Lee writes, "I am currently a PhD student and the field that I am studying is so promising that I would like to launch a startup right away. Once it is established, I plan to sponsor myself for a work visa. Is this possible?"
There is no restriction on international students launching startups or investing in businesses, but they cannot work, not even in their own companies. Hence, you will not be able to sponsor yourself if you are also the only employee and employer. It does not mean that all doors are closed for you. Depending on what the potential of your business is and how fast it can grow, you may want to seek venture capital so that a company can be formed with other executives, and then the firm can sponsor you as an employee. This is going to be a very complex immigration case and you will need good attorneys to guide you and do the enormous paperwork.