I'm currently on my F1 visa on OPT and have filed for the 17-month STEM extension. I work for an e-verified employer, haven't accrued any days of unemployment and thus expect that it is going to be approved within the next 2 months.
Right now I consider transitioning into self-employment working as an independent consultant and contractor. I already have multiple inquiries for client projects and could start working right away. My plan is to be working on different client projects full-time in a field related to my studies.
From the documentation on the STEM extension I know that I will have to get the appropriate business licenses and register myself as an employer with E-Verify.
Here are my questions (under the assumption that I have done the two things above). I hope someone will be able to shed some light:
- Can I transition to being self-employed while my STEM extension approval is pending?
- What is the best way to prove that I'm working full-time while being self-employed?
- I expect that the projects will only start 1-2 weeks after leaving my current job. Can I be unemployed while my STEM extension approval is pending?