How can I launch a startup while on OPT? • TechCrunch

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Here’s another version From “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working for tech companies.

“Your questions are vital to spreading the knowledge that allows people around the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” Sophie Alcorn, an immigration attorney in Silicon Valley. “Whether you work in people operations, are a founder, or are looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I want to answer your questions in my next column.

TechCrunch+ members get access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; Use the promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription at 50% off..


Dear Sophie,

I am an international student in the US in F-1 status. I will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer science in May and plan to apply to OPT. I want to launch a startup company. Can I do that with OPT? What options do I have after OPT to continue growing my company?

Founder looking to the future

Dear looking forward,

It is very exciting to hear that you are already planning your startup founder’s journey.

Taking this route requires planning and forethought. Consult an immigration attorney for guidance as well as precautionary measures to mitigate risks and protect you along the way.

Startup in Occupied Palestinian Territory

As an F-1 student with an OPT (Work Permit) you can set up and run your company And the Being self-employed as long as you work towards hiring your degree. You must also work full time and have all the appropriate business licenses required by your state.

You don’t have to wait to get an OPT to start setting up your company. Under immigration law, doing things like forming your company’s legal entity, promoting potential investors, or negotiating contracts are not considered work, so you are allowed to do them without an OPT work permit.

Composite image of immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background featuring the TechCrunch logo.

Image credits: Joanna Boniak / Sophie Alcorn (Opens in a new window)

This way, once you’re at OPT, you’ll have a full 12 months to focus on running your startup.

F-1 students can apply for an OPT up to 90 days before completing their studies, but no later than 60 days after that. Take a look at this previous Dear Sophie Column in the Occupied Palestinian Territory And contact the DSO at your university (designated school official) for more information.

If you already know that you want to keep your startup in the United States and find investors here, talk to a corporate attorney to determine how to structure the company. Generally, US investors want to do business with Delaware C corporations. Even though you incorporate in Delaware, your startup can be based in Silicon Valley or anywhere in the US



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