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H1B beneficiary - setting up own business

Houston, TX |
Filed under: Immigration


I am on H1B working for a different company and would like to start my own in US and launch a website. The website would be developed by few of my friends and fresh graduates offshore. Is that possible? on H1B working for a different employer can i launch my own website? I will not be working for the company i setup, but the idea is mine and i have to pay the developers working for the website until its launch ( which may take 3 months )....

If its possible, is jan 2012 a good time in the financial year to start the company?

Attorney Answers 5


You should be fine if you do not work for your company in any shape or form.

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Provided you can document that you are performing absolutely no work on the website, it should be ok.

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.

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You can own the business but cannot work for the business, unless they file a concurrent H-1B for you. Depending on where you are from, you may have other options, such as an E-2. feel free to call me to discuss in more detail, 713-772-2300.

713-772-2300. All information provided is general in nature. Please consult with an immigration attorney with full details of the case.

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I would be very cautious in these circumstances. USCIS can research and find out whether you have registered new companies. There is nothing that prohibits you from doing the due diligence to set up a new company, but you cannot do any work for the company without getting a valid work authorizing visa. If you do, you jeopardize your existing H-1B. IT is possible to have two concurrent part time H-1Bs, so you might want to consider that. However, there has been some pushback from the government on granting H-1B's to new businesses whose owners are the beneficiary of the H-1B. Another option is to switch to an investor visa (E-2) once the business is established.

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2 lawyers agree


You can launch the website but you cannot work for the company. You would be considered solely as an "investor" in the new company. Be sure to have this documented in the Shareholders Agreement/Operating Agreement. Should you have to work for your company sometime in the future, you can have that company sponsor your H-1B, either full time or part time. USCIS has recently introduced a few incentives for H-1B holders to have their own company sponsor their visa.

This opinion is not intended or offered as legal advice. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship between this site, the author(s), or the publisher, and you or any other user. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act, or fail to act, upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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