Hands-on 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 a J-1 student you may volunteer during your study in the US as long as you maintain your non-immigrant status and follow the regulations below:
- You may volunteer only at a non-profit organization for a public service, religious, or humanitarian objective in areas not related to your major field of study.
- You may not receive any form of compensation and should not expect to be hired and compensated in the future.
- You may not volunteer where a genuine employee could be displaced.
Unpaid internships do not qualify as volunteering. Engaging in an unpaid internship requires prior authorization of academic training and failure to obtain this prior authorization will violate your J-1 status. If you are unsure as to whether an opportunity meets the requirements for true volunteerism, meet with your ISSS advisor.