- International Scholars can only work in the U.S. if authorized under the regulations governing their particular International Scholar category.
- Each International Scholar category has specific rules regarding incidental employment.
- Employment without authorization is considered a violation of International Scholar Program status.
Approval for Incidental Employment
To work for any employer, other than the school named on your Form DS-2019, you must first obtain approval in writing from the J-1 RO/ARO in International Scholar Relations (ISR) the office that represents your J-1 sponsor (WesternU) and issues your Form(s) DS-2019.
The proposed employment must be evaluated in terms of your program objectives and your individual circumstances, and then decided whether it would be appropriate or not. The proposed employment must:
- Be directly related to the objectives of your International Scholar program;
- be short-term and incidental to your primary program activities; and
- not delay the completion of your International Scholar program purpose.
To obtain authorization for incidental employment, you should present the following to the J-1 RO:
- A letter of offer from the prospective employer describing the terms and conditions of the proposed employment, including the duration, the number of hours, the field or subject, the amount of compensation, and a description of the activity for which you are being hired.
- A letter from your department head or supervisor:
- Referring to the letter from the prospective employer
- Confirming that the employment is directly related to your principal activity, is indeed incidental, and will not delay completion of your program
- Explaining how the proposed activity would enhance your International Scholar Program
- Recommending approval of the employment.
If the J-1 RO/ARO approves, the request for employment will be authorized in writing.
Letter of Approval
If the incidental employment is a lecture or consultation then you will be working not as an employee but as an independent contractor. An independent contractor means that you will not have a sustained employer-employee relationship with the person or institution paying you, and will not need to complete a Form I-9, "Employment Eligibility Verification," in order to start work. In an incidental employment situation, your authorization will be in the form of an approval letter to you from J-1 Responsible Officer which your "incidental employer" may ask to see, and which you should keep permanently along with your other documents to protect.
If the incidental employment is sustained, for example, if you will be teaching a course at another school that lasts an entire term, the employer will need to see your valid DS-2019, valid I-94 (white card in the passport) and a letter from your J-1 RO/ARO of which you should keep a copy permanently for your records.