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J-1 Student Employment

J-1 students may engage in any employment specifically listed on Form DS-2019 as part of their program. For all other employment, International Services authorization is required.

On-Campus Employment

J-1 students are eligible for on-grounds employment at the University of Idaho for up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters and full-time during breaks with International Services approval. Graduate teaching assistantships and graduate research assistantships are considered to be 20 hours per week. J-1 students must bring a completed On-Campus Work Authorization Request to International Services before engaging in any on-campus employment.

Academic Training

J-1 students may be approved to engage in academic training outside the university. Academic training is employment directly related to a J-1 student's major field of study and may be used during the semester, during breaks in the academic year or directly following the completion of studies. Generally, the length of this training, in total, may not exceed 18 months or the length of the program, whichever is shorter. Postdoctoral academic training may extend to 36 months.

Throughout the period of academic training a J-1 student's DS-2019 must remain valid, and the J-1 student and any J-2 dependents must maintain adequate health insurance. J-1 students who have completed their studies must continue to maintain health insurance that meets the standards for J-1 scholars and exchange students.

J-1 students wishing to apply for academic training must* bring the following to International Services during office hours:

J-1 students may not engage in academic training before International Services approval.

J-1 students who carry a DS-2019 that was not issued by the University of Idaho should contact their program sponsor regarding any employment.

J-1 Scholar Employment

A J-1 scholar should contact International Services if he or she plans to engage in any employment activity outside the confines of his or her J-1 program at the University of Idaho.

A Social Security number (SSN) is necessary to receive any income for services while in the U.S. F-1 students are only eligible for SSNs if engaging in lawful employment. Therefore, a job offer letter is required while attending school. If an F-1 student has not applied for an SSN before applying for optional practical training (OPT), once the employment authorization card (EAD) is received, it can be used to support an application for an SSN in place of a letter of employment.

Individuals in J-1 status are eligible to apply for a Social Security number after arrival in the U.S. and are not required to provide any documentation of employment.

Many F-1 students wish to apply for an Idaho driver’s license or state ID card, where an SSN is required. If they do not have a job offer letter, they need to submit a Social Security Exception Letter, which can be used in place of an SSN.

For more information, please visit the Social Security Administration web-site.

To obtain a Social Security card, you must do the following:

  1. F-1 students must receive a job offer letter from your department (see Word template of job offer letter) J-1 students and scholars do not need a letter to apply.
  2. Bring the finished departmental letter to IPO for a “stamp” from a designated school official in the office.
  3. Take your documents to a Social Security Administration representative to apply.

Where to Apply

The Social Security Administration in Lewiston is located at 1617 19th Avenue, Lewiston. The office is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

You will need to take the following documents to your appointment:

  • Job offer letter signed by your department and stamped by an International Programs Office (IPO) school official.
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94 card
  • Visa
  • Passport
  • Social Security application (available at the IPO)

The Intermodal Transit Center located at 1006 Railroad Street Moscow, Idaho sells bus tickets to Lewiston. For times and reservations, call 208-883-7747.

International Programs Office

Physical Address:
901 Paradise Creek St.
LLC Bldg. #3
Moscow, ID 83844

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 1250
Moscow, ID 83844-1250

Phone: 208-885-8984

Fax: 208-885-2859


Phone: 208-885-7870

Fax: 208-885-2859