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Academic Training

J-1 Student Academic Training

J-1 academic training is authorized by your International Student Advisor/Resposnible Officer at UC Merced. Academic Training does not require authorization from the Department of Homeland Security or USCIS. If UC Merced is your sponsor, an advisor in OIA will evaluate your application and authorize you for Academic Training. If your DS-2019 was not issued by UC Merced, and you are uncertain how to reach your J-1 Responsible Officer, the staff in OIA can assist you in determining who your sponsor is as stated on your DS-2019.


  • Enrollment in full-time legal status for at least one semester
  • Job offer letter (Letter must meet requirements noted below)
  • Letter of recommendation from academic advisor or dean


Degree Seeking Students can participate in no more than 18 months of Academic Training or a period of time equal to the length of the study program, whichever is less.

Education Abroad Exchange Students (UCEAP) are permitted up to 4 months of Academic Training after the semester has been completed. If the exchange student attended UC Merced for two semesters, up to 9 months of Academic Training is permitted.


Submit the J-1 Academic Training Request Form along with the letter from your academic advisor and employer to the Office of International Affairs at least one week (5 working days) before completion of your program. Once your program is complete and DS-2019 program end date has expired, there is no option for Academic Training.


The student’s academic dean or advisor must prepare a letter of recommendation to include the following information:

  • Goals and objectives of the specific academic training program
  • 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
  • A statement on how the academic training relates to the student’s major field of study and why it will be an integral or critical part of the academic program


The job offer letter must be on business letterhead and include the following information:

  • Supervisor’s full name
  • Supervisor’s telephone number
  • Site of Academic Training Address
  • Number of hours per week
  • Employment start date
  • Employment end date
  • Objectives or description of position duties


Students must maintain health insurance as required by the U.S. Department of State throughout the duration of their Academic Training.  The following minimum benefits are required:

  • Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $10,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
  • An insurance policy secured to meet the benefits requirements must be underwritten by an insurance corporation with an A.M. Best rating of "A-" or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of "A-I" or above, a Standard and Poor's Claims Paying Ability rating of "A-" or above, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above. Alternatively, a policy backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor's home country.