Frequent question: Does volunteering count for OPT?

Students are eligible to count volunteering or unpaid internships as OPT employment, provided the opportunity does not violate U.S. labor laws. The volunteer position or unpaid internship must meet all other OPT regulations, including that it is related to the student’s major and is at least 21 hours per week.

Does volunteer work count towards OPT?

A volunteer position that is not directly related to an F-1 student’s course of study does not qualify as optional practical training (OPT) and must not be listed as OPT employment on a student’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System record.

What counts as employment on OPT?

You may work for multiple employers (including short-term gigs, self-employment, contract work, or work for hire). … You must be engaged in at least 20 hours of OPT activity per week to count as active employment; periods with activity of less than 20 hours per week will be counted toward unemployment accrual.

Can F-1 student do volunteer work?

F-1 and J-1 students are free to engage in volunteer work as long as it meets the above criteria. For example, it would be okay to volunteer at a local homeless shelter, charitable food pantry, or American Red Cross.

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Can you volunteer while waiting for OPT?

It is strongly recommended students not begin any type of employment including “volunteering” until they have reached their OPT start date, been approved for OPT, and have received the EAD card.

Can you work for free on OPT?

Employment must be within the student’s field for which OPT was authorized (listed on the I-20). At least 20 hours/week (for standard post-completion OPT). Employment may be paid or unpaid as long as the unpaid work does not violate labor laws.

Can I be an independent contractor on OPT?

You can’t work as an independent contractor as part of your OPT. OPT is employment related to your field of study (and authorized by USCIS), and working as a contractor is self-employment.

Can I have 2 jobs on OPT?

Students may work for more than one employer, but all employment must be related to the student’s degree program. Employment during pre-completion OPT cannot exceed the allowed per week cumulative hours.

Can I hire someone on OPT?

Hiring F-1 Students. As soon as an F-1 student completes a degree program, he or she is eligible to apply for 12 months of work authorization called Optional Practical Training (OPT). … This means that the position for which you hire the student must be related to the student’s major.

Can you work 80 hours on OPT?

Students, who are on OPT can work full time i.e. 21 or more hours. However, there are no hard-and-fast immigration rules on the number of working hours of an OPT student. If needed, a student may work for more than 40 hours a week.

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Is volunteer work considered a job?

Volunteers are generally not considered to be employees or workers and usually will have a role description rather than a job description.

Can I volunteer on F-1 visa?

F-1 and J-1 students are free to engage in volunteer work as long as it meets the above criteria. For example, it would be okay to volunteer at a local homeless shelter, charitable food pantry, or American Red Cross. Unpaid internships, on the other hand, do not usually qualify as “volunteer” activity.

Can you get benefits if you volunteer?

Volunteering shouldn’t affect your right to benefits. You can volunteer while receiving benefits as long as you continue to meet all the conditions of your benefit. You should not be paid for volunteering, however there may be cases where you receive money to cover your volunteering expenses, such as travel.

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