You cannot drive a taxi like Uber or Lyft while working on an H1B visa in USA.
You can drive Uber taxi using H4 EAD. The same applies to L2 EAD.
Employment authorization Document allows you to work in any industry and in any job including working in Walmart as a sales agent or cashier to driving Uber or working in McDonalds.
You cannot drive Uber on F1 visa or OPT. Lyft is also a ride service and is driving is not an eligible CPT training work.
Driving is Not H1B Specialty Occupation
Driving for Uber is not a specialty occupation, that H1B visa demands, and you can’t really prove shortage of labor either, in car driving field.
Your H1B visa is tied to your employer and you can only work for them. Doing any other work outside of your H1b job is not allowed, unless you receive a concurrent H1b for that work.
You can work for technology company like Uber, Lyft or Junos in US if your occupation is not driving. You can also get an H1B or L visa approval for your skilled work in Uber’s self driving car technology division.
I also strongly advise against using Day 1 CPT and then driving a taxi to support yourself. ICE is always working behind the scenes to catch people who exploit these Day 1 CPTs as was seen in recent Farmington University arrests.
Is Waze Carpool Allowed on H1B?
Waze carpool is allowed as long as you are not getting a 1099-MISC issued on your name. If you are extracting any profit out of driving Waze carpool on H1B visa, then it is not allowed.
Some people have suggested that they have been using carpool on their wife’s name who holds valid H4 EAD.
Other similar carpool company by the name ‘Scoop’ has clarified that they are not issuing 1099-MISC to their drivers. They have also clearly clarified their stance on H1B carpool drivers based on IRS response.
Why Driving Uber, Lyft on OPT Not Allowed?
As an F1 student, you can only work if you are working in a job that has been authorized by CPT or OPT. Jobs for CPT and OPT have to be related to your major course of study. Driving for Uber is not going to qualify.
Recently, a user reported that he was deported from US port of entry while using his F1 visa to enter US. His denial of entry was based on his social media account check by visa officer. They checked his Facebook account which showed multiple pictures of him working in a gas station outside the University area.
Social media is becoming a new tool for US immigration to find the visa offenders. Recently, Department of state added the requirement to furnish your Facebook, twitter and YouTube accounts on DS160 form.