This article is from the FAQ, by with numerous contributions by others.
While the possible permutations/combinations are many, overall, an F-1
student cannot engage in business. There are restrictions against
off-campus employment and against unauthorized employment.
Technically, it may be possible to form a corporation, obtain pre or post
completion employment authorization and then have the corporation hire
you as an employee, but here is the catch-22 as I understand the
while it is permissible to start your own company, it is NOT
permissible to derive profit (including accrued profits or future
profits) from it. The regulations for unauthorized employment define
employment broadly. Thus, owning a company for almost any benefit
could amount to unauthorized employment.
Next logical question. Can you invest in stock exchange and derive
profit. The answer: that should be permissible. That is just like
getting interest from the bank.
The distinction IMHO seems to be the distance between investment and
control. The closer you are to control of the corporation, the more
likely it is that your employment on F-1 is unauthorized.
Q: If my current F-1 visa has expired, is it possible to obtain
F-1 visa from Canada/Mexico?
It is possible, but difficult. There are several factors that
go into the likelihood of success. If you already possess F-1
visa from your home country (and it has expired); if the
completion of your course is not taking an inordinately long
time; if you have not been out of status and if the consular
officer is convinced of your good intentions, you MAY get the
I just got back from my trip to Vancouver B.C. The good news is that
I got my F-1 visa renewed. I was not asked too many questions. I went
there at about 7 am and they started taking people in at 8 am. My
appointment was for 9 am. I got a token number (based on appointment).
My interview was conducted at 11:40 am. The consular officer asked
me the purpose of my visit and then asked for my transcript. She
asked a question about the grading scheme, asked if I was on a
scholarship and asked me to pay $100 and return the next day for
Just a few things you need to be careful about ---
1. There is a $20 processing fee and the Vancouver office does not give
2. You must try and be there early as the queue does become quite long.
I presume that it is the same queue for both immigrant and non-immigrant
visas. The two groups are ofcourse interviewed separately but the
initial processing of forms is done by the same person.
3. Once you have submitted your application and are made to sit in the
waiting room please do not leave the room for any reason whatsoever.
There was this one guard who was particularly rude and rough on people
who stepped out to go to the rest room. I understand that they are
possibly concerned about security.
I had taken the following documents with me
1. Appointment letter
2. Passport, I-20, I-94
3. Letter of intent (financial aid)
4. Letter from the conference organizing committee
(I plan to attend a conference in France)
5. Letter from my advisor (describing my research and teaching
accomplishments) and explaining why the conference is important
6. Letter from my chairman (again evaluating me as a student and
also my performance as a TA)
7. Letter of full-time enrollment (from the International Students office)
8. Statement of support from my father (on stamp paper stating that he
would be willing to bear my tuition and living expenses in case the
9. A statement of my father's assets and flat in India.
10. Official transcripts from ISU
11. Pay stubs (TA pay checks)
12. My bank account statement
13. Official degree certificates (BE and MS)
14. Miscellaneous documents (don't know if they are really necessary)
photocopies of awards, certificates; TOEFL scores; 1995 tax return;
clippings on job openings in India; Letters written by my parents;
I must thank you for talking to me over phone and advising me on the