Published on Lawyers.com and the Epoch Times on October 12, 2018
Q & A.
How Can I Start an LLC Company While on F-1 Student Visa?
I'm an Indian citizen and currently on F1 visa OPT and working in a company in my field. However, me and 3 other friends (US Citizens) wish to start a company (LLC) while being employed at our current jobs. 1. Is this even possible for me to do? 2. If yes then are there any limitations? 3. If my company files for my H1-B will I be able to do it then? 4. Any special permissions or documentation needed to get this done?
Mr. Lee answers:
There is nothing that precludes an F-1 student on OPT from establishing an LLC while being employed at the current OPT job. However, you are not authorized to work at the LLC unless the work that you are doing is in your field of study. To be safe, you should apprise the DSO of your new work with the LLC if it is connected with your field of study. Whether the company can file for an H-1B next year may hinge on whether it is able to show documentation that it is promising and is growing. Proof of funding from angel investors or venture capitalists, etc. would be one indication along with contracts for work and other proof of company existence such as a strong website, lease of office space, hiring of personnel, etc.
Is Our Employee Legally Authorized to Work in the U.S.?
Yesterday an employee told me that she is having trouble getting citizenship and one of her sons (born here) is helping her. She came here 23 years ago from Mexico. 20 years ago, she lost the "paper/permit' that they gave her when she crossed the border and now the immigration office has no record of her. She has worked here for over 8 years, says she has no green card and I'm getting conflicting info from others on the documentation she provided when she was hired (we also seem to have mislaid her paperwork). What documents should I ask her to produce to prove that she is authorized to work? Is there even a chance she was hired legally? (I'm her manager)
Mr. Lee answers:
Under the circumstances that you describe, there is a good possibility that the company hired the employee without proper authorization. Organizations must comply with U.S.C.I.S.'s I-9 documentary requirements which separate documents into three categories. List A documents are those establishing both identity and employment authorization in the US and include US passports, green cards, and foreign passports with I-551 green card stamps. List B contains documents that establish identity such as driver's licenses or state identity cards. List B documents must be submitted in combination with documents on List C that establish work authorization such as unrestricted Social Security numbers, US Citizen identification cards, and employment authorization documents issued by DHS. You can ask your employee to supply at least one document from list B and C to satisfy the I-9 requirements.
Can I Work Online Abroad?
My spouse is an F1 visa holder and I will be provided with a F2 visa. Will I be breaking any laws in US or is it possible for me to work online or remotely outside US.
Mr. Lee answers:
The prohibition against persons without employment authorization working in the US is for the purpose of protecting the US job market. Although an argument could be made that a US company could tap the foreign job market outside the US as it appears that you are thinking of doing that would appear somewhat far-fetched. From your fact pattern, it does not appear that you would be taking away jobs from US workers. In my opinion, a person working online whose job is in another country would not require employment permission for that type of work.