I was brought to this country legally by my parents when I was ten. We came here on a tourist visa. We stayed and now I'm considered an illegal immigrant. I just completed my first semester of college. I'm curious to know if I would be able do an unpaid internship. I need to acquire some job experience and I can't get it though a paid one. Do unpaid internships require you to show a social security number? Do they do background checks?
Immigration takes the position that unpaid internships are employment, therefore it is not permitted. The one exception is if you are doing true volunteer work such as changing bedpans at a hospital or serving food at a soup kitchen.
If you are in the US without permission or your status is expired, i would not advise working at all, paid or unpaid
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Employment / Labor Attorney
Technically illegal immigrants can't do any internships--paid or not--because they are not allowed to be in the country.
Moreover, any position involving employment verification (which often takes place even for unpaid positions, especially at larger companies) carries some risk of discovery and, potentially, deportation.
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I agree with both of my colleagues.
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