Unpaid Work is Work – Make Sure You Have the Correct Visa

Planning to work for room and board on a farm or as an Au Pair/Nanny? Do Woofing? An internship? Even if you stay less than 90 days, these activities are considered work and require the appropriate visa. Visa Waiver Program travelers entering the United States with ESTA authorization are not allowed to work. If you are a Summer Work Travel participant (J-1 visa) you may only work in jobs approved by your designated U.S. sponsor.  Informal arrangements to work in exchange for lodging or meals are also considered unauthorized employment and are not permitted for tourists.

Information on visa categories is available in our visas section; Information on J-visa (Au Pair, Work & Travel, Internships) at the State Department’s J-1 visa website.