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As an H1B visa holder, can I sign an independent contractor agreement?

Los Angeles, CA |

I have H1B. I want to sign an independent contractor agreement to provide services for a real estate broker. The agreement states that I'm not an employee. Suppose that I just sign the agreement but I don't provide any service and therefore do not receive any income as an independent contractor. Am I violating the H1B terms by merely signing this agreement?

Here is more information: I work for a real estate company as a financial analyst. I need access to the MLS database so I could use this data in the valuations as part of my work. Only salespeople have access to this database, so I took the salesperson exam and passed. To apply for the real estate license, I must sign this independent contractor agreement with a real estate broker. The question - would I be violating the H1B if I sign the agreement? Here is an example of such an agreement: http://www.mbaiforms.net/formflow/forms/njarpdf/njar134.pdf

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Best answer

    If you aren't going to 'work' ... not provide services, nor receive money ... why would you do it?

    Bottom line: It is NOT a good idea to go beyond the terms of your H-1B work authorization.

    PROFESSOR OF IMMIGRATION LAW for over 10 years -- This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Also, keep in mind that this is an INTERNET BLOG. You should not rely on anything you read here to make decisions which impact on your life. Meet with an attorney, via Skype, or in person, to obtain competent personal and professional guidance.


  2. No, you are not violating the H1B by signing any contracts. You cannot work though outside of your authorized place of employment.


  3. As an H-1B, you can only work, wether paid or unpaid, for the H-1B employer.

    J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.

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