Gaining experience through community involvement
Volunteering is a great way to be involved in your community. While volunteering may seem simple, it is more complex than not receiving payment. As an F-1 student you may volunteer during your study in the US as long as you maintain your non-immigration status and follow the regulations below:
- You may volunteer only at a non-profit organization for a public service, religious, or humanitarian objective.
- You may not receive any compensation or expect to be hired and compensated in the future.
- You may not volunteer where a genuine employee could be displaced.
- For more information about internships in the US, see the Department of Labor Fact Sheet #71
Unpaid internships do not qualify as volunteering. Engaging in an unpaid internship without prior authorization may violate your F-1 status. If you are unsure as to whether an opportunity meets the requirements for true volunteerism, meet with your ISSS advisor.