I have finished my PhD at the end of last month (the official graduation will be in a couple of months, but I already have the official award letter and received the last stipend of my scholarship). I have received a job offer and all the documents to start a postdoc in the US, and I'm now completing my application for a J1 visa.

Reading online it seems in the "current employer" of the DS-160 form I should write "not employed", as I am not currently working (even if only for this month). When I'm asked to explain though, what should I say? Should I explain that I have already committed to work for a US university, or what?

1 Answer 1


Did you get some money from your university to do the PhD? In that case write your current university. Else write "not employed".

Write the truth. Do not overthink about the best answer you can give. They will eventually ask.

You come fresh from university, so it is ok not to have a previous job. This is also an advantage, which differentiate you from other visa (specialized worker, but this is especially true with other kind of visa).

  • I did, through a scholarship, but the last stipend I got was for the previous month (August), while this one (September) I am technically unemployed
    – Erigoni
    Sep 16, 2019 at 12:49
  • By the way, thanks for your reply! To add to my comment, the thruthful answer to the question in the form is "not employed". If I select it though, a blank section appears and I'm asked to "explain". My question was more about what should I include in this explanation: should I mention my PhD? That I'm now just waiting for the visa paperwork? And what about my future employer in the US?
    – Erigoni
    Sep 16, 2019 at 13:00

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