Blog for Postdocs / Phds, National Interest Waiver, Extraordinary Ability

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Starting a company on F1

I am a PhD student at Arizona State University and I am looking to start a company on my own. Currently I am under F1 visa category, will I be able to raise my own company under this visa or do I need to get sponsored for H1B visa or green card.


We are not lawyers and do not provide legal advice. So the opinion stated below should not be considered as such.

USCIS does not restrict starting a company on F1 or H1b or GC. However if you are a student, your opt or cpt  should be authorized appropriately so that you can work for the company you own. Appropriate work authorization is tricky in this situation.

Starting a company on H1b is also tricky. H1b is usually tied to one employer. If you already have a H1b, you can start and own a company but cannot work for it with the same H1b. You will need a second H1b to work for your company. Alternatively, you can own part of the company and the other partner (who has a GC or is a citizen) who works for the company can hire you by sponsoring a H1b.

Best of luck
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