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F1 students owning business

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  • F1 students owning business


    I have a question regarding starting a business. I am an international student on f1 visa and I would like to know if I can own any type of business, the things I am looking at are :

    1) Home businness owner.
    2) Independent contractor
    3) Shop or small business owner

    I am aware that after I graduate I get one year OPT which allows me to do contracting, I am wondering what are my options prior to graduation.

  • #2
    Hi Mr. Meswani, I found this Q&A about visas and noticed about your question something similar:

    Q:Is an F1 visa holder permitted to start their own business in the US (as a sole proprietorship or corporation)? Is some sort of a USCIS (INS) permit required ?

    A:While the possible permutations/combinations are many, overall, an F-1
    student cannot engage in business. There are restrictions against
    off-campus employment and against unauthorized employment.

    Technically, it may be possible to form a corporation, obtain pre or post
    completion employment authorization and then have the corporation hire
    you as an employee, but here is the catch-22 as I understand the law:
    while it is permissible to start your own company, it is NOT permissible to derive profit (including accrued profits or future profits) from it. The regulations for unauthorized employment define employment broadly. Thus, owning a company for almost any benefit could amount to unauthorized employment.

    Next logical question. Can you invest in stock exchange and derive
    profit. The answer: that should be permissible. That is just like
    getting interest from the bank.

    The distinction IMHO seems to be the distance between investment and
    control. The closer you are to control of the corporation, the more
    likely it is that your employment on F-1 is unauthorized.