Stilt Inc.
Jan 6, 2018 · 3 min read

Cryptocurrencies have been the highlight of 2017. It has been a crazy few months with investors trading tens of billions of dollars every day. Some investors have 100x their money in a few months — even the best investments don’t have such a high rate of return over decades.

No doubt, this frenzy is not limited to just the U.S. — people in other countries and immigrants in the U.S. also want to participate in decentralized currencies. It is easy for U.S. citizens to buy and sell assets without thinking about any issues related to immigration but non-U.S. citizens and visa holders have to. Many international students, H-1B, OPT, L-1, J-1, TN, and other visa holders also want to trade these currencies but they are not sure if it violates the rules of their immigration status.

The good news is that even non-U.S. citizens and visa holders (F-1, H-1B, OPT, J-1, L-1, TN, Refugees, etc.) can trade cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple.

Trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies doesn’t require any full time employment and profits from their sale will be taxed in the same way your profits from other stock and property investments.

In some views, Bitcoin is not even a currency for tax purposes, it is an asset like a property (which is completely legal to own and sell). With a California bankruptcy judge ruling that Bitcoin is a property.

We, at Stilt, have seen many of our borrowers investing in cryptocurrencies through various exchanges such as Coinbase, Gatehub, and Kraken. The amount of their investments is proportional to their savings.

A few things to know when you are purchasing virtual currencies/cryptocurrencies:

  • Some websites/apps (cryptocurrency exchanges) may ask for your SSN and other identification documents for verification before allowing you to trade.
  • ITIN works with U.S. based cryptocurrency exchanges.
  • You will need to pay taxes on the profits generated from trading.

Final thoughts:
There is a lot of interest in cryptocurrencies and it is only increasing. There is no reason that visa holders shouldn’t be allowed to trade but you need to be careful as these currencies are highly volatile. If you are an international student, you may not have the funds to trade, so don’t borrow money or use to student loans to trade cryptocurrencies.

About Stilt:

Stilt provides loans to international students and working professionals in the U.S. (e.g. F-1, OPT, H-1B, O-1, L-1, TN visa holders) at rates lower than any other lender. Stilt is committed to helping immigrants build a better financial future.

We take a holistic underwriting approach to determine your interest rates and make sure you get the lowest rate possible.

Learn what others are saying about us on Google, Yelp, and Facebook or visit us at If you have any questions, send us an email at


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Stilt Inc.

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