Can I have an unpaid internship if I am in the U.S. on an OPT status?

By June 25, 2020Client Advice
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If you studied in the U.S. on an F-1 visa and you are currently in the U.S. on a post completion OPT, you may be wondering if you can get an unpaid internship given that many companies stopped their hiring process due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The short answer is yes. There is no requirement in the immigration regulations that you have to a paid employment if you are in the U.S. on an OPT status. You can get an unpaid internship but you will still have to comply with requirements such as that the internship has to be related to your field of study and you have to intern at least 20 hours per week.

Additionally, the company that will have you as an intern should make sure that it complies with all federal and state laws regarding unpaid internships. Please note that this blog post only analyzed the situation from immigration law perspective and you should contact an employment law attorney if you have any questions about the federal or state laws regarding unpaid internships.

Please click here to find out more about the post completion OPT.

Please click here to find out if you can enroll into another university when you were not selected in the H-1B lottery.

Please click here if you want to find out more about the STEM OPT extension.

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