TN 54 (02-24)

RM 10211.345 Evidence of Employment Authorization for the J1 (Exchange Visitor) and J2 (Dependent of J1) Classes of Admission

A. DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J1) Status) entries indicating employment authorization for a J1 which do not require a sponsor letter

A J1 is employment authorized and a sponsor letter is not required if Item 4 on the DS-2019 identifies one of the following 12 categories. To enter these in the Enumeration system, select "Other" for the category in the Proof of Legal Alien Status. For more information, see RM 10211.365D.

  • Alien Physician

  • Au Pair

  • Camp Counselor

  • Government Visitor

  • Intern

  • Professor

  • Research Scholar

  • Short-term Scholar

  • Specialist

  • Summer Work/Travel

  • Teacher

  • Trainee

B. DS-2019 entries requiring a sponsor letter as employment authorization for a J1

1. A sponsor's letter authorizing employment is required when one of the following categories is identified in Item 4 on the Form DS-2019:

  • Student, College/University-Five degree levels- Associate; Bachelors, Master; Doctorate; and Non-Degree (NOTE: A J-1 exchange visitor who is in the U.S. as a high school student identified in Item 4 of the DS-2019 as, “Student, Secondary”, is not authorized to work while in the US other than for occasional baby-sitting job or similar job of a sporadic nature that does not require an SSN.)

  • Student Intern

  • International Visitor (NOTE: J-1 exchange visitors who are shown on the DS-2019 as “International Visitor” are sponsored exclusively by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and are in the US generally for only two to three weeks. Thus, very few such exchange visitors would be employed, have a sponsor's letter, and apply for an SSN. However, there are some who are sponsored for an extended stay and they may have work requirements stated in their Sponsor’s Letter.)

2. Required information on sponsor letter for a J1

The sponsor's letter authorizing employment, required when one of the categories in RM 10211.345B.1, in this section, is shown in Item 4 of the DS-2019, must:

  • be written on the sponsoring organization's letterhead;

  • show a recent date within the current program start and end dates shown on Item 3 of the DS-2019;

  • show the name of the J-1 exchange visitor “Student”, “Student Intern”, or “International Visitor”;

  • indicate the J1 has been authorized to work. The sponsor letter for a J1 does not need to show a description of the actual work being performed; and

  • include the title and an original signature of the Responsible Officer for the exchange visitor program.

If a sponsor letter does not include all of the required information, issue a denial letter indicating the required information was not included on the sponsor letter.

The sponsor is not required to furnish each J-1 Student, Student Intern, or International Visitor with an original letter. SSA accepts a legible photocopy or duplicate letter if the information (i.e., sponsor's name, description of program, etc.) coincides with that on the DS-2019; however, the sponsor representative must certify the photocopy by signing and dating the sponsor letter with a wet signature.

3. When to verify the evidence of employment with the sponsor

Confirm, with the exchange visitor’s sponsor, the J1 exchange visitor’s employment if there is any doubt of the:

  • authenticity of the DS-2019 or sponsor letter; or

  • validity of the information provided on the sponsor letter.


SSA has no authority to police or enforce whether J1 exchange visitors actually perform work or the duration of the work. If a field office suspects any abuse of the enumeration process of this type, discuss with management who may contact the regional office (RO) for guidance before taking any action. The RO, in consultation with central office (CO), if needed, will determine whether a referral is appropriate. A meeting between SSA field office management and school officials may clear up any misunderstandings or inappropriate referrals of J1 exchange visitors to SSA by the school. A referral to OIG may be appropriate if a school appears to be facilitating J1 exchange visitors' attainment of SSNs by providing a sponsor letter with employment documentation with no intention of hiring the students.

C. Evidence of employment authorization for a J2

A spouse or minor unmarried child of a J1 exchange visitor is classified as a J2 dependent. DHS authorizes employment for a J2 dependent only by issuing an EAD (Employment Authorization Document such as an I-766). The EAD must be currently valid. An EAD with a future “valid from” date is not evidence of current employment authorization. J2s, without work-authorization (i.e., EAD) but eligible for a non-work SSN must only submit evidence of nonimmigrant status per RM 10211.135 and DS-2019. For evidence requirements for a non-work SSN, see RM 10211.600.

D. Background information on the J1 and J2 class of admission

The J1 and J2 nonimmigrant classification is for exchange visitors (J1) and their accompanying spouses and minor children (J2) who are temporarily admitted to the U.S. under 8 USC 1101(a)(15)(J)of the Immigration & Nationality Act, to take part in an exchange visitor program designated by the United States Department of State (DOS), Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The exchange visitor usually studies, teaches, conducts research, demonstrates special skills, or receives training. In the Summer Work Travel Program, foreign post-secondary students are provided the opportunity to work and travel in the U.S. for a four-month period during their summer vacations while being sponsored by a designated organization or institution responsible for the program. Most categories of exchange visitors are authorized to work based on the type of program, but a few categories require permission from their sponsors. There are currently 15 exchange visitor categories listed in RM 10211.345 in this section.

Information about the Exchange Visitor Program can be found on the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs web site at Exchange Programs (

E. References

  • RM 10211.420, Employment Authorization for Non-immigrants

  • RM 10211.340 General Evidence of Immigration Status and Employment Authorization for a J1 (Exchange Visitor) or J2 (Dependant of J1) classes of admission

  • RM 10211.350, Background Information on SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System)

  • RM 10211.355 Description of Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J1) status

  • RM 10215.115, Procedures for Providing Written Notice to an SSN Applicant

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RM 10211.345 - Evidence of Employment Authorization for the J1 (Exchange Visitor) and J2 (Dependent of J1) Classes of Admission - 02/07/2024
Batch run: 02/07/2024