Q: Can a veterinarian on a j2 visa volunteer in an animal shelter without work permit
It depends, but most likely the answer is yes.
Employment authorization may not be required when the work performed can be considered volunteering as defined by the USCIS. J-2 dependents cannot be unpaid volunteers in positions where others receive compensation to perform the same services. It sounds like there is no compensation or expectation of compensation. Further, services are performed for a non-profit charity and the work is "charitable" in nature. If my understanding is correct, then you may likely volunteer legally at the animal shelter. However, as a professional person, I should not simply give you my conclusion without full review of your case, because other factors should also be considered. Well, I do highly recommend you to confirm this with the school's DSO through the J1 holder.
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