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Starting a Business on a Student Visa (F-1)

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LZisme

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Mar 27, 2021
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Hey there fastlaners,

I am an exchange student currently on a one-semester exchange program in the United States. I'm currently puzzled on the legality of an F-1 Visa holder such as myself operating a business in the states. My own limited research taught me of OPTs and H1-B programs which permit working and or having a business. However as I am not an undergraduate student or have studied in the US for a year (which I believe is the prerequisite for applying for an OPT and H1-B), the only option which I am left with is somehow being engaged in my business in a way that is "passive" as outlined in this article : F-1 Visa Start-Up Activities | Offit Kurman

The article says that I may engage in the following activities without violating my F-1 Visa:
  • activities that aren’t considered employment e.g. taking orders for goods produced overseas;
  • negotiating contracts;
  • consulting with your business associates;
  • litigating;
  • taking part in conferences or seminars that are scientific, educational, professional, or business related;
  • undertaking independent research;
  • membership of a U.S. company’s board of directors;
  • seeking to invest in the U.S., which would qualify for E-2 investor status.
As such, I am wondering if the above is enough and if it is possible for me to run a business while only having an F-1 Visa. Thank you in advance for all the insight and advice you may have for me!
 

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