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I have a friend from Russia who is working on his PhD. He has a US student visa (F-1).

We have received a job to create a mobile application for our local government in which we would both receive a fairly large payment. He has informed me that his visa restricts him to only working for the university at a maximum of 20 hours per week.

Is there anyway he could receive payment? Small loop hole?

My plan was to create my own business and allow them to 1099 me. If he could be paid through this method that would be ideal.

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  • So they can work under the pre-opt for under 20 hours a week as long as its major related? Which it is. And its considered training? – theblindprophet Aug 23 '16 at 12:02
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    I don't know whether it will work. It may depend on how the work meshes with his studies - he will have to convince his DSO to recommend it. I am just suggesting it as something to investigate. – Patricia Shanahan Aug 23 '16 at 12:10
  • Worth a shot. Better than nothing. – theblindprophet Aug 23 '16 at 12:22
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    Note that there is a limit on the total amount of work that can be done under OPT. Taking this job might prevent your friend from taking a job or internship in the US later (or require him to apply for a different visa for a chance to to do so). He should consider carefully if it is worth it. – Nate Eldredge Aug 23 '16 at 19:28
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Is there anyway he could receive payment? Small loop hole?

No.

My plan was to create my own business and allow them to 1099 me. If he could be paid through this method that would be ideal.

Still no.

If he has any desires to ever stay in the US after his PHD is over - he should probably step away from this.

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    Agreed and, as the OP stated it, his friend understands that his visa terms do not allow such a scheme. Local government funding is unlikely to escape the notice of the Feds, the IRS, and his university, putting him at risk of having his visa revoked, forcing him to leave the country immediately, and potentially cancelled with prejudice, making it difficult for him to return any time soon. – Giorgio Aug 23 '16 at 15:16
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    Downvoted, because if the OP creates a LLC or other business, and the university int'l student office agrees, the friend could get OPT approval as Patricia Shanahan mentioned in another comment. – mkennedy Aug 23 '16 at 17:24
  • Even if OPT is not an option, this answer should explain why not. – Nate Eldredge Aug 23 '16 at 19:25
  • @mkennedy what does OPT have to do with LLC or anything? OPT is for internships, not work. You can "say" it is an internship when in reality the student is a principal contributor, but that would be lie, wouldn't it? If you're lying anyway - then why bother with OPT and stuff... – littleadv Aug 23 '16 at 23:25
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    @mkennedy, true, and I'm suggesting that the EAD process with USCIS may trigger a close look at what the OP is trying to do, as USCIS would also review the LLC to ensure the employment is in line with OPT. – Giorgio Aug 24 '16 at 0:10

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