Can a Student on F1 Visa Trade on Robinhood? Find Out Here!

can a student on f1 visa trade on robinhood

Financial services Robinhood offer include packages search as; exchange-traded funds (ETFs), buying and selling of stock, cash management, Options, and other financial services like cryptocurrencies. Anyone seeking to grow financially would be captivated to take the risk, but can a student on F1 visa trade on Robinhood?

A student on an F1 visa can trade on Robinhood even though the government has set a few hurdles. It is also termed acceptable by law as a passive income source. Nevertheless, this should not be the main activity or be a full-time job.

Most students may be knowledgeable about financial markets trading from their native countries. Others just have an intention to learn new ways to grow, reduce costs and expand their financial base in their new living space. Also, understanding the rules and regulations given as an F1 student is important too.

With that said, let’s narrow down a few basic things that can help any F1 student thinking of trading on Robinhood.

Is Robinhood Legal for F1 Students?

It is definitely legal for F1 students to participate in stock trading. Robinhood is an accredited financial service by the United States government financial body. 

They are regulated by the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). Their main duties are to ensure fair and open market competition, protect investing public and maintain an efficient market. The students can buy and sell their stocks online. Robinhood is a small company and therefore their employee base may be limited but they sure have plenty of helpful information on their website to guide the traders through.

Whatever earnings they receive is regarded as passive income. This income is one gained without necessarily engaging full time in an activity or job. It is legal according to F1 visa holder regulations. The income is meant for upkeep. Most F1 students have their entire financial obligation catered for before they are allowed into the states. During your studying period as an F1 student, the state considers you as a non-resident foreigner but also one who qualifies to pay tax.

As for the tax declarations, it depends on where you are filing them from and also your gains/losses. The advantage of using Robinhood is that it has 0% commissions. It cuts all broker charges.

Can a Student on F1 Visa Trade on Robinhood?

Most certainly!

Investing in stocks is one of the best ways to earn passive income while still learning. You can make additional money and learn more about the US stock market in the process.

Also, there need to bear in mind your responsibility as an F1 visa holder. They can be limiting but using a brokerage service provider like Robinhood will ensure you are safe. Some of its advantages include:

  1. Guarantee you will tax the right amounts
  2. They offer help along the way in line with trading
  3. Your status as an F1 student doesn’t have to show
  4. You can utilize the app since most of the time you are in your learning institutions.
  5. It has no brokerage fee and
  6. Account set up is also easy

However, an F1 student cannot day trade unless you first consult a certified accountant or an immigration attorney. The immigration department might find this to be a business or a job that is a violation of the f1 rules. My advice is to practice it like a hobby, something you love doing in your free time. 

How Can a Student on F1 Visa Trade on Robinhood?

Trading on Robinhood isn’t complicated for F1 students. There are few requirements needed before opening an account. This includes:

  • Must be above 18 years of age
  • Ensure you have a valid social security number (SSN)

Once you have the requirement, you know ready to join the community. Use this link to sign up for your free Robinhood account. They even offer free stocks on signing up, such as a snack. Once done you are ready to start trading. 

The SSN is required by the government for tax purposes. As long as you make extra cash, you need to file your taxes. Also, you might be asked to give your SSN number, date of birth, and your username in case you need any form or account details sent to you from Robinhood’s’ website. 

A key point to remember is that the SSN given is private and confidential. In most circumstances, you will only be asked to provide the four-digit of your number.

The States recognizes the F1 students’ identity by their social security number. Exposing it will be fatal as you can fall victim to the wrong side of the law. Someone can use your credentials, violate the law, and put you in a jeopardizing fix. You can even end up losing your visa.

If stuck with the tax filing, I would suggest you get various online tools around that can help. Also, check with your enrolled institution or public libraries for voluntary or free tax services help. In case you still having issues, please seek advice from a tax consultant. The IRS deducts a rate of 30% tax withholding from all interest payments to foreign account holders. Robinhood sends the tax form yearly to be filled.

Can an International Student Use Robinhood?

Yes, an international student can use Robinhood. They are also F1 visa holders. It is a creditable financial business. Life is expensive and can be challenging especially with no finance. Finding an extra way to earn is superb. One way in the United State is by investing in the financial market. Robinhood is an example.

The requirements are few but similar to F1 students. However F1 visa places some hold on certain activities like working. These include: 

  • Must be above 18 years of age 
  • Ensure you have a valid social security number (SSN)
  • In some instances, you may require a permission letter from your enrolled high school, elementary school, college, or university. In case you living off-campus get a letter from the immigration office.

F1 visa holders are allowed to seek work permission off-campus for up to one year (1). This is called Optional Practical Training (OPT). It is temporary though.  The period allowed to work is only twelve months (12). This form allows any F1 students to train, practice, and thus work, in a field related to what they are studying at their respective institutions. For more information, you can consult an international student advisor at your school.

The Optional practical training is used in the following situations:

  1. Before or pre-completion of study: This applies to instances where you want to work part-time during the F1 student’s studies. You are allowed only 20hours or less when on a session or full time when on school breaks. 
  2. After or post-completion of study: post-completion is when looking for employment in a field you majored in your study after graduating. It is important to note that if you were allowed to work when on studies, that period covered is deducted and you can only use the remaining period.

You can however apply for an extension to continue working under OPT but under some conditions. 

Reading and research more on your own is an extra advantage. This will help you gauge the markets and the economy setup and understand why using Robinhood is a great deal for you.

Final Thought

Being in a foreign country can be scary especially for the F1visa holders. You still want to learn, grow and work. Unfortunately, there are some barriers to that. I still insist that getting the right advisers and also doing good research before undertaking anything is always of great help.

One way to get to know the economic-financial sector is through operating in the financial markets. It’s like a window to the economy and the world at large. 

It’s constantly a good practice to look into changes that can bring you money. Digging in and getting the necessary information to make an informed decision is critical. Getting the right advisors is also a good thing. It always reduces the risk involved.

I would recommend Robinhood especially for the novice F1 student who wants to venture into the financial trade. It is commission-free. They don’t charge to open accounts, nor to maintain, or to transfer funds to your account. Finally, be keen, wise, and follow your F1 visa rules and regulation to avoid discontinuation from school or deportation back to your country.


  • Tristan

    Tristan has a strong interest in the intersection of artificial intelligence and creative expression. He has a background in computer science, and he enjoys exploring the ways in which AI can enhance and augment human creativity. In his writing, he often delves into the ways in which AI is being used to generate original works of fiction and poetry, as well as to analyze and understand patterns in existing texts.