F-1 and J-1 Students on Practical or Academic Training

An international student who will complete a degree at a university in the United States may be eligible to apply for a period of training and employment authorization in the field of study immediately upon degree completion. An F-1 student may be eligible for a 12 month period of “practical training,” with possible extension if the degree was in a STEM field. A J-1 student may be eligible for 18 months of "academic training,” with possible extension if the student completed a doctorate and will do postdoctoral research. Upon completion of practical or academic training, it may be possible to apply to USCIS for change of status, to H-1B or J-1 scholar, for continued employment.

F-1 and J-1 students may apply for practical or academic training in advance of receiving their degrees through the international students office at their university. MIT DLCs should urge prospective practical or academic trainees to apply for this permission well in advance of the proposed start of MIT appointment or employment. USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), a small laminated card, as proof of employment eligibility to F-1 practical trainees. J-1s do not need EADs but should possess evidence of academic training authorization with a valid Form DS-2019 and employment letter. F-1 and J-1 students on practical and academic training who hold MIT academic or research staff appointments must register at ISchO upon arrival. See J-1 Exchange Visitor (Scholar), for information on J-2 dependents and the two-year foreign residence requirement for J-1 visa holders.


Practical and academic trainees may be paid a salary by MIT, receive a fellowship from an outside organization, or receive funding from other sources. Details should be sought from the institution that sponsored the F-1 or J-1 student visa.

Page updated March 2023