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Former Students Follow Dreams and Regulations to Launch New Business

Learn the rules if you want to be a student entrepreneur.

Have you come up with a great idea that you think could be a great business? If you are an F student studying in the United States, you have the chance to become an entrepreneur, if you follow regulations.  One example of a successful entrepreneurial venture by a nonimmigrant is a breathalyzer that you use with your smart phone. According to CNN, the founders of the device are from Israel and studied in the United States.

Being an entrepreneur and starting your own business as an F student in the United States is employment. This means you first must qualify and apply for optional practical training (OPT) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). OPT must relate to your program of study, so any business you start also must relate to what you study. Your OPT can be before (pre-completion) or after (post-completion) you finish your program of study.

The United States encourages freethinking, personal growth and entrepreneurship. USCIS’s Entrepreneurs in Residence initiative seeks to “harness industry expertise from the public and private sectors and increase the job creation potential of employment-based and high-skilled visa categories” by allowing an F-1 student to start a business directly related to the major area of study and giving the student a financial stake in its success.

If you are interested in starting your own business or working in the United States, talk to your designated school official to learn how to maintain your status.

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