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

Published: 06/26/2020


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.

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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.


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