If I go to study College in the US as an international student, when I finish can I stay to work in a startup? What type of visa would I need to have?

The short answer is yes and no.

If you study at a university in the U.S., you will most likely come on an F-1 student visa. As Rivka mentioned, student visas are non-immigrant visas so you will be expected and required to return home after your studies have been completed.

However, it is possible for you to start a business in the U.S. while you are a student on an F-1 visa if you are on OPT (Optional Practical Training). It is also possible that after you start your company and all of the legal paperwork is done, your company could file an H-1B visa petition on your behalf for you to legally work and receive payment for your work. However, you will need a degree and enough money to pay yourself aprevailing wage.” In other words, you would need to pay yourself what the average U.S. citizen/legal resident gets paid for whatever position you hold.

Because of the current exchange rate of Mexican pesos to dollars (about 18 pesos to 1 USD), unless you have a very wealthy family or a revolutionary idea and enough investors that are willing to risk their money on a young entrepreneur with presumably little to no experience, you are better off starting your business in Mexico. I realize there may be more opportunities in the U.S., but the cost of living and doing business is also higher in the U.S.

If you decide to study at a university in the United States, I suggest you study hard and do as much networking as possible instead of trying to balance school with creating a startup. After you complete your studies, you can return home, leveraging your connections in the U.S. to create mutually beneficial partnerships and eventually begin doing business in the U.S. I’m sure you’re already aware of this, but I’ll say it anyway: there are many startups in Mexico (e.g. see Angel.co – Monterrey Startups) and investors that are investing in those companies. I wouldn’t be surprised if your chances of succeeding are higher in a city like Monterrey vs. San Francisco.

However, if you are 100% set on creating your business while you are on a student visa in the U.S., you I highly recommend reading the answers to these questions:

Can I start a company if I’m in the US on a student F1 visa?

Can you start an online business/store while on the F-1 visa in the US?

As an international student in the United States (F1 visa), will I violate any visa policy if I do some freelance work on the internet for people residing outside of the USA?

I wish you all the best in your studies and business endeavors!

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