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Can I open up an LLC on an F1 visa and run an online network marketing business (that can be operated under a business name)?

Tampa, FL |

An international student on an F1 visa, did some research and seem to understand that I can open up an LLC but not be an employee of the LLC. So my intention is to run this online network marketing company under the name of the LLC I have establish. From there on my intent is to get dividends as the investor of the LLC

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Attorney answers 5


I changed up the tags on this question so our immigration attorneys will respond as well.

What you are saying is "I want to do indirectly that which I am prohibited from doing directly." The answer is that you cannot. You cannot be an active principal in a US business while here on a student visa. You could own shares of a business as a passive investor, but this would mean passive in the literal sense NOT some fictitous sense. That would mean, for example, you cannot contract on behalf of the business, cannot pay for things, cannot conduct oridinary business activities, etc. So owning a single member-managed LLC would on its face be a problem.

I would first discuss this with immigration counsel so you are clear on what you can and cannot do. Then if you have a legal plan contact a business lawyer. Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.

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If you're looking to get into being an affiliate marketing publisher through a larger network, just have a family member set up a company back home. Larger networks like Clickbooth and A4D make payments to foreign pubs all the time. You should be fine.


Running a company = work = unauthorized employment.

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.


you may own anything you want to own. But you are suggesting using ownership as a cover for work. That is not allowed.

I am a pretty smart guy, but I do not know everything. My answers here come from the knowledge I carry around in my head--if you want me to look something up, you should come see me. Take any advice here as being general in nature. Please be careful with your life and make decisions that are smart.


That would entail engaging in employment in the US and would be a violation of the terms of your visa. You may also run afoul of tax laws since you must pay the Managers of the corporation a wage. A legal entity that does not employ anyone but produces profit would probably make you a target for an IRS audit.

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