Volunteer positions that are not directly related to your course of study do not qualify as optional practical training (OPT) and must not be listed as OPT employment. Reporting non-qualifying volunteer opportunities as OPT employment will be deemed a violation of your reporting requirements and subject you to removal from the United States.

In addition, non-qualifying volunteer positions may, based upon earlier pronouncements by the USCIS (a proposed new regulation that may be final on August 9), lead an individual to immediately begin to accrue unlawful presence.

Note: A volunteer position does not meet the conditions of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics OPT extension. Any questions related to qualifying OPT employment or accrual of unemployment should be discussed with your designated school official (DSO) or addressed to the SEVP Response Center by calling 800-892-4829 or emailing Link:

If you should have any questions or need more information about the ways in which the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Laws may impact you, your family, your friends or your colleagues, please contact the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers at the NPZ Law Group – VISASERVE – U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers by e-mailing us at or by calling us at 201-670-0006 (x107). You can also visit our Law Firm’s website at