Volunteer FAQ

Together – Let Us Make A Difference!

Volunteering is a great way to “make a difference,” to help people and promote our community. As a 501(c)3 non profit organization, Live in Michigan is proudly to offer many volunteers opportunities to people with  F, M,, J, H even B visa holders.

U.S. Department of Labor Rules for Volunteering:
To determine whether an individual is a true volunteer engaged in “ordinary volunteerism,” the Department of Labor considers a number of factors.

  • Is the entity that will benefit/receive services from the volunteer a nonprofit organization?
  • Is the activity less than a full-time occupation?
  • Are the services offered freely and without pressure or coercion?
  • Are the services of the kind typically associated with volunteer work?
  • Have regular employees been displaced to accommodate the volunteer?
  • Does the worker receive (or expect) any benefit from the entity to which it is providing services?

What is Volunteer work:

  • No expectation of compensation
  • The volunteer cannot displace a genuine employee,
  • The services provided by the volunteer should not be the same services for which he or she was previously paid and/or expects to be hired and paid for in the future
  • Services are performed for a non-profit organization for public service, religious or humanitarian objective.
  • Work at a for-profit entity is considered employment and must be for pay. The only exception is made for training programs where the trainee functions, to some degree, like an employee, but is under close supervision and provides no significant measurable work for the employer. The trainee must not take the place of a paid employee. For example, students who are considered student interns may engage in unpaid internships at for-profit organizations.

Are international students allowed to volunteer?
Yes. As an F or M student, you may volunteer while you study in the United States, but you must maintain your nonimmigrant student status by complying with Department of Homeland Security rules and regulations

Can I volunteer without a work permit USA?
Yes. A work permit is NOT needed to volunteer in the U.S..

Can I volunteer on a B1 B2 visa?:
It is allowed to volunteer in the US when you are there on a B1 or B2 visa, or on visa waiver program, and for most other visas, in general, that do not permit paid employment.

Can I volunteer in the US with a tourist visa?
Yes. Thinking of doing some good while you’re touring the U.S.? Volunteering in America with a tourist visa is feasible, so long as the nature of your volunteer work agrees with the rules of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Can I volunteer while I am on an H1B Visa?
Yes, if you are on an H1B visa, you can volunteer for a nonprofit or local organization as long as the work would not otherwise be paid.

Can I volunteer while I am on OPT/CPT Training?
Yes. Similar to an H1B visa holder, you can volunteer for a nonprofit or local organization without any compensation while are training in another company.

Can I volunteer on H4/F2/J2 dependent Visa?
Yes, H4/F2/J2 visa holders can volunteer with ONLY nonprofit organizations that do not offer monetary benefits.

Can I getting a U.S. Visa (B-1) to Do Volunteer Work?
Yes,  you are able to apply for a “B-1 Visitor for Business” visa if you are a member of and committed to a recognized religious or nonprofit charitable organization and will participate in a “voluntary service program” of the organization. Click Here for more info.

Volunteering vs Unpaid Internship

There is a difference between volunteering and engaging in an unpaid internship.

Volunteering refers to donating time with an organization whose primary purpose is charitable or humanitarian in nature, without remuneration or any other type of compensation. F/M-1 and J-1 students are free to engage in volunteer work.

Unpaid internships, on the other hand, do not usually qualify as “volunteer” activity. Internships, both paid and unpaid, are primarily offered by the private sector and related to the intern’s major field of study. Usually needs a working visa or apply a CPT/OPT for Unpaid Internships

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