I’m doing my MS in USA. A friend of mine from India called me today, and he asked if I’d like to open a business with him. He works as a consultant/recruiter for a US based outsourcing company and now wants to open his own company.
For that he wants to do partnership with me as I’m in USA and I can rent a place for the company “headquarter” and employ a guy who would sit in the office, but all the business and calling takes place form India.I want to know if an F-1 student can be engaged in such kind of business? Plus, what advise would you give me on this? Probably, I’d not be investing anything in this but if it is legal I would have some extra cash. I’m interested in this because you posted some blogs long time ago about what are the benefits of setting up a business in USA.I’d appreciate if you can direct me in the right direction, or let me know who should I contact.
I like blunt answers, if you think this is wrong/fake or will jeopardize my visa status in any way, just tell me.
I’m going to answer this post for 3 different categories
- Starting Company in F1 Visa
- Starting Business while in OPT
- Starting Business while in H1B visa
Before I answer the question, let me express my views
- I’m all in for entrepreneurship and business
- Read my previous blog posts about entrepreneurship
Having an idea to be an entrepreneur is different from actually being an entrepreneur. People getting educated in USA are more likely to start a business than those who are take job after graduation without studying abroad. You will be amazed to see how many CEO’s there in USA who are like 16 years of age.
USA visa rules are not friendly for immigrant entrepreneurs. It’s very tough to get visa approved, if you have a business idea and you want to start a company and work in your company. Original question is about possibility of starting a company while in F1 Student visa.
Starting Company in F1 Visa
F1 students are not allowed to be self-employed and work on their own business. But, F1 visa rules would allow F1 students to invest in a business.
Investing in Business is different from working for the business.
Then students typically think that I can start a business and work for the company without getting paid. Even that’s not allowed. If the job you do is done by someone else, would they do it for free? If not, then its not called volunteering.
You can invest in stock market while in F1 Visa. Only work you are doing there is passive.
To answer your question in blunt way – Now, you cannot start a business in F1 Student visa and actively engage in day to day work.
Starting Business while in OPT
Yes, you can start a company while in OPT. You can work in your company, but it should be related to your field of study.
This is one of the available option to avoid 90 days of unemployment, if you are creative enough to come up with a business idea related to your filed of study.
While you cannot start business before OPT, but you are considered to be in F1 visa while in OPT.
Starting Business in H1B visa
You could search online for starting business while in H1B and pretty much all the pages will say that you cannot start a company, business while in H1B.
I’m going to give a completely opposite answer.
Yes, you can start a company/business while in H1B Visa. I will let you to explore and figure out how to do that.
Do you have any specific questions, experience you like to share about starting a company in USA?