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Can F1 Students Start A Business

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Presentation Transcript

Understanding the Limitations

The USCIS forbids F1 students from "engaging" in business. However, you are not specifically

prohibited from creating your own business. This is because "preliminary business planning" is

not counted as business engagement. However, after you have established your business,

you will not be allowed to work for it or collect a salary. Unfortunately, you cannot simply work

for your own company without compensation. This is because you cannot be considered a

volunteer if you’re performing work at a for-profit business.


Seeking Additional Status

1) Curricular Practice Training (CPT)

You can gain work authorization by applying for CPT. Under this status, you will be

permitted to work for your own company. However, your company and the work you do

must pertain to your area of study.

2) Optional Practical Training (OPT)

As with CPT, OPT is a work authorization that allows you to operate your own business

so long as that business relates to your area of study. It is important to note, however,

that you will need to be granted an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) before

you are eligible to apply for OPT.


Changing Your Visa Status

1) H1B Visa Change of Status

2) Treaty Trader: E1 Change of Status

Many people who engage in OPT decide to apply

for H1B visa change of status so that they can

remain in the U.S. after their OPT period has

expired. If you start your business as an OPT

student, OPT to H1B change of status could be a

good option for you.

You may also be able to apply for an F1 to E1

change of status after graduation. While the E1

visa is also a temporary visa, you are allowed to

apply for unlimited renewals. This provides a

distinct advantage over other option since you

won’t have to worry about leaving the country in

a matter of just a few years.


Changing Your Visa Status (Continued)

3) Investor Visa: E2 Change of Status

4) F1 to Green Card

Another option you could try an F1 student is to

apply for an E2 visa. You may qualify for an F1

to E2 change of status if you are able to invest a

substantial amount of money into a business

venture. Typically, this involves a minimum of


The last option we will discuss is a bit more

complicated than the others, but it will allow you

to found and work for your own business

without restrictions.


Since these paths are indirect with a lot of

gray areas, it can be extraordinarily

beneficial to have legal guidance at your

side. For a free consultation, contact the

experienced team of business and

immigration lawyers at Katz Law Office Ltd.




Contact us:

Katz Law Office, Ltd.

4105 West 26th Street Chicago,

IL 60623

(773) 321-6651/ (773) 321-6708