I have started work (on OPT) recently. I was wondering if I am legally allowed to invest in the US stock market, because I have heard that most of my income must be from my primary field of education (computer science, in my case).

So am I allowed to invest and what counts as "most of my income"? Is there a percentage or something like that?

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can invest in the stock market with an F-1 status. However, there are a few things to keep in mind:

1) It can't be active trading. It's up to interpretation what exactly that means. In my opinion if you are not constantly trading and trying to make trading a big part of your income, you should be fine. A good example is a 401(k), you're investing but not actively trading and saving all profits for retirement.

2) Be aware that several companies won't open an investment account for someone that is not an Lawful Permanent Resident or a US Citizen. That's because they have some extra compliance requirements. If you find one that welcomes you, make sure to let them know your status. Last thing that you want is paper work filled incorrectly claiming that your are a USC (that's a life ban from the US).

  • 2
    If a company claims that an alien is a US citizen without the alien's knowledge then the alien will not be inadmissible. The claim must be made by the alien. On the other hand, if the alien submits a form without reading it carefully, and the form contains a claim of US citizenship, that doesn't count as "without the alien's knowledge." So it's not just telling the company about the status, but reading all the forms carefully -- perhaps more carefully than would be necessary for a US citizen.
    – phoog
    Sep 6, 2019 at 16:33
  • 1
    "It's up to interpretation what exactly that means." Do you know whose interpretation? Is there a government website that specifies such things? Because if not, then how is it safe to trade?
    – rahs
    Sep 6, 2019 at 16:37
  • Both the OP and the single Answer talk about a limit to the type or method of income to be used by the OP. Where does this idea come from? Surely there's at least a statement from state.gov that describes the work limits placed on an F1 on OPT. Sep 8, 2019 at 15:17

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