I'm a student at a University in the UK and in the summer coming up I've arranged to do a volunteer internship for a Charity for 10 weeks. They'll be offering me no remuneration what so ever and the type of work I'll be doing is administrative.

I'm wondering what type of travel permit I'll need, I've heard some people say WVP, I've heard some say I can work on an ESTA and I've heard some people say a B-1? the latter really confusing me because I thought you had to be in business for that aha.

Any help would be much appreciated, given that it's 10 weeks of work I'll be happy to be in and out of the USA within the usual 90 days (especially since I'll have my 3rd year or Uni to get back to) so if anyone has any advice what so ever I would be so appreciative!

  • Any activity permissible on a B-1 is also permissible on the VWP, so if your activity is permissible on a B-1 and your visit will be shorter than 90 days, you don't need a visa; apply for ESTA instead. – phoog Mar 18 '16 at 2:08
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    You need to be careful here. What counts is not just that you're not being paid but, also, that you're not doing work that would normally be paid: for example, you can't "volunteer" as a bank teller because that would fall foul of minimum wage law and be taking a job away from somebody who can't afford to work for free. Similarly, for an unpaid job to count as an internship, rather than another violation of minimum wage law, it has to be demonstrated that the work is of benefit to you more than the employer. Is that really the case, here? – David Richerby Mar 18 '16 at 4:10
  • Okay thanks guys got some clarification here which I really appreciate the help - the work I'll be doing will be just filing and meeting clients but I know the firm won't be 'displacing' any existing employees for my benefit: more that they will create a role that will cease to exist when I'm gone – Mxjjh Mar 18 '16 at 10:21
  • An unpaid internship is also not the same as volunteering. Talk to the charity that wants you, and also read up about working holiday visa. – DJClayworth Mar 20 '16 at 21:01

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