Foreigner starting a business in the USA


I am officially a "legal alien allowed to work" in the USA (I have a F-1 student visa). I know I cannot work anywhere else, but the university I attend (and no more than 20h a week).

I would like to open my own company in the USA and sell software. Am I allowed to do so? Can I change the type of my visa? What is the procedure? Where can I find information on opening a company by a foreigner?

Every answer will be appreciated.

Foreign Visa USA

asked Oct 15 '10 at 09:04
116 points

1 Answer


You are not a "legal alien." Be careful which words you use. You should check out, they are one of the most pro-active and friendly lawyers I ever worked with (and I'm sorry to say that I work with quite a few).

That being said, you can incorporate in the US freely as long as you do not work for that company. Problems arise when you have an active role in a company. So while you can technically open a company today, you wouldn't be able to sell anything.

In theory, you could fly out of the US, work on your web site and put your stuff for sale, then fly back in the US and just collect the money :-)

answered Oct 15 '10 at 10:38
Alain Raynaud
10,927 points
  • Even if he has SSN? – Noah 11 years ago
  • @Alain Quick trip to Canada for a day, perhaps? I always wondered about that, as I'm in the UK and can only stay in the US for 90 days, but I always wondered if I could fly out on day 89, then back on day 91 and start the clock again. I assume the border guards look for this kind of thing, so I never did it, but it seems like it should be allowed. – Steve Jones 11 years ago

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