Can a foreign student open a business in the united states?

What are the immigration rules for a foreign student being able to own and operate a business in the united states?

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    This is an interesting question. The simple answer is NO, since you are on a student visa and are restricted to on-campus employment only as authorized. However, there are loopholes when it comes to starting/owning your own business. There is nothing that I could find directly on the USCIS website that addresses this, but the general idea is that if you are going to gain any profit from it, then it's unauthorized. To be on the safe side, your best bet would be to wait until you can change your status so that you don't end up in violation of immigration laws on a technicality.

    This question has been asked on many forums before, but here is one answer I found useful:

    "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 ?

    A11 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."

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  • 6 years ago

    YES. The danger comes if you work as a specific titled employee, which you can't do. Another danger is the fact that you are supposed to be a student. However, business majors often need to PRACTICE certain business concepts first hand. In such a controlled experimental environment, a foreign student could found, fund, open and own a business, as well as derive profits. Profit from a business is not employment, especially if you are not managing the company.

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  • 4 years ago

    On a student visa, one is not allowed to work.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    you can't as an student. you are ther to study not for business. you need to get a permit to work and that will changeyour status.

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