What are the Different Legal Ways to Earn Money for an F1 Visa?

What are the Different Legal Ways to Earn Money for an F1 Visa?

Here I will cover the below topics –

  • F1 visa and its purpose
  • Eligibility of F1 visa
  • Documents required for F1 visa
  • Employment policy for the F1 visa holder
  • F1 Visa work option to earn money legally

The F1 visa is a very popular type of visa for international students who want to enter the United States as full-time students. This type of visa allows international students to get admitted into accredited colleges, universities, etc. Having an F1 visa put some restrictions on how the students can study and work. So, some legal ways to earn money for an F1 visa holder are renting a room, investing money, doing an on-campus job, writing, voluntary work, etc.

What is F1 Visa?

The F1 visa is a type of student visa that allows students from other countries to pursue education in the USA. It is a type of non-immigrant visa and it allows international students temporarily live in the USA and study in a college, university, or high school. A student with an F1 visa must complete a full course of study within the provided time frame. If you are accepted into a course or school in the USA, then you can apply for an F1 visa. The validation of an F1 visa is the course time or a maximum of 5 years. If the validity of the F1 visa expires before you can complete the course then you can extend your F1 visa. But to do so, you have to apply for an extension before the visa expires date to avoid removal procedures. One key disadvantage of an F1 visa is, that it won’t allow you to hold a job in the USA but you can work 20 hours a week if the job is in line with your course.

Eligibility Requirements for F1 Visa

In order to get an F1 visa, you should fulfill some requirements. Below are the eligibility requirements for an F1 visa –

  • You must apply for a course of study at a SEVP-approved school and get accepted
  • SEVP-approved schools are not just universities, they could be high schools, seminaries, private elementary schools, or language program
  • You have to get admission as a full-time student at any SEVP-approved school
  • You must have an excellent command of the English language or you have to enroll in an English language course
  • You have to provide proof of sufficient financial funds
  • You must have an intention to return to your country once the course is completed because an F1 visa is a temporary visa
  • You must be a resident of a foreign country while applying for an F1 visa

What type of Documents are required to Submit for F1 Visa?

If you apply for an F1 visa then you have to face an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate and at the time of the interview you have to provide the below documents –

  • Passport of yours with more than six months validity
  • The Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Application fee payment receipt
  • An image of yours that conforms to U.S. State Department requirements
  • Form I-20 was issued by the institute that has accepted you as a student
  • Academic transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates
  • Standardized language test scores
  • Proof of ties to your home country 

Is it Possible to Work in the USA with F1 Visa?

The employment policy for an F1 visa holder is a bit complicated. The F1 visa is only given to students who are agreed to study full-time in the USA. Therefore, it is illegal for an F1 visa holder to work in the USA. However, a foreign student with an F1 visa can get a job in the USA under some eligibility criteria –

  • Students can work part-time during the semester of studies and the working hours shouldn’t exceed 20 hours per week
  • During the semester break, students can work full-time and the working hours shouldn’t exceed 40 hours per week
  • Students can work in an Optional Practical Training (OPT) program once they complete graduation but with authorization from the USCIS

Legal Working Option for F1 Visa Holders

The main purpose of an F1 visa is to allow foreign students to study in the USA. Therefore, this visa only allows the students to participate in study-related activities. So, you are allowed to take a job in line with the subject of your study. Moreover, you can also apply for a job off-campus but the program must be approved by the USCIS. Below are three active ways you can earn money with an F1 visa –

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT): It is a type of temporary authorization for work that is directly connected to your study. This type of work can be paid or unpaid and includes summer internships, normal internship and they are mostly required for academic credit
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT): This is a type of temporary employment and it is directly linked to the study program. During the study with an F1 visa, you are allowed for a maximum of 12 months on OPT.
  • STEM OPT Extension: If you are an F1 visa holder and study in the field of science, technology, engineering, or math then you can get an additional 24 months as an extension to the OPT of 12 months. You have to apply for the OPT extension before the expiration of your initial OPT program.

Apart from the above three options, as an F1 visa holder, you have the opportunity to earn passive income legally. There are quite a few ways you can earn legally. Let’s check them out!

1. Renting Rooms

This is a very popular way of making money for an international student with an F1 visa. If you have a property or a big room then you can rent it to other students and earn money. This is the safest and legal way of making passive income. Moreover, you can also hire a property management company to do the work on your behalf of you. You should keep in mind that if you don’t have a social security number then you have to face different tax implications and it will increase your cost and decrease your profit.

2. Money Investment

Well, an F1 visa holder is not allowed to work but he/she is allowed to invest money to make a profit. For example, you can invest money in the stock market. However, you must have some basic knowledge about stock investment or you could lose your investment. You should also keep in mind that you are not allowed to do more than 4 trades in a week if you have an F1 visa. This is because doing more than 4 trades in a week is considered as day trading which is forbidden for the F1 visa holder.

3. Lottery Wins

You can participate in various competitions, and lotteries and the prizes you would win are all considered passive income for the F1 visa holder. Moreover, you can also participate in various games that are not related to your study.

4. Voluntary Work

If you are an international student with an F1 visa then you can participate in various voluntary work in various vocations. This is because voluntary work is not real work and therefore, it won’t violate F1 visa restrictions. Voluntary work can be paid or unpaid. If you earn money via voluntary work then it won’t create any problem regarding your F1 visa.

FAQs about What are the Different Legal Ways to Earn Money for an F1 Visa

Is it possible to make money on YouTube while in the US on an F1 Visa?

It is legally not allowed for an F1 visa holder to make money on YouTube, Tiktok, or any other online platform. If someone reports you to the USCIS then the authority might deport you to your country because of violating the conditions of the F1 visa.

Can I make money freelancing while in the US on an F1 Visa?

No, you can’t make money freelancing while in the US on an F1 Visa. This is because full-time employment is not allowed for F1 visa holders and freelancing is considered as self-employment in the USA.

Does an F1 visa mean permanent resident?

No, an F1 visa doesn’t provide any permanent residency to foreign students. Usually, the validity of an F1 visa is five years and if the course is not completed within the time then the student can apply for a Visa extension.  

Is it possible to do Airbnb on an F1 visa?

Well, it is possible to rent your house or room like Airbnb but you have to report the income to the USCIS. Moreover, you should also check the term of the contract and see whether it breaches F1 visa conditions or not.  

Last Updated on July 30, 2022 by Ana S. Sutterfield

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