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Special employment issues

J-1 Scholar Incidental Employment

In general, J-1 scholars may only be employed by their sponsoring department at MSU. An exception exists for occasional lectures and consultations in the field of endeavor, known as “incidental employment”. All incidental employment must be approved in writing before the employment takes place.

Proposed incidental employment must meet the following criteria:

  • Be directly related to the objectives of the scholar's program;
  • Be incidental to the scholar's primary program activities;
  • Not delay the completion date of the scholar's program.

In order to receive written approval for J-1 scholar incidental employment, the scholar must present the following two documents to OISS:

  • A letter from the prospective employer/host setting forth the terms and conditions of the offer to lecture or consult. The letter must include the duration, number of hours, field or subject, amount of compensation, and description of the activity.
  • A letter from the MSU host department recommending the employment and explaining how it would enhance the scholar's program.

After receiving the above documents, an advisor at OISS will note the approval in the SEVIS database and issue an approval letter to the scholar.

Note: If your J-1 visa is sponsored by an organization other than MSU, the MSU OISS cannot approve incidental employment. Please contact your sponsoring organization with questions concerning employment authorization.

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