SnowflakeA snowflake


All J-1 Exchange Visitors at Mercer University are eligible to apply for employment on-campus.

  •  Students can work up to 20 hours per week during academic semesters.
  •  Students can work up to 40 0hours per week during academic breaks and vacation periods.

You can find a listing of all available positions on campus at the Student Employment website. We also strongly encourage you to present yourself professionally and have a resume prepared when meeting with hiring managers.

*Please note that exchange visitors on J-1 visas are not eligible to apply for positions funded and classified as Work-Study.

Students must first apply, be offered a position and then meet with their international student advisor for assistance with applying for a U.S. Social Security Number. When you are offered an on-campus position, ask your hiring manager/supervisor for the following information to be included in a letter on official Mercer University letterhead:

       a.  Your full name
       b.  The position you have been offered
       c.  The department you will be working for
       d.  Supervisor’s name
       e.  The estimated amount of hours you will work per week
       f.  The anticipated start date of employment

Bring this letter with you to your meeting with your international student advisor to being the process. Further details about applying for a Social Security Number can be found below under the Social Security tab.


J-1 Exchange Visitors at Mercer University are eligible to apply for employment off-campus in the form of Academic Training (AT).

AT can be granted for work off-campus part-time (20 hours per week or less) during fall and spring semesters, and full time (more than 20 hours per week) during school breaks and vacation semesters. The AT benefit requires advanced permission and changes to the Form DS-2019 PRIOR to the start of off-campus training.


A J-1 student is allowed to engage in employment related to his/her major if s/he meets the following conditions:

   •  Student is primarily in the U.S. to study, not to work.
   •  Student is in good academic standing.
   •  The training is directly related to his/her major field of study.
   •  Proof of health insurance coverage while participating in AT.
   •  Receives written Academic Training permission from his/her Responsible Officer (RO/ARO).


1. Communicate with your academic advisor from your home institution and obtain a letter in English with the following information:

   •  A description of the academic training program, including its location, the name and address of the training supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training;
   •  The goals and objectives of the specific academic training program;
   •  How the academic training relates to the student’s major field of study; and
   •  Why it is an integral or critical part of the academic program of the student.

2. Obtain a letter on official company letterhead from the future employer that includes all of the details listed below.

   •  Job title
   •  A brief description of your training
   •  Proposed training start and end date
   •  Location of the training/employment
   •  Estimated number of hours per week
   •  Name and address of the training supervisor

3. Meet with your international student advisor to formally request AT approval by providing the two official letters, finalize authorization within the SEVIS system and update your Form DS-2019.

4. Prepare to apply for a Social Security Number if your position will be paid.

Time Limitations for Academic Training

   •  Academic Training employment may not exceed the period of full course of study or 18 months, whichever is shorter.
   •  Part-time Academic Training counts against the amount of full-time employment available. Example, if you are on a 12-month academic program, then you are eligible for 12 months of Academic Training. If you use 6 months of part-time Academic Training before you finished your academic program, then you only have 6 months of full-time Academic Training left after the academic program.

Authorization Deadline

If you are going to complete your program, then you must receive your academic training authorization before the end of the semester. Your SEVIS record must be in active status for the authorization to be recommended and approved. Always be aware of your program end date (last day of the semester/last day of exams). Applying for AT authorization should be a process you begin early.