If I’m here on an H4 visa and I want to do an unpaid internship, is that legal?

UPDATED: Jun 8, 2012

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If I’m here on an H4 visa and I want to do an unpaid internship, is that legal?

I am studying in a state university. But I am on an H4 visa. Am I allowed to do an internship (unpaid) in any private company?

Asked on June 8, 2012 under Immigration Law, California


SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, because that's doing work for which you would normally expect to be compensated and is, therefore, not true volunteering work, which is the only activity permitted in H-4 status.  You can get the employer to petition you for a H-1B visa if they so choose and then you can work for them lawfully.

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