One of the most often asked questions by students considering studying abroad is whether an international student can start a business in the United States.
The desire to establish a business in the United States may be both thrilling and scary for both prospective entrepreneurs and students. Visa issues, access to financing, and knowing how to quit the firm at the right time can all compound an already difficult task.
Beginning a business in the United States necessitates a significant amount of legal documents; however, starting a business as an international student in the United States is even more difficult due to the visa requirements being highly sophisticated and complicated.
In reality, your educational qualifications can only help the process but have little to do with owning a business; and of course, everyone wants to be an entrepreneur today, seeing as the world needs creative business platforms; however, starting a business in general can be quite difficult as you’ll be faced with questions like:
What type of business is ideal for me?
What is the greatest place for me to start my type of business?
Who should I collaborate with when I start my own business?
And much more…
However, in the United States, all of these problems are not so dissimilar; it is in this accomplishment that so many graduate students have attempted and failed in their pursuit of creating a business in the United States.
But, in reality, can an overseas student launch a business in the United States?
Yes, indeed!!! An overseas student can create a business in the United States, but it takes a lot of legal paperwork. Here’s how it works…
Can an International Student Establish a Business in the United States?
Starting with the most significant requirement for remaining in the United States, your visa, the majority of international students enter the country with an F-1 visa. As a student in the United States, an F-1 visa allows you to own a business with no revenue or compensation. Doesn’t it sound strange?
That’s just the rule of thumb here, and if you try to play any silly games around it, you’re just a few steps away from jeopardizing the validity of your visa, which might lead to your deportation from the nation.
Must Read: Can I Travel to Canada After Being Deported from the United States?
Here are two (2) legal techniques to circumvent restrictions on an F-1 student visa in the United States:
#1: Utilize Optional Practical Training (OPT)
After at least a year of studies, undergraduate and graduate students in the United States are eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). As a result, overseas students are free to pursue work opportunities linked to their subject of study.
However, keep in mind that this is only valid for 12 months, and as the name says, the program is solely for practice.
There are, however, guidelines for international students who have chosen an OPT. These rules are heavily influenced by the timing of your academic program in relation to your OPT.
These are some examples:
Students on OPT prior to finishing their studies are only allowed to work twenty (20) hours per week while school is in session. Students in this group must reapply for OPT at each educational level and are typically permitted for a period of 12 months.
Students on OPT may continue to work full-time after completing their studies in the United States. Students in this group have finished with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math and must reapply for OPT status. However, keep in mind that you will only be approved for 17 months.
This model, however, has numerous disadvantages for student entrepreneurs.
To begin with, as an international student, your OPT is just for one (1) year, thus you must consider what if your business booms inside that one-year term. Will you have to sell it and leave the country?
Second, your business must be directly related to your most recent degree.
An OPT is comparable to a CPT (Curricular Practice Training) in that it allows students to work for their own company as long as the company is actively involved in a business-related student’s degree program. Prior to applying for OPT, the student must get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
#2: Utilize a Curricular Practice Training (CPT)
Curricular Practice Training (CPT) enables overseas students (F1 visa students) to obtain work authorization, allowing them to work for their own businesses.
As an international student studying in the United States, your CPT must be related to your degree and course of study.
You can work as many or as few hours as you like with a CPT.
#3: Submit an H-1B visa application.
Most students go here since the OPT program is not sustainable for them.
An H-1B visa allows you (an overseas student) to work in the United States for three (3) years. This can be extended to six years if desired. After your sixth year, you must either extend your visa or transfer to a green card, which allows you to reside in the United States indefinitely.
You must have a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree in a discipline related to your work in order to qualify for H-1B visa status. International students are not permitted to register for an H-1B visa in any way without the endorsement of another company, unless they meet specified criteria.
Choosing the Best Business to Start as an International Student in the United States
Once you have a visa to legally work in the United States as an international student, the next step is to decide what type of business you want to start.
It is critical since each form of business has advantages and disadvantages. I’m not going to knock any company concept, but here are some things to consider when considering what kind of business you can sustain in the United States.
1. Owners’ and managers’ liability.
2. Management centralization and flexibility.
3. Ownership stakes.
4. The cost of establishment and upkeep.
5. Tax implications.
It is tough, but not impossible, to break free from the shackles of preparing a business in the United States. If you have an interesting and innovative business plan that you want to pursue, consider the legal implications, seek legal advice from experienced lawyers, and carry out your plans sequentially.