issued for you and you will be notified when they are available for pick-up at the ISSS front desk.

How do I extend my AT authorization?

To receive AT authorization for another semester, or for Winter/Summer break, you will be required to submit a new application through the ISSS portal. To avoid gaps in practical training authorization, plan ahead and apply early.

Remember, you must also be able to demonstrate you are continuing to make academic progress at the time of application.

How do I submit my AT evaluation?

All AT authorizations will require an evaluation at the end of the AT opportunity.Log in to your International Portal account, navigate to your original AT request and complete the “”Post-Decision” task for the AT evaluation. 

Failure to submit the evaluation will result in a “Fail” for the course and could impact your future AT eligibility. 

How do I update or cancel my AT authorization?

If you change employers, or if you change from part-time to full-time employment, you must re-apply for a new AT authorization. Your DS-2019 and letter of authorization must be updated before you may begin the new employment or the change in hours.

If you change from full-time to part-time employment, update ISSS as soon as possible.

If you have been authorized for AT and decide you will not participate in the practical training, please notify the ISSS as soon as possible.

All changes in employment must be reported to ISSS within 10 days for J-1 visa maintenance. 

What is the difference between pre-completion and post-completion AT?

Pre-completion Academic Training

  • Academic Training may be authorized during your program of study. You must maintain full-time enrollment (12 credits for undergraduates or 9 credits for graduate students). Note: concurrent enrollment at other schools is not permitted while on Academic Training.
  • Pre-completion Academic Training is can be authorized for part-time opportunities during regular academic terms and full-time opportunities during regular academic breaks. Please discuss your plans with an ISSS advisor.

Post-completion Academic Training

  • Post-completion Academic Training must be authorized prior to the end date on your DS-2019 expires.
  • For post-completion Academic Training, employment must begin no later than 30 days after completion of studies.
  • Students participating in post-completion Academic Training must provide evidence of adequate funding for living expenses and health insurance during the training period.
  • Any student participating in post-completion Academic Training will be assessed a fee of $75.00 USD.
What is the post-completion training fee?

Post-completion Academic Training is practical training authorization specific to J-1 visa holders for work opportunities following the completion of an academic program. This is considered an optional benefit available to J-1 visa holders who have maintained their immigration status throughout their time at Mines.

Employment must begin within 30 days of the last date of study (the original program end date) and authorization must be applied before the program DS-2019 ends. Please reference the above table for time limits to determine what you may be eligible for.

How much is the fee and what is it applied towards?

The fee is $75.00 USD. This fee covers the continued administration of your immigration record following the completion of your academic program at Mines. Additional benefits of the fee include:

  • Maintenance of the SEVIS J-1 immigration record and issued DS-2019 document
  • Continued dedicated immigration support and guidance from the International Student & Scholar Services office throughout the approved Academic Training period
  • Access to workshops and events about Academic Training and other immigration topics
  • Processing of travel signatures and additional immigration requests

Who must pay this fee?

Beginning September 1, 2019, any J-1 visa holder who has completed an academic program through Mines, whether degree-seeking or non-degree-seeking, must pay the $75.00 fee if requesting post-completion Academic Training authorization.

If you are a continuing student enrolled full-time for the next academic term (or have an approved reduced registration or reduced course load), you do not need to pay the fee. You are eligible to apply for pre-completion Academic Training.

How do I pay the fee?

You can pay the fee by personal check drawn on a U.S. bank account or a money order. Cash cannot be accepted and should never be mailed through U.S. Postal Service.

Please make the check or money order payable to “Colorado School of Mines” and in the Memo line, write your name, CWID and “AT.” You can turn this payment in when you submit your request to the International Office.

Can the fee be refunded if I do not use the Academic Training authorization granted?

No. If you choose not to use the Academic Training authorization, the fee cannot be refunded. If you decide to not use your authorization, please notify the ISSS within 10 calendar days.

Travel & AT

Before planning any international travel while you are on Academic Training, be certain to review the necessary documentation required for departing and re-entering the United States. Click here to visit our International Travel page

The information contained in this web site is provided as a service to the international students, faculty, staff, employees and administrators of the Colorado School of Mines, and does not constitute legal advice on any immigration, tax or any other matter. We aim to provide substantial and useful information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or sufficiency of the information contained in or linked from this web site or any external/associated site. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel. Neither the Colorado School of Mines nor the Office of Global Education is responsible for any errors or omissions contained in this website, or for the results obtained from the use of this information.

Click below to apply for AT authorization through the International Portal.


International Student & Scholar Services
924 16th Street
Green Center, Suite 219
Colorado School of Mines
Golden, CO 80401

Office Hours
Monday through Friday, 9:00a – 12:00p and 1:30p – 4:00p

Main Office Phone and Email
(303) 273-3210 / isss@mines.edu