If someone with F-2 visa status wants to work for free as an engineer or computer programmer for a company or startup within the US, to improve his/her work experience, skills and resume also maybe finding a work visa sponsor, is it also illegal even when he/she has no income from the job?

1 Answer 1


An F-2 visa holder cannot work unless they get a work permit.

They are allowed to volunteer but volunteering is only legal for the ‘employer’ in the not-for-profit/charity sector.

Unpaid internships are legal but only where the relationship is primarily for the benefit of the intern. An “internship” where the intern is doing work that could/should be done by a paid employee is illegal. (And, yes, I’m aware this is often abused)

  • Thank you Dale for your answer. Can I ask if a F-2 visa holder start a LLC company in the US and work for free for his/her company, is it also illegal? Because I know a F-2 visa holder is allowed to start a company and I think when you start a company you should lead/ manage it(at least indirectly). I see a conflict here.
    – user37953
    Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 2:08

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