Can I work on an unpaid internship,if I’man H4 visa holder?

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Can I work on an unpaid internship,if I’man H4 visa holder?

I’m currently an H-4 visa holder, studying at a university. I have been offered an unpaid internship and I wanted to check if there are any restrictions on doing that. My employer indicates giving stock options as a possibility for the internship. Can I accept them?

Asked on October 4, 2011 under Immigration Law, Texas

Answers:

SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, as a H-4 visa holder, you are not permitted to work or get paid in any way.  If you want to do a paid internship (stock options are a form of compensation), the employer would need to petition you for a H-1B visa and that petition would need to be approved and then you would be authorized to work for that employer.  In the alternative, you can look into curricular practical training or optional practical training if you are finishing your studies and that is a way for you to get paid for the work you are doing at the employer site.  If you accept employment while you are not authorized to do so, it can have negative impact on your ability to immigrate later because there will be a record of your social security number receiving payments while you are not authorized to be employed.


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