I am a foreign founder. How can I legally continue to work on my startup in the US after graduation?

Foreign founders need to have legal status to work in the US. According to the MIT International Student Office website (as of March 2016), International students who are graduating may apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) that provides legal status for the student to work in their area of study for a period of up to 12 months after graduation (if they have not used any of the OPT time prior to graduation).

Students working in STEM fields may apply for a one-time STEM Optional Practical Training Extension (STEM OPT Extension) that adds either 17 months (before May 2016) or 24 months (after May 2016) beyond their original OPT term.

In addition to the OPT/ STEM OPT extension route, as of March 2016, there is another program backed by TechStars called the Global EIR program in which affiliated universities hire foreign founders as "entrepreneurs in residence" and provide them with a legal status to work in the US "until they qualify for their own H1B visa". 

Note that Trust Center is not equipped to provide legal or immigration advice. Please visit the ISO and talk to your advisor, or engage legal counsel who specializes in immigration issues to understand the latest rules and to interpret how these rules and policies apply to your personal situation. 

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      This website provides general information related to legal and business matters. It is intended for educational purposes only. This website does not and is not intended to provide legal advice. Although we take great care to make sure that all of our information is accurate and useful, if you have a specific issue for which you need actionable advice, please come to the Martin Trust Center in person to speak to one of our Entrepreneurs in Residence or consult a licensed attorney or other professional. No attorney-client, advisor, or other confidential relationship exists or will be formed between you and the Martin Trust Center or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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