Can an H1B visa holder start a business in US or own some percentage of equity in a US based startup?

Asked over 1 year ago - Redmond, WA

To add more details: the startup team consists of couple of US citizens and they have already filled an S-Corp. I am on H1B visa working for a largeco. I want to know if I can own some percentage of equity in exchange to few hours of technical work per week as a moonlighting project.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Mirka E. Nakovski

    Contributor Level 7

    Answered . I agree that this would be unauthorized employment. In addition, shareholders of an S corporation must be either US citizens or permanent residents. With your current status, you may not become a shareholder of an S corporation.

  2. Tripti Sharad Sharma


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Passive investment should be OK. Active involvement like holding a position of an officer and performing tasks is unauthorized employment.

    This response is general in nature and cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known.... more
  3. J Charles Ferrari

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . No. That would be unauthorized employment.

    J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not... more

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If you want to visit or move permanently to the US, you'll want to learn about your different immigration options.

H1B speciality occupation visa

If you have special skills and the right experience, you might be eligible for a H-1B visa if there is a shortage of qualified workers.

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