During your academic program, three types of employment are available. All require prior approval from your OVIS advisor before you begin work:

  • Type 1: Employment required by a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship. This employment typically occurs on campus and is paid by Dartmouth. In certain circumstances, the work can be done elsewhere for a different employer.
  • Type 2: On-campus jobs unrelated to study. This type of work is required to be done on school premises and be paid by Dartmouth.
  • Type 3: Off-campus jobs necessary because of serious, urgent, and unforeseen economic circumstances that have arisen since your arrival in the United States as an Exchange Visitor, or since your change of visa status to J-1.

To be eligible for student employment, you must be in good academic standing, be enrolled in a full course of study, and work no more than 20 hours per week. During official school breaks and annual vacation terms, students may work up to 40 hours per week.

After the program has ended, you may be eligible for Academic Training to put into practice what you have learned. Applications must be submitted well before the program end date on the Form DS-2019. Contact your OVIS advisor.

Volunteer Work and Unpaid Training

The question of whether someone here in a nonimmigrant visa status can freely engage in volunteer work or an unpaid training opportunity is a complicated one, and needs to be considered on an individual basis. The facts of each situation will differ, and both immigration and employment law rules apply.

Federal and state laws prohibit employers from allowing individuals, including U.S. citizens, permanent residents and foreign nationals, regardless of immigration status, from volunteering in a position that is normally compensated.

Volunteering does not mean working without pay. Volunteering is donating time with an organization whose primary purpose is charitable or humanitarian in nature, without any kind of remuneration. The Department of Labor website contains resources on what constitute legitimate volunteer activities.

The Department of Labor applies a set of criteria when evaluating whether an activity constitutes a legitimate unpaid internship.

Engaging in activities that would be considered employment, without the appropriate work authorization, is a violation of your immigration status, and could threaten your ability to remain in the U.S., and to obtain future U.S. immigration benefits. If you have questions about a proposed activity, consult with your OVIS advisor before accepting an opportunity.