F1 Students Stock Trading Options SSN and Tax Info

F1 Visa Students Stock Trading – Allowed? Invest – Buy, Sell and Taxes ?

In F1 Visa by KumarUpdated : 13 Comments

Many students are passionate about financial markets…some of them might have been investing in stocks in their home country, before moving to US for education…they want to continue to invest in stocks to have an understanding of the US financial markets…the question is around “Is it legal for F1 students to invest in stocks ?” . We will cover various aspects about F1 student stock trading in this article.

Can F1 students invest in stocks ?  Can they buy, sell stocks ?

Yes, international students on F1 visa can invest in stock…they can buy and sell stocks…There is no specific law that prevents F1 visa students studying in Universities or colleges from doing stock trading. They key thing to remember is that you are on a F1 visa in US because you are a full time student enrolled in a university…you need to maintain your proper student status by enrolling in required course credits and be in good academic standing.  Stock trading is a passive income activity and should not be your main stream activity. Also, after your student status, you are very likely to apply for H1B visa and work on the same, the good news is that you can do stock trading on H1B visa as well.  As always, you need to maintain your proper visa status.

What do I need to have for doing Stock trading as F1 student ?

Typically, most of the stock brokerage firms require Social Security Number (SSN) for stock trading. The reason is that, for your capital gains, it is required  by IRS for tax purposes. If you work on campus, then you would already get SSN as part of the job application process…Typically, once you get the on-campus job or work authorization using CPT or OPT , you use that offer letter and take all your current documents like Passport, I-20, I-94 and apply for SSN at Social Security Administration(SSA) Office, check full details at SSA Website . SSN is typically used to report job wages by employer for tax purposes or check eligibility of benefits to IRS/Government.

I do NOT have SSN, Can I still do stock trading as F1 student ?

While many stock brokerage firms require SSN, you are not out of luck, if you do not have one…you will have to apply for an ITIN Number ( Individual Taxpayer Identification Number )  and can use the same when applying for stock brokerage account.  While some of the firms accept ITIN number, it totally depends on the stock brokering firm and you need to check with the one that you are interested in.

What do I have to do from Tax side, if I do stock trading in US as F1 students?

As you know, you need to file taxes as F1 student, with stocks coming into picture, they need to get added to your tax filings. You need to declare the investment and gains of your stock related investments for tax purpose and pay required tax on the gains. There are many online tools around the same or you can check with your school or public libraries where there are free or voluntary tax services help. I suggest you check with a tax consultant, if you are not fully sure on how to file or pay them.

How much Tax has to paid on my dividends typically as F1 student ?

Currently, foreign nationals are subject to 30 % tax on the dividends or any of the stock related capital gains.  It will be same for F1 students or H1B holders. This is something that needs to be kept in mind when investing.  Also, you will need to submit a form W-8BEN form with your stock broker for IRS tax purposes.

Who are some of the popular stock brokers that offer Trading accounts for F1 Student ?

TradeKing is one of the most popular stock brokerage services. You may also look at Scottrade and other companies. Some companies may have some limits for trading or may not accept F1 students, you need to check with the firm.

Did I miss anything ?  Did you open stock brokerage account as F1 student ? What are your experiences ?



Other Articles

Comments ( 13 )

  1. Faisal Ansari


    My name is Faisal Ansari. Q&A is super helpful, you have covered most of the part. However, i want to know that if F-1 visa holder who has not SSN and does not want to engage with broker and want to do trading by him/herself on some specifically trading website like ufx.com. How that’s work? How/where F-1 visa holder submit his/her paperwork?

  2. Urvashi


    Can anyone tell me if trading (say weekly) in Cryptocurrency is legal as an F1 student? Also, would it be legal as an H1B holder?

    Thanks Much!

  3. Arnav

    There is a rule that F1 visa students cannot have more than 1 source of income. If I anyway have an on campus job / internship and also get dividends, will that count as 2 sources of income?

    1. administrator

      Myvoor Checkove,
      AFAIK the only thing F-1 students are exempted from is Social Security and Medicare as they are considered non-resident aliens. Other than that, Indian students pay all the taxes.

    2. Parth

      Hi Myvoor Checkove,

      Under US-India tax treaty article 21(2) International students and business apprentice from India are eligible for Standard Deduction (as oppose to Itemized Deduction for other countries). Standard Deduction along with exemption for ‘Self’ generally reduces you taxable income. From what we have seen over many years that almost all students usually have income close to that amount unless you are on CPT or OPT working full-time.

  4. Alwynn

    Awesome post, because this applies to ALL students foreign or not. You should ask the IRS and the immigration office on campus.
    Please read and comment. Leave a post with your experiences at the University

Leave a Comment

Comments Policy :
  • Comments are to drive conversation, add your thoughts, experiences, ask questions!
  • Do NOT write hate speech, swear words, or get into fight. Maintain etiquette
  • Enter your Name, valid Email, URL(optional - Facebook, LinkedIn profile URLs).
  • Your email will NOT be published. Do NOT post any phone numbers, email-ids
  • Do NOT post any links from other websites, unless official sites, University websites.
  • By submitting your comment, you agree to Term and Conditions of our website.