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Can you start an online business/store while on the F-1 visa in the US?

If you’re on OPT you may be able to if the business relates directly to your studies. In addition, you must be able to obtain any required business licenses. You can read more about current US rules and regulations relating to improving and expanding training opportunities for F1 students with STEM degrees here.

In the most general of terms, F1 students are prohibited from ‘engaging in business.’ At the same time, students on F1 visa are not expressly forbidden from ‘establishing’ their own business since they are allowed to engage in ‘preliminary business planning.’

Again, it’s impossible to overstate that there’s a sharp legal difference between ‘establishing’ a business and ‘engaging’ with or working for it. The usual rule is that an F1 student is forbidden from working for a company – even one s/he starts.

I invite you to check out LawTrades for any assistance you need with the incorporation process or checking with your immigration rights. We offer free price quotes & free 20 minute consultations. Also feel free to message me directly. I hope this helps!


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