Having a degree from a U.S. university proves to prospective employers that you are up to the challenge of coming to a different country, with a different culture and a different language, to pursue the best educational opportunities in the world. While getting here as an F-1 student is fairly straightforward, staying here after graduation can be complicated and stressful.
If you want to work in the U.S. as a student, or remain in the U.S. to work, or build your own company, you need to understand the types of visas available to gain a work permit as a nonimmigrant or – if you choose – as an immigrant choosing a pathway to citizenship.
Serotte Law has worked with students across a spectrum of backgrounds and capabilities to skillfully transition them from F-1 students to working employees. Our legal team of advisors will work closely with you to examine and select the best visa options for your particular needs. We’ll work with you side-by-side and help open doors to your successful future.
Student Entrepreneurs: Understanding Visa Options and Restrictions
With more than one million international students studying in the U.S., it’s not surprising that many catch the entrepreneurial spirit and want to put ideas in action. If you are a foreign student entrepreneur, do you understand what the law requires before you can start a business? Your F-1 visa or I-94 may remind you that you cannot work without special authorization from the government.
You may qualify to work for your own startup related to your academic course of study if you qualify for curriculum practical training (CPT), optional practical training (OPT) or a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) and STEM OPT. You also may wish to consider a change to another type of visa by creating a different corporate structure that is not limited to your course of study. Serotte Law can help you understand the steps you need to take to be approved to start a business while still in school.
- H-1B: Allows U.S. employers to employ foreign workers with a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in a specific specialty.
- E-1: Allows foreign nationals of a treaty nation to enter the U.S. solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf.
- E-2: Allows individuals of a treaty nation to work inside the U.S. based on an investment they will be controlling while in the U.S.
- L-1: For employees of an international company with offices in the U.S. and abroad; allows foreign workers to relocate to the U.S. location after certain terms are met.
- O-1: For individuals with extraordinary ability in various fields, such as science, business, athletics and arts.
- TN: Allows citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals to work in the U.S. in prearranged activities for U.S. or foreign employers.
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With offices in Buffalo, New York, Silicon Valley and Toronto, Serotte Law is strategically located to support students who want to live and prosper in the U.S. Our experienced team has seen it all when working to keep people in the country. We focus on making it happen for our clients so you can focus on what you came to this country to do, complete your education and begin your career.