Asked in Immigration Law and Tax Law for Illinois

Q: I'm on F1 visa and going to my country for a break can I work on my college project and get paid while Im ?

I'm a F1 visa holder and i am currently outide US for winter break. I came a week ago to my home country and will go back next month to US. Can I work on my college's web development project. I will get paid based on hours for this project, but this project is a part of my college's graduation requirements. My mentor/manager is fine with me working remotely from my home country. Can I work on this project and get paid or is it a violation of any immigration or tax or labour laws?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Regarding your F1 visa status, the key aspect is whether the work qualifies as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT). Since the project is part of your graduation requirements, it might be considered as CPT. However, you must have authorization from your university's International Student Office and it should be part of your curriculum.

When working from outside the U.S., the situation can be more complex. Generally, F1 visa regulations are focused on employment within the United States. Working remotely for a U.S.-based employer while you are abroad might not fall under the same restrictions. However, it is advisable to confirm this with your university’s international student advisor.

Regarding taxation, income earned while working on a student visa can be subject to U.S. taxes. You should consult with a tax professional familiar with international student tax issues to understand any obligations you may have, including the need to report income earned abroad.

In summary, while there may be a pathway to legally work on this project, it's crucial to get the appropriate authorizations and guidance from your university and possibly a tax professional. This will help ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

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