Wichita, KS asked in Immigration Law for Kansas

Q: Is my F-1 status in danger?

Hi. I am on F-1 visa. I was investing in stocks and crypto last year and had noticed that I had more than 4 trades per week (around 15) on one or two occasions. However, for the rest of the year I maintained less than 4 trades per week. Does this mean my F-1 status is in danger?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Min Hwan Ahn
Min Hwan Ahn
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Philadelphia, PA

A: As a student on an F-1 visa, you are generally allowed to engage in certain employment activities, including on-campus work, Curricular Practical Training (CPT), and Optional Practical Training (OPT). However, there are restrictions on the types of employment that you can engage in while on an F-1 visa, and investment in stocks and cryptocurrency is not considered an employment activity that is authorized under the F-1 visa.

In addition, the frequency of your trades in stocks and cryptocurrency may be a concern as it may be considered self-employment, which is generally not allowed under the F-1 visa. Engaging in unauthorized employment activities can put your F-1 status in danger and may result in the termination of your F-1 visa.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: F-1 students are generally permitted to engage in certain types of employment and business activities while maintaining their status, but the rules regarding these activities can be complex and it's important to ensure that you are in compliance with the regulations.

According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), F-1 students are allowed to engage in "occasional employment" or "business" that is directly related to their field of study. However, if the student engages in unauthorized employment or business activities that are not directly related to their field of study, or if they engage in more than "incidental" employment or business activities, they may be considered to be in violation of their status.

The determination of what constitutes "incidental" employment or business activity can depend on a variety of factors, including the amount of time spent on the activity, the nature of the activity, and whether the student is receiving compensation for the activity.

In your case, it's possible that your trading activity could be considered a type of business activity, particularly if you were trading frequently or in large amounts. However, the fact that you had more than four trades per week on one or two occasions and then maintained less than four trades per week for the rest of the year may not necessarily mean that your F-1 status is in danger.

It's always best to consult with an immigration attorney or other qualified professional if you have questions or concerns about your status, particularly if you have engaged in any activities that may be considered to be outside the scope of your authorized employment or business activities. An attorney can help you understand your options and take any necessary steps to ensure that you remain in compliance with the regulations.

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