I have been attending school in F-1 status for more than a year. I have just received an employment offer from a private company for an unpaid internship during the summer break…

… before my next school year. Because I will not receive any wages, do I still need to obtain employment authorization?


Yes, you will need authorization from your DSO for curricular practical training (CPT) or from the USCIS for optional practical training (OPT). Even though your internship offer does not include monetary remuneration, if it meets the other requirements for CPT or OPT, it does need to be authorized. However, this type of unpaid training has to meet additional requirements under labor laws which prohibit employment without pay in a regular position for which payment of wages is expected. Generally, the type of employment that is structured more around the student’s academic experience and less around the employer’s specific operations, is likely to meet the unpaid internship criteria. (06.Mar.2015)

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