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Office of International Programs


"Volunteering" means donating time with an organization whose primary purpose is charitable or humanitarian in nature, without payment or any other type of compensation. The position must be advertised as a volunteer opportunity and no one should have ever been previously paid for the position. Many other factors need to be taken into consideration when determining if a volunteer opportunity would be allowable, so make sure to contact the International Student Coordinator before accepting any volunteer position in order to protect your F-1 status to the utmost.

International students may not volunteer to work a job that is normally a paid position, nor are they allowed by immigration regulations to trade a service (i.e. babysitting, yard work, house-sitting, etc.) in exchange for any type of compensation (i.e. food, housing, small gifts, etc.). Doing so is illegal and grounds for termination of student status.

For the purposes of F-1 and J-1 student status requirements, students should consider any activity to be "employment" if any type of compensation is exchanged for performing a task or providing a service.

Last updated: June 12, 2018