Q: Can I change from F1 to E2 visa status?
During my Freshman year in undergrad, if I won a competition and received an investment for it, can I switch from a F1 to an E2 visa status? I would like to start a business there. My family owns a business in my country. While I am in college, I want to start my own business in the US. Within 1 to 2 years, we plan to combine the businesses. Would that be a good Idea?
You can change your status from inside the USA as long as you are in a lawful status when you do so.
You may also qualify for an L visa if you establish a related business to your family business - provided you qualify. This visa would allow you to adjust status.
I suggest you consult with an experienced immigration attorney to discuss your allternatives.
Please be aware that starting your own business inside the United States will require employment authorization, which does not automatically come when some is on an F-1 visa. While there are certain circumstances where you can obtain work authorization while on F-1, that is a separate process that needs to be applied for and approved. I would be very careful not to violate the terms of your current F-1 status by starting a business.
You will likely need to speak with an immigration attorney to see what the best way for you to maintain your lawful status while still getting you where you want to go.
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