What can be counted as valid/legal employment during OPT?? _ Thanks so much!!

Dear attorney, I know that students with OPT can not have accumulated 90-day unemployment. I'm wondering whether 1) voluntarily helping school professor with their research in the lab (no-pay) 2) unpaid internship in a profit organization can be counted as valid/legal employment during OPT period?? Thank you so much!! I am really appreciate!! Susie

Los Angeles, CA -

Attorney Answers (3)

Carl Michael Shusterman

Carl Michael Shusterman

Immigration Attorney - Los Angeles, CA
Answered

You need to discuss this matter with your designated school officer.

Mr. Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 35 years of immigration experience. His response... more
Daniel Patrick Hanlon

Daniel Patrick Hanlon

Immigration Attorney - Pasadena, CA
Answered

"Employment" means being paid for labor. 20 hours per week is permissible to maintain OPT.

Please note that this posting does not constitute legal advice or create any attorney-client relationship with the... more
Robert Victor Torrey

Robert Victor Torrey

Immigration Attorney - Denton, TX
Answered

Under the OPT guidance from SEVP, if you volunteer on a full time basis (more than 20 hours a week) in your area of study and your DSO puts this in the SEVIS system, then this would toll the 90 day clock.

The information you obtain in this response is for general knowledge. You should consult an attorney for advice... more

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