I'm currently working as a Software Developer on an F-1 visa with my OPT for a company in the US. While I'm working here I want to start a kickstarter campaign to fund my personal project. I should say that I'm not planning to quit my job until I get a Greencard, so I will still be fulfilling my requirements for the OPT-STEM. I have asked Kickstarter if there would be any problems with them about starting a project, they said I'm eligible by their standards to start a project. But my real concern is, am I legally allowed to start a campaign in my name with an OPT-STEM EAD card. I couldn't find a lawyer that has a decisive answer to this, so any help would be appreciated.

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    Welcome to expatriates.SE. How is this question related to immigration or living in another country? – Karlson Mar 19 '15 at 18:17
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    thanks, I'm on an F-1 visa doing my OPT currently living in the US. The question is if this is legal for me to do or not. As an F-1 student we were not allowed to have an income outside our schools, since the company I work for is currently applying for my greencard, I need to know how this would affect my immigration status before I proceed. – polaristerlik Mar 19 '15 at 18:19

Yes you can do that as long as you follow the rules outlined in the other answer about registering your own business.

BUT, you have to keep in mind that once your OPT period ends, it will be illegal (from the immigration standpoint) for you to run your own business (assuming you will get H1b or continue F1), unless somehow you obtain a green card.

Note - This is not a legal immigration advice in any shape or form.


According to this University of Michigan website, one option that might fit is:

Self-employed business owner. Students on a STEM extension can start a business and be self-employed. In this situation, the student must register his or her business with E-Verify and work full time. The student must be able to prove that he or she has the proper business licenses and is actively engaged in a business related to his or her degree program.

but it's shaky.

  • thanks mkennedy, I am not looking to quit my full-time job therefore I will not become out of status because I'm unemployed, I just need information as to the legality of getting income that I'll be receiving without being an employee through kickstarter. – polaristerlik Mar 20 '15 at 1:13
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    Yeah, I don't know. You might check with your universities international students group to see what they say. On a side note, based on various questions on The Workplace, you would need to make sure that your employer is fine and won't try to claim it as work product. – mkennedy Mar 20 '15 at 16:05

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