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What are the steps I need to take in order to create and run my own business in the US if I hold a F-1 visa?

Tarrytown, NY |

I am an international student, from Spain, studying in NY. Next fall I will enroll in CSU Long Beach and I would like to set up and run a business while I study. I would like to know if it is possible for me to create a company and hire myself, thus, acquiring the worker visa. Please, tell me about the steps I need to take in order to create and run a company in the US.

Attorney Answers 4


You cannot do business on F-1. A company can sponsor you however if you are the only person who will run the show then you will run into issues with showing an employer-employee relationship. Consult with an experienced attorney to discuss your options.

This response is general in nature and cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. Any comments offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship. If you would like additional information based on this response, please contact my office at 510 657 7665 or 415 902 0832 to schedule a consultation.

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Consult with an immigration attorney and way before you start. We have many good people here in NY.

NYC EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS; email:; Phone: (866) 456-­8654; Fax: 212-964-0440; Cell: 212-202-0325. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

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Change to E-2 status if the requisite treaty exists with your country. F-1s cannot work without authorization and running a business is work.

You should retain an experienced immigration lawyer to review all the facts, advise you, and handle the case. You can find one through

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.

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Generally, F-1 students are not permitted to work while in F-1 status. However, immigration law does not expressly forbid an alien from investing or establishing a new business in the U.S.

While you may establish or invest in your own companies in the U.S., you cannot work work for your own company while in F-1 status. Do consult with an experienced Immigration Attorney on viable options.

Law Offices of J Thomas Smith J.D., Ph.D 11500 Northwest Freeway, Suite 280 Houston, TX 77092 713-LAWYER-2 NOTE: Responses are for the education of the community at large and is not intended to be "legal advice." No attorney-client relationship is established by responses or comments.

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