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Unpaid summer research in the US--visa required??

Guest Nabz34

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Hi everyone. I have a contact in the US who can arrange for me a couple of months of unpaid research experience in the field I'm interested in. I was just wondering, would I need a visa or special status to go to the US to do unpaid research (they might consider it as work or something) or can I just enter the US like I normally would (I am a Canadian citizen)?

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Hi Nabz34,


I don't think it should be a problem if you don't have a visa and you aren't getting paid. You should probably check with the Department of Homeland Security, though http://www.dhs.gov and the US Customs and Immigrations service uscis.gov/graphics/index.htm

The maximum amount of time you can be in the US without a visa is 3 months (but don't quote me on that - again, check Dept. Homeland and Security).


Last summer, I went to New York for 3 months to do research after my first year of med school. I applied on a TN visa, because I have a Master's degree. The position in which they had me hired for was "Research Assistant." The New York School of Medicine has an immigration specialist who wrote a letter stating what I would be doing and for how long, and my salary. For $50 US, I had a visa that lasted me a year.


Even if you aren't getting paid, though, it's probably good to get some form of letter from the person who you'll be doing research with. Make sure it states that you aren't getting paid, and that you have a place to live, etc. It's always better to be on the safe side - after all the planning, you don't want to lose out on an opportunity.


Good luck


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