"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