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Is it legal for a foriegn Student (F1 Visa) to "join" Amway business, to buy products at discounted prices?

San Diego, CA |

I am researching the Amway business. I know that amway (http://www.thetruthaboutamway.com) is a 11.8 Billion $ Global giant, and a well reputed business. Amway's chairman is the current president of the US Chamber of Commerce: https://www.uschamber.com/steve-van-andel.
The reason I mention all this is because I don't need a lesson on the legitimacy, or the viability of Amway, or the model itself, as I have seen in some past responses. Attorneys who do not understand Amway need not reply.
Also Amway has different levels of "participation". Some join sometimes just to get some products. Some refer (sponsor) people internationally (in their home country, even though they join here). Is it legal for an F1 or a H1 visa holder to join, for any reason? Can they form an LLC for this purpose?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Whoa, you are asking for free legal advice and being very polite about it too..
No, it is certainly not "legal" for someone in F-1 status to "work" and engage in active sales solicitations for a vertical marketing company such as "Amway", Tupperware or "legal shield". that is considered unlawful employment, and as such, a violation of one's F1 student status, which could get one placed in removal proceedings immigration Court.

Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.

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Asker

Posted

Mr Behar, My apologies if I came across as rude. That is not my intent. I was getting answers which were actually attorneys biases against the model. Hope you understand. Thanks for replying. I do not want to sound ungrateful, because I really am! I am not intending to "work" , and engage in active sales solicitations. I am aware that might be construed as "self-employment". I am considering "participation", which means I will be engaging in purchasing products, and learn about the business, to take my knowledge back to China (my home country). I also plan to "refer" people (in China) to my business (in China), if I get started. The way Amway works, I can join here (in the US), purchase products, learn the business, but engage in solicitations in China. I have not yet joined, but I am considering. My question was about joining to purchase products (because I get better pricing if I am an agent). I hope that is clear. My apologies again, but I was fed up with attorneys who were not willing to understand the model. Thank you sir.

Giacomo Jacques Behar

Giacomo Jacques Behar

Posted

I understand better now what you meant. Thank you for the clarification. I guess you'll be okay with what you want to do, since it will only be a "learning" and "observing" process, without actual sales activities on your part. In that case, go ahead and participate in their meetings. Does are extremely "uplifting" from what I hear. You could easily become one of their top producer stars in China once you return. Just be careful not to spend too much buying their products in anticipation.

Maria J. Marty

Maria J. Marty

Posted

Well said.

Giacomo Jacques Behar

Giacomo Jacques Behar

Posted

Thank you, Dear!

Asker

Posted

Thank you again Mr. Behar, for your encouragement, and your objective advise. I will be careful not to cross the lines. Yes. I have been to an Amway conference, and it is really good: a lot of personal development, & leadership development stuff, which I am sure will help me in my MBA program (where I am currently enrolled). I will be careful not to spend too much money, buying their products. The company itself has some pretty strict rules against dis-proportionate product purchases for personal consumption. So, I am safe there. An interesting note: I was talking to my friend at a nearby university here. Their International Student Office (ISO), was very discouraging of joining this business. Obviously, just like many other professionals, they don't understand that participation in Amway means different things to different people. They should not ill-advise their students by painting all participation in Amway as "self-employment". Again, the university might be right from their perspective; they have to do what they have to do, even it means they are sometimes overzealous and controlling of foreign students, not to speak about being condescending! I will surely be in touch with you for any future immigration work, for me or my friends. Thanks again, for taking the time to answer my question.

Posted

As long as you don't engage in sales then should be fine. These type of pyramid or multi-level marketing business models have a way of convincing people to sell for them so be careful.

Due to the nature of this forum, Attorney Maria J. Marty does not have all the information required to provide legal advice. Accordingly, her responses on Avvo are intended as general and not legal advice.

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Posted

Thank you Ms. Marty for answering my question! I will be careful not to engage in product sales, if I decide to do this. I can actually turn my experience as an Amway IBO into a case study for my MBA project, something like what was done at the Harvard Business School: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-24/amway-embraces-china-using-harvard-guanxi.html Meanwhile, I can participate in their meetings and conferences to get educated. Thanks again!

Posted

Any activity that might be construed employment should, can only be engaged in with a valid employment authorization.

The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter,not should it be viewed as establishing an attorney client relationship of any kind.

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