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Volunteering is donating time with an organization whose primary purpose is charitable or humanitarian. The student should not receive remuneration or any other type of compensation, and the activity should be unrelated to to their field of study or intended profession. F-1 and J-1 status allow this kind of volunteer activity without special permission.

Important: Just because a position is unpaid (like an unpaid internship), it might not be volunteering according to immigration rules. If the activity relates to a student’s studies or intended profession, it is likely considered training, and requires advance authorization from VIS or USCIS.

Please speak to your VIS advisor before engaging in any volunteering opportunity.